DIY sensory bottles are mindfulness tools that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to make! Sensory bottles are usually composed of objects and liquids. The bottle can be filled with liquids such as glue, water, oil etc. or a combination of those. The objects used in sensory bottles can be determined through personal preference. You could use small objects from around your house, such as buttons, toys, paper clips etc. or even water beads, as demonstrated in our video below. The mesmerizing effect of the sensory bottle is seen when the bottle is shaken or turned in any direction.
The Magic of Water Beads
If you have never used water beads before, you’re in for a cool experience! These tiny beads can swell to 6X their size or more, just by soaking them in water. Not only are water beads fun to squish and look at, they can also be used in sensory bottles to help kids manage their feelings.
Water Bead sensory bottles are a healthy and effective way to help kids self-regulate their emotions. While kids are using them, encourage them to take deep breaths, or slowly count backwards from 10-1, as they watch the water beads float around. Doing so can help calm an anxious mind, help them focus on the present moment, and redirect any negative feelings that they might be experiencing.
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It’s a good idea to have a safe space within your classroom or home for kids to retreat to if they need a quiet corner or nook to self-regulate. In my own classroom, I refer to this space as the Chill Out Centre and I have it stocked with various sensory tools and activities like this one. We’ve also carved out a small space in my daughters’ rooms where they have access to many of the calm down tools that I’ll be sharing with you on our website and YouTube channel.
Here’s our YouTube video that will show you step-by-step how to create this gorgeous rainbow sensory bottle.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Appropriate for all ages
For today’s activity you’ll need:
- HB Empty Sensory Bottles (Voss water bottles are also perfect for this)
- Rainbow coloured water beads
- Water to soak the water beads
- Containers for separating the water beads by colour (we used these white ceramic bowls)
- Bowl or container to soak the water beads
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoon
- Baby Oil
- Goo gone to remove the glue from the label on the Voss water bottle (optional)
- Glue gun for sealing the lid (optional)
Step 1 – Prepare your materials
- Prepare your bottle by emptying it’s contents and removing all labels. If you have difficulty removing the labels, using Goo Gone might be helpful.
- Soak your water beads – we let ours soak for 12 hours. The instructions on the label recommended 2-24 hours in water to allow them to hydrate fully. We soaked 2 teaspoons of water beads in 6 cups of water.
Step 2 – Organize Your Water Beads by Colour
- I sorted approximately 30 water beads of each colour.
Step 3 – Start Layering Your Water Beads
- Begin by adding the purple water beads to the bottom of your bottle.
- Carefully add the blue water beads next.
- Followed by green
- Then yellow
- Red(dark pink)
Step 4 – Add Your Baby Oil
- You can fill approximately ¾ of the bottle with water beads, so the beads move around.
*If you don’t want your rainbow colours to get mixed up, you can fill the entire bottle with water beads, then add your oil to the brim*
Step 5 – Put the Lid on
- Your beautiful calming bottle is now complete. If you’re using these bottles in the classroom, I suggest that you add a little bit of hot glue on the inside of the cap to prevent little ones from opening it.
We loved creating these water bead sensory bottles! The results are even more stunning in person and they are even more mesmerizing when the light shines through them. If you have them positioned near a window, children can hold them up to the light and truly enjoy the effect that is created. This will definitely be an activity that I continue to use in my home and my classroom to help support the mental health of my children and students.
I hope that you have fun completing this activity! I’d love to hear from you. Send me your questions, comments, or ideas for any art activities that you’d like me to create. Please let me know how your sensory bottles turn out!