Sensory Bottles | The What, Why & How

Welcome back for another Hands On Play Party. If you are a regular here, you know how much we love sensory play! You might even be familiar with our Lego Calm Down Jar that has been extremely popular lately. This month for Project Recycle we are sharing awesome ideas for bottles and jars.  I have decided that it would be really fun to run my own mini-series on sensory bottles. Today is the first in the series where I will share the what, they why and the how of sensory jars.

Sensory Bottles


What are Sensory Bottles?

Sensory bottles go by many names… sensory bottles, discovery bottles, sensory jars, calm down jars, and I am sure many, many more! No matter the name, one thing is in common with all of them. Sensory bottles are containers that are filled with various materials as a way to encourage non-messy sensory play.

Although sensory play is often referred to and thought to be “messy play”, it does not always have to be. Many children are easily over stimulated by tactile input or are too young to play with some materials (in fear that they might choke or get injured). This is where sensory bottles come in. They allow children to use their senses to make sense of their world, while keeping them safe and keeping clean up to a minimum.

They can come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Through this series, I am excited to share may of the sensory bottles we have made with you, along with provide you with tons of resources and material guide so you can make your very own sensory bottles today!Sensory Bottle Collection

Why are Sensory Bottles Important?

The most obvious benefit of sensory bottles would be their direct connection to sensory play. Sensory play is a hands on way to expose children to the world around them and allow their brains to make important connection. I love how Sensory bottles address a wide range of skills and concepts and can be adapted to meet the needs of the children using them.

Skills/Concepts Address (but not limited to)

Math: Counting, Ordinal Numbers, Matching, Addition, Shapes, Number Recognition

Language: Receptive Language (asking questions), Descriptive Language, Following 2-3 step Directions, Vocabulary Development

Reading/ Pre-Reading: Phonics, Beginning/ Ending sounds, Letter Matching, Sight Word Recognition, Fine Motor

Social Skills: Sharing, Communication, Problem Solving

Science: Sink/Float, Absorption, Classification, Sorting, Predictions, Observation

Sensory: Auditory Discrimination, Visual Perception, Proprioceptive Input, Vestibular movement, and sometimes even Olfactory Input

As I mentioned before, Sensory Bottles can be great for all ages. Older children can take part in creating the them,  younger children can experience materials that are too small for them. The possibilities are endless.


How are Sensory Bottles Made?

Sensory Bottle Discovery

Materials Needed:

Plastic Bottles (We love these bottles for an aesthetically pleasing look and for a great size)
Trinkets, Small Items (We love beads, buttons, dried goods, and much more)
{ Coming Soon: A free Printable Shopping List with TONS of ideas)

Optional Materials:

Super Glue
Liquids (Vegetable oil and  Baby Oil are a few options)

Making the bottles is REALLY SIMPLE. Wash your favorite plastic bottle, remove the label (we love Goo Gone for this), and fill with your favorite items to be discovered and discussed!

Need ideas for Sensory Bottles? Don’t worry! During this series, I have several categories of sensory bottles planned, a shopping list, and an ULTIMATE GUIDE to sensory bottles around the internet ( I currently have over 50 Awesome Ideas I have found!)

More Sensory Play Resources

Benefits of Sensory Play | High Scope
The Value of Sensory Play | City Moms Blog
Building Language with Sensory Play | Twodaloo
8 Scientific Sensory Bottles | Little Bins for Little Hands

Sensory 101 Series

Part 2 | FREE Printable Materials List (over 40 Filler Ideas)
Part 3 | Science Sensory Bottles :: Experimenting with Absorption
Part 4 | Science Sensory Bottles :: Experimenting with Viscosity
Part 5 | Galaxy in a Jar
Part 6 | The Ultimate Guide To Sensory Bottles

Be sure to follow along on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss what comes next in the SENSORY BOTTLES series!


Sensory Bottle Shopping List Galaxy in a Jar Sensory Bottle  6 Sensory Bottles that Explore Viscosity  Sensory Bottles for Discovering Absorption Lego Calm Down Jar with lego




‘Play with Me’ Sensory Bin from Stir the Wonder
Little Bins for Little Hands
P is for Preschooler


Follow Little Bins For Little Hands’s board Hands On Play Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

Its your turn to show us your Hands-on Play ideas.

Do you have a favorite Hands On Play Idea? How do you encourage hands on learning? I can’t wait to see! Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

20 thoughts on “Sensory Bottles | The What, Why & How”

  1. Pingback: Sensory Bottles | FREE Printable Materials List - Lemon Lime Adventures

  2. Pingback: Sensory Bottles | Experimenting with Absorption - Lemon Lime Adventures

  3. Kayla

    Do you buy the Voss water bottles in store or online? I ask because I’ve been on the hunt for them in stores and have had NO luck! Great post 🙂

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We get ours at Walgreens, but I know many friends get them at Mariannos and Whole Foods. I put the link to them online for people that have trouble finding them :). Thank you for.

    2. Jennifer

      I found mine at a BJ’s Wholesale! For myself that was the way to go has I homeschool 5 children so bulk was better. Or if you have a Hannafords! Hope this helps.

  4. Pingback: Sensory Bottles | Experimenting with Viscosity - Lemon Lime Adventures

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  18. Meredith M.

    I’m just spreading the word about a recent discovery I’ve made with sensory bottles and sensory bags. The gel that comes inside of ice packs that you get with medicine or food service deliveries makes a perfect gel to put inside of sensory bags and sensory bottles. For the bottles, I use 1/4 bottle filled with gel and then the rest with water. It’s a great way to recycle the gel, and it’s free!

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