Children’s Craft Idea: Sensory or Discovery Bottles


Here is another inexpensive children’s craft idea for the summer.  You can put together these little sensory or discovery bottles for children with just items you already have on hand in just a few minutes.

I decided to make these after seeing them at our preschool for a few reasons- I wanted some inexpensive outdoor toys for my girls when they are playing in the wading pool and spinklers and such.  I also made glitter bottles which is supposed to have a calming effect on little ones.

Our preschool had mentioned using the glitter bottles for children in the midst of tantrums because they watch the glitter fall and it can be somewhat soothing.  We don’t have issues with tantrums as much but my three year old has a terrible time getting to sleep at night.

I thought shaking these bottles might be something that was relaxing for her to fall asleep.

Anyway, they are simple to make and you probably have everything on hand already.

I made a few different kinds of bottles:

I made several bottles with glitter glue.  At first I tried just water and glitter and I found it got clumpy and kind of gross.  So then I tried glitter glue and it worked perfectly.  I found when I used warm/hot water it was much better then cold water.  I also added some fish tank gravel we had from a prior project.  You can’t see the fish tank gravel because this is super glittery but it makes a fun noise.

The next one is with hair gel.  You could also substitute shampoo here.  The gel is super thick so you might want to do heavier toys in this one.  I used marbles- that entire bag was $1 at the .99 store.

Since the hair gel I chose was already colored blue, it would be fun if you found some little ocean plastic toys to put inside.

I was thinking of trying Swedish Fish but I thought the candy inside might be too tempting for my little ladies.

You can also try baby oil or glycerin or corn syrup and mix that with equal parts water.  Then add glitter or food coloring- or both!  I cut up an old beaded necklace for one and used red food color.  I made another one with little squishy dinosaurs and green food color.

The last one was just filled with the colored rice I told you about here and I dropped in a few marbles.

Some other ideas of items you can use include:

  • feathers
  • beads
  • colored sand
  • colored pasta
  • pom poms
  • bright colored curling ribbon
  • tinsel
  • glow sticks or other glow in the dark items

So we have made a bunch of these recently and the girls have had fun playing with them.

One additional step you might want to take is just hot gluing the lid to the bottle so the kiddos can’t unscrew it and make a mess.

You might consider adding this to your summer activities list for the kiddos!

If you like this idea:

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Easy Sensory Bottles for Toddlers- lots of ideas to make these bottles with what you have on hand.  Perfect for playtime, bath time or to help calm an upset child.


  1. Rachel R. says

    I am amazed by all your recent projects! You have been busy and creative. These bottles look really fun and cute. I’m pretty sure my kids would open them right up so I’d have to do the hot glue method!

  2. Charlene says

    LOL- we have been busy Rachel :). I can’t take credit for this idea- I saw it at our school in a slightly different form. I have seen these before and thought it would be something the kids wouldn’t be that excited about but they seem to really like these things. They are perfect little cheap and cheerful outdoor toys.

  3. Sheryl says

    Thanks for posting this! I had seen one of these before, but I appreciate that you have a variety of bottles and filler for me to try. :)

  4. Charlene says


    Those ones are Aquapods and I got them at the grocery store. You can also use Smart Water bottles if you want some that are bigger. At first we used the small bottles that are Safeway brand (pictured at the way bottom) but they are so thin they didn’t last as long. The Aquapods look like space ships to me and they are a thicker plastic.

  5. says

    Neat idea my daughter struggles with night terrors I will try glow in the dark stars the glowsticks go out after a while lol, do you think it would work with stars and glitter.

  6. Charlene says

    Oh Kristi I am sorry :( I don’t know if the stars would work. They might fade from being submerged in water. Those types of things are so darn cheap though it is certainly worth a shot to see.

    Good luck!

  7. Maria says

    I have tried to make a glitter bottke for my daughter. The steps that i found said to use half vegetable oil with half water, then use duck tape but i glued the cap on. Well need less to say when i was done and my daughter shock it up i didnt look like some that i have seen. Was really hoping it would turn out. I dont have any corn syrup but i have teal colored dish soap and babyoil. Any other ideaswould be helpful thank you.

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