Sensory bottles are an absolute winner in our house. They are engaging, easy to make and perhaps most importantly, don’t cause a huge mess like other forms of sensory play.
The bottles featured in this post are all plastic Voss bottles. We personally prefer this brand because they are pretty versatile: you can see clearly through them.
With the exception of the bottle filled with water, it’s important to note that the lids are glued in place. This is because these bottles are intended for babies and toddlers.*
Here are ten sensory bottles to try at home. In most cases, you probably already have most of the materials at home already. All of them are suitable as a tummy time activity (from when your baby is old enough to reach and grab) or as an educational tool for slightly older children. Continue reading 10 sensory bottles to try
The very early days and months with baby are HARD. You’re tired and your bub will probably sleep a lot but almost definitely not at night. The midwives and healthcare visitors will encourage you to do ‘tummy time’ but that’s sometimes easier said than done.
Tummy time helps babies to strengthen their head and neck although initially, they won’t be able to lift their head at all. That comes with time. So if you’re reading this and your baby is very new, try very short intervals of tummy time a few times a day.
You might’ve guessed by now that I HATE wasting materials! I recently used coco powder as a writing tray for one of my students and since it was then destined for the bin immediately after, I decided to turn it into mud instead!
Here’s the oobleck farm we made with it:
This went down an absolute storm with Zoey! She played with it for an hour at least. She made the animals muddy, scopped the mud into different containers and finally washed them clean with water. In toddler terms, i’m sure that you can all agree than one hour of engaged play is HUGE!
What is oobleck?
Oobleck is a fabulous introduction to STEAM. Mixed together, the combination of cornflour and water has some really interesting properties. If you were to prod it with a spoon or your fingers, it would act as a solid, but try to pick it up and its liquid like in consistency! This is activity I tend to do with my youngest (2) as a safe alternative to slime.
You will need:
Farm animals or similar
Container for the ‘mud’
I’m not going to give you quantities for each ingredient since this will depend on the size of the container you use. My advice is to add each ingredient gradually!
Invitation to Play:
I set up the container, utensils and farm animals as an ‘invitation to play’ so that Zoey could choose the direction of play herself. We’re constantly doing sensory activities so she knows exactly what she wants to do HOWEVER if this is the first time you’ve ever tried something like this, you may want to help out a little!
The little scoops found in washing powders are a fabulous way for young children to practice hand-eye coordination. Zoey enjoyed moving the mud from one to another then ‘feeding’ her farm animals with it.
Once the novelty factor of the mud had worn off, we extended the play session by adding water in squirty bottles (the one in the photo is an old honey bottle) to wash the mud off!
Then we just keep adding water with the introduction of warm, soapy water in a bowl. I actually think that Zoey loved this part the most and it also saved me the job of cleaning up – win!
Do you ever just get inspiration from totally random objects? This is exactly what happened here!
With a surplus of cardboard thanks to a recent IKEA binge, I had been desperately wracking my brains on how to use it. Then I noticed the fish themed ice cube tray lying on the draining board, waiting to be refilled and the idea sparked. So here is our fish pond…
In total, it took us a few days to complete as each layer needed to dry first but it did make for a brilliant ‘end of the school holidays’ project that both children could join in with. Here’s how we did it:
You will need:
acrylic paint in sea-themed colours (we always use non-toxic paints)
green or coral themed acrylics
orange or other fish themed acrylic colours
large piece of cardboard
‘fish’ ice-cube tray or alternative (e.g. foam/ sponge cut into fish shapes)
1. Paint Scrape Water
Start off with blobs of sea-themed acrylics on a piece of cardboard:
Spread the acrylics out using a paint scraper of two:
Leave to ocean to dry (!) overnight before carrying on with the next step.
2. Bubble Wrap Coral
Cut bubble wrap into pointy strips to print around the outside of the cardboard canvas. We decided to use flourescent green for our coral reef but any bright colours you have would look striking:
Again, it’s best to leave this part to dry for a few hours before continuing with the fish…
3. Fish Prints
Put a blob of orange paint onto an old plastic plate or paint tray, then dip the underside of the fish ice-cube tray into the paint. Print across the whole section of the blue canvas – we decided that our fish should swim in different directions!