Inside: Some great sensory bottle ideas, how to make a sensory bottle or sensory bottles DIY, plus the many great benefits of sensory bottles.

Sensory Bottles or Calm Down Bottles are a huge trend right now. And why not? They are great for all ages and abilities, and you can make sensory bottles that match any kid’s interests.

A sensory bottle is an umbrella term for any clear bottle that is filled with stuff that is cool to look at. If you’re wondering how to make sensory bottles, luckily sensory bottles DIY is very common! And you likely have a lot of these ingredients around your home already.

Many kids use sensory bottles to regroup and re-center themselves, de-escalate or calm down.

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blue sensory bottle DIY
We put sea shells in this sensory bottle.

For some, it helps with vision acuity.

All can benefit from the use of language and talking about what you’re doing.

1. Sensory Bottles DIY

You can even make it a science project or STEAM activity to make your own DIY sensory bottle. There are plenty of recipes for these online. I’ve gathered a few for you, with their best tips.

2. What are Sensory Bottles Used For?

Omigosh, there are so many benefits of sensory bottles. Sure, we pick them up and we look at them. But you can do so much more. Especially if you are making your own sensory bottles, you can change out the ingredients to change the activity.

  • STEAM activities: Talking about what floats, what sinks, what mixes together and what doesn’t.
  • De-escalate/calm down: Focusing on a glitter bottle can help a child calm down and re-center their thoughts.
  • Self-regulation: Use before a situation occurs.
  • Language: You can put any “theme” into a sensory bottle and then use it for Q&A or conversations.
  • Fine Motor: Putting the items in and putting it together.
  • Sequencing: Some instructions have to be followed in order or the inside won’t “take.”
  • Sound: Getting used to unusual sounds, identifying sounds.
  • Math: Counting, shapes, measuring.

3. Sensory Bottles with Baby Oil

Some, but not all of DIY sensory bottles will use baby oil.

Here is list of recommended ingredients. If you keep an arts and crafts bin or cabinet, I would keep these on hand.

During long winter months, this can be a really fun activity for bored kids.

sensory bottle diy

4. Sensory Bottle DIY

If you have several of these ingredients on hand, you should be able to make a sensory bottle without running to the store.

  • Empty Clear Bottle–plastic or glass, depends on your kiddo, I certainly wouldn’t give glass to younger kids.
  • Food Coloring (check ingredients for allergies, plus if the recipe calls for oil based food coloring)
  • Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil
  • Corn Syrup (light, not dark)
  • Dish soap
  • Mineral Oil
  • Buttons
  • Alphabet letters
  • Glitter
  • Glitter Glue
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Foam Letters and Shapes
  • Beads
  • Permanent Marker
  • Coins (a reminder that coins and any other metal object will eventually rust)
  • Legos (that you don’t want anymore!)
  • Old bowl and whisk (if you wish to mix before putting in a bottle)
  • any small trinket or toy (dice, army men, etc.)
  • water
homemade sensory bottle
This is one we made with mineral oil.

5. Instructions to Make a Sensory Bottle

  1. Most recipes call for the sensory bottle to be half water. So that’s first–fill up half way with clear water.
  2. Fill the other half with your “slowing” agent, whether it be oil or clear glue. Clear glue is my favorite to use.
  3. Add in whatever other things you wish–glitter, beads, shells (shown) etc.
  4. Very sparingly add a drop of food coloring at a time. Less is more! Plus, you can’t remove food coloring if you make it too dark.
  5. Pro tip: Save a little glue, and put it on the inside of the cap. Close your sensory bottle and glue the cap on.
  6. Twirl, spin, shake and enjoy your sensory bottle.

This is a great way to upcycle or reuse your clear plastic bottles. Just doing what I can to save the planet for our kids.

Think you have enough of this stuff on hand? Great! Let’s get started!

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