Ever since I saw a post on Pinterest about making your own sensory bottles, I knew it was something I wanted to create. All you need are a few water bottles and some supplies from around the house. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Though I pinned a tutorial long-ago, this past week it popped back into my mind  — so we went for it! There was definitely a little trial and error involved, but I loved the finished product (as does Little Deer of course!).

Before you get to mixing, you want to start by collecting bottles. I like the clean look of Smartwater water bottles. They’re a little long, so when I saw our grocery store had a six pack of mini Smartwaters on sale, I grabbed them. Getting the labels off was our next task, and that was no easy feat. Though they peeled off no problem, they left a lot of stick residue behind. Now this may be the biggest thing you’ll take away from this post: if you want to easily remove residue left behind by stickers — use tea tree oil. Seriously! It’s magical. I soaked a little cotton pad in tea tree oil, rubbed it on the sides, then washed them with soap and water. That was it. The residue was gone.


Once you’ve got your clean bottles all ready to go then it’s time for the fun part — mixing!  Though you can really have fun swirling together whatever you’d like, here’s the combinations that we came up:

This combination is really fun for creating lots of bubbles. When it settles, you just have two clean layers. Once you tilt it though, it’s bubbles-galore! I added a bit of green food coloring to ours for fun. Whatever color you choose will dye the water, and the baby oil will remain transparent. You can use any oil really, but I like the clarity of the baby oil.

This one does not photograph well, but it’s really fun! I made it based on the idea that liquids settle into layers due to their different densities. Though it’s hard to tell with this picture, there’s distinct layers for the honey, maple syrup, olive oil, water, and baby oil. Similarly to the oil and water one, when you tilt this one you get lots of fun bubbles. The honey also oozes around the different layers very slowly which is fun to watch. If I could do it again I would dye the water a different color than yellow since all the other colors were yellow and brown too. I didn’t want to be wasteful though and dump it all out, so I went with it.

This is the fun one — the one you see all over Pinterest. There are several different versions, but the main idea is that you want lots of fun glitter swirling about when you tilt the bottle. One tutorial I read said they just mixed glitter and water. We originally tried that, but I didn’t like how clear it was and how you could see all the glitter clumped together. Another one I read said to use glitter glue, but to buy a big bottle of that is a tad expensive and I wanted to use the glitter we already had. So to get the water a little creamier, I added a dollop of Mr. Deer’s shaving cream. Perfect! When doing this add just the teeniest bit of shaving cream at a time, cap it, shake it, and see if you like the effect. It’s easy to add too much so go slow. This one is definitely my favorite, and I find myself swirling it around even when Little Deer isn’t nearby.

This is another very simple one. When settled it looks like the picture above. Give it a shake though and the bubbles are reactivated and you get lots of suds and foam. Mr. Deer captured Little Deer’s attention by getting the bubbles going then swirling it into a little tornado. She loved that. I used blue Dawn dish soap and added a drop of blue food coloring too.

I loved making this one — it was so easy! I just added rice then walked around the house looking for goodies to put inside. A few of the things we ended up using included: a sea shell, pompom, pipe cleaner, sequins, confetti, feather, buttons, penny, glass heart, bow, safety pin, and the letter L. You can of course add whatever you like to make it fun for your little one. Don’t fill the bottle too high with rice, otherwise it becomes difficult to see the objects inside. Though Little Deer will shake this around for a minute, I think she’ll like this one more when she’s a bit older and can really try and hunt for the objects inside.

Once our bottles were complete and we were happy with their contents, I added a bit of super glue to the rim of the bottles and screwed the lids on tight to seal them. Baby oil is toxic, and there’s lots of small pieces in the rice bottle, so I wanted to be sure that Little Deer couldn’t accidentally open any of these.

And there you have it! A few water bottles, some household items, and an hour of your time and you’ve got fun visual sensory bottles. I can see us getting good use out of these guys, and it will be fun to make more together as Little Deer gets older.

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Do you have any other ideas for fun sensory bottle creations? Think you might give these a try?