We had an Ocean theme when we were doing our sensory play activities last week. This one was in the form of a sensory bottle.
Dylan loves fish and sharks. I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned that, but he does. But he always calls the ocean a “pool”. Mainly because the only body of water he’s been into that he can remember is a pool. So any body of water would be a pool for him. We’re slowly correcting that. Whenever we pass by a body of water while in the car or in the plane, we’d tell him if it was a river, an ocean, a pond, a pool, or whatever.
How do you make a sensory bottle?
You will need:
- An empty bottle (I prefer plastic since it won’t break if my son decides to throw it)
- Food coloring
- Glitter (any color or a combination of colors)
- Any other item you want to put into your sensory bottle ( I used a re-usable shark sticker)
- Put water into the bottle. Just enough water so that it’s almost full. If you’re going to put in more items in your sensory bottle, you need to adjust your water accordingly.
- Add a few drops of food coloring. I used blue for the ocean theme. I only used two drops for this bottle. A little goes a long way. Your food coloring will actually last you long considering the many activities you can do with it with your toddler.
- Add a generous helping of glitter. Glitter does a great job of catching the light and reflecting it. It’s just amazing what it looks like when you play with it under the sun or fix a light onto it.
- Add other items.
- Close the bottle. Make sure it’s a bottle you can close quite well. Your tot will most likely shake the bottle around or even throw it. It’s going to be a bummer if it opens and water spills out. COLORED water spills out. COLORED GLITTERED water spills out. Need I say more?
Dylan had a lot of fun playing with it. Shining a flashlight through it. I pointed out to him that the glitters looked like fish in the ocean, but he said “No, it’s a butterfly.”
Later that night, Dylan was watching videos on the tablet. And you know what we’re like when we get hooked into watching an episode or two? We want to just stay put and finish the whole season?! Well, it’s no different for children. Especially when they’re on Youtube! Goodness the endless choices they can put their finger on.
So, I decided to bring his sensory bottle to the bedroom. I knew a sensory bottle looks great under the sun, how much more if it’s lit in a dark room? So, I took away the tablet (cue cries of protests), turned off the light (cries he doesn’t want to sleep), turned on the flashlight on my phone and placed his sensory bottle on top.
Dylan’s cries stopped. He scooted over to where the sensory bottle was and said “wow”.
Whenever the glitters started settling at the bottom, I’d shake it so that the glitters would be flitting and floating around and around the bottle again. Dylan would then do it every time thereafter.
I also told Dylan that we can make the water turn green by simply turning the bottle over (the cap of the bottle was green).
It doesn’t show quite well on pictures. The whole room grew darker since the bottle cap was thicker and so not much light could pass through. But Dylan preferred the green bottle more often than the blue so he’d turn the bottle over most of the time. It’s also great practice because he learns to balance the bottle on top of the light.
I placed the bottle on top of my phone, on top of the covered tablet. The tablet cover was black so it could show more of the reflections from the glitter.
You also have the option of placing the bottle near a wall, or even on top of a mirror so that the play of the light on the glitters would be reflected on a larger surface.
Since it was ocean theme week last week, I placed Dylan’s shark sticker inside the bottle. I didn’t have a small shark toy so the sticker would have to do. Dylan was absolutely delighted! He kept shouting “Shark!” and screaming as if he was scared of it.
When you turn the bottle to the side, you’ll create a shadow play on your ceiling. When we did this, the shadow of the shark sticker was magnified on the ceiling and I was playing the “Jaws” theme song and Dylan was pretending to be chased by the shark. It was so much fun.
It turned out to be a long night. Haha!
But even without the shark toy inside the bottle, it was simply mesmerizing to stare into the sensory bottle in a darkened room. I tell you even I felt soothed by it. Then our little boy went to sleep, followed by his mom to his side.