Making a sensory bottle

If you have an empty plastic bottle lying around in your kitchen, don’t throw it into the recycling just yet! Fill it with stuff and turn it into a fascinating discovery toy…

Making a sensory bottle

‘Stuff’ is, of course, the technical term for this, so let me elaborate.

Take your clean, dry, clear plastic bottle (without the label on!) and add to it whatever materials you may have around the house that you think could be interesting for your little one, either visually or for making noise. You don’t need an arts and crafts stash, although obviously that widens the scope a bit. Some simple ideas are:

  • Create a DIY shaker with dried pasta, rice or lentils. Make three separate bottles with one of each inside so your baby can discover the difference in weight, sound and texture.
  • For visual interest, add something sparkly. For the first bottles I made, I cut up pieces of present wrapping ribbon, or you could use foil. I also had one bottle filled with two big pieces of the curling wrapping ribbon and nothing else. (I made these when BabyGirl was four months and she still plays with them now!)
  • For a lovely bubbly bottle for your baby to slosh around, fill with water and washing up liquid. Add a few drops of food colouring for extra visual appeal. I didn’t have food colouring for my first water bottle, so I used our summer fruits squash, which worked just as well! From there, you can get creative and include all manner of fun things for your baby to spot moving around in the water, such as glitter and sequins. Or oil, which will separate and make the ‘texture’ of the water more interesting. Baby oil is good; olive oil, as I have discovered, is not so good as it swallowed up all the glitter into globby lumps.

Make sure your bottle is sealed tightly. At the moment with BabyGirl it is enough to screw the lid on but if you think your baby could open this, stick it down with glue or strong tape.

Hey presto! A brand new toy to explore, particularly good when you need a new distraction quickly.

There are loads of lovely ideas for different bottles out there in the blogosphere. You may see them called ‘sensory bottles’ or ‘discovery bottles’. One blog calls them ‘I-spy bottles’ which I love. They are so easy to make and when your baby gets bored with it, you can just whip up a fresh one. Here are just a few favourites:


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