DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

When I was a SAHM the first time around with B, I found myself chatting with other mama friends about things we could make to stimulate our little ones that didn’t include flashing lights and crazy sounds. Some of them had talked about making sensory bottles, so I thought I would give it a try. I made these when B was probably 10 months old and saved them for his first birthday.


  • Water bottles (I used Voss) *see notes below
  • Liquids and other materials to fill the bottles – use your imagination! There are really no limits.

DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

Before assembling them, pour out (or drink) the water from the bottles and let them dry overnight. Peel the labels off so you can easily see what’s going to be inside each bottle. Refill the bottles with whatever materials you think might be stimulating for your little one’s eyes, ears and brain. I pillaged my classroom to find some craft supplies and also poked around my kitchen to see what I could find.

DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

The bottles from left to right include:

1. Corn syrup and sequins

2. Water with red food coloring and dish soap

3. Water with crayon shavings

4. Water with blue food coloring (on the bottom) and corn syrup (on the top) with small plastic ocean animals

5. Rice with pom poms, small toys and craft pieces

6. Water with glitter, beads and curling ribbon

*My one huge mistake with this project was that the tops weren’t secure, so unfortunately, the finished product didn’t last long. The Voss bottles seemed ideal for this project because they were smooth and easy to see through. However, the tops break very easily when dropped. And pretty much any toddler I’ve met will at some point throw, kick, roll, drop, bounce, and launch these across the room.

I had read somewhere that you really should hot glue the tops or are use duct tape (and I thought “nah, it’ll be fine”). Well, oops – wouldn’t you know that as soon as B dropped (err… threw) one on the ground, the top split through the middle. Lesson learned. Secure the tops, even if it doesn’t look as “pretty.”

DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

When I originally made the bottles, I only took pictures of the end result. So when scrounging for some more pictures for this post, I decided to re-create this project and made two more bottles for B to use and share with his little brother and some friends we’d be seeing on a play date. I looked around my house and quickly came up with: two empty bottles, corn kernels, dish soap (which I didn’t end up using), food coloring, olive oil (not pictured), crayons (also not used), pennies, ribbon, a heart cutter and construction paper. I could have used so much more - as long as it would fit in the bottle top, it would probably work! In the bottles, I ended up putting:

  • Corn kernels, ribbon pieces, construction paper hearts and pennies
  • Water, red food coloring and olive oil

If school was in session, I would have definitely hit up my classroom again for some more materials. B is very into letters so I think having a bottle with water, alphabet beads and some other treasures to find would thrill him! …and lesson learned —I used my hot glue gun to get the tops nice and tight — those babies aren’t going anywhere! I think the grooves in the bottles I used this time are probably easier for little hands to grip than the Voss bottles were.

DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

Happy crafting mamas! This is a fun and easy one for anyone to make. Enjoy!

6 Responses to DIY Sensory Bottles for Little Ones

  1. These look beyond fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Great article! And good to know about the fragility of the Voss water bottles. They look like wonderful bottles for these, but it’s great to know they aren’t toddler-proof. :-)

  3. i love this idea

  4. This is such a good idea and cheap way to entertain kids. I will be making these for my kiddo #2.

  5. I used to work with special needs kids and had things like this but to be honest I think I would spend just as much time playing with one ;) there are so soothing

  6. This is great! My youngest is believed to be on the Autism spectrum and I think these would be great for him! A good, calming activity he can do in the car, grocery store, etc. Thanks!

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