How to Make and Use Sensory Bottles in Speech Therapy

If you’re following me on social media, you know I’ve been obsessed with making sensory bottles. I’ve been testing out different styles so I could come up with some really cool bottles to share with you! If you’ve never made them before, or if you’re looking for some new ideas, keep reading to see how I made some of my favorite sensory bottles!

First, you’ll need to get some materials. These are the bottles I used. They come in a pack of 12 and are the perfect size and shape, in my opinion! Plus they don’t have labels on them, so you don’t have to worry about soaking off water bottle labels. You can also totally use any empty water bottle, but these are the ones pictured on my Instagram and I love them!

Glitter Bottles:
-Pour a bottle of clear glue into the water bottle
-Add a variety of glitter, craft jewels, beads, and sequins. Use different colors for different seasons or themes!
-Add glitter glue (optional), it adds a cool color effect, but I don’t think it’s necessary for a pretty glitter bottle
-Keep experimenting! Use more glitter and glitter glue for a more opaque bottle. Add more glue to suspend the objects in bottle longer. Add larger objects mixed with smaller glitter and sequins to add more visual interest (and incorporate size concepts)
-Super glue/hot glue lid shut

Water Beads:
-First of all, many mistakes were made with this one!
-Add a SMALL amount of water beads to the bottle (these are the ones I used)
-Fill bottle with water
-Leave overnight
-The next day, open bottle over the sink (the beads expand a lot, so if you added too many, they may start overflowing when you open the bottle!)
-You may have to dump out some beads, add more water, etc. until you get the perfect amount. I like to have extra water so the kids can turn the bottle over and the beads can move
-Another option after you grow the beads would be to fill with oil! This gives a really cool look to the beads and makes them move around slowly through the bottle
-Super glue/hot glue lid shut

Ocean Bottle:
-Fill the bottle halfway with water
-Add blue food coloring to the water and shake to combine (you can do any color, but I used blue to make it look like an ocean)
-Fill the rest of the way with baby oil
-Add mini sea animals, shells, glitter, anything else you want to add! I added a few little sea creatures and some glitter
-Super glue/hot glue lid shut
-Shake the bottle and watch the bubbles form! Kids love watching this one, it’s like a science experiment in a bottle!

Dry Discovery Bottle:
-Fill the bottle with dry beans (I used black beans) or rice
-Leave some room at the top so you can shake it and the contents will move
-Add in glitter, large sequins, and mini objects (I used Dinky DooDads and mini erasers)
-Shake to mix it up
-Super glue/hot glue lid shut
-You can fill this with anything you want! I chose mini objects because I can use them for so many things and my kids love them!

Okay, so those are the bottles I’ve made so far, and now I’m going to share some ways to use them!

  1. Practice turn-taking by alternating flipping the glitter bottles up and down.
  2. Use a dry discovery bottle to target categories (find the food, find the toys), functions (find something you can eat), and vocabulary.
  3. Target expanding utterances by playing “I spy” (I spy a ___ or I see a ___).
  4. Use glitter bottles and ocean bottles for early language (shake, shake, shake, wow, look, see).
  5. Conduct a simple science experiment by having kids make a sensory bottle with you (I thing doing this with the oil and water bottle would be perfect!). Kids can make predictions about what will happen when oil/water is added and make choices about the objects included and the colors.
  6. Use bottles as a reinforcer for finishing activities.
  7. Use glitter bottles to help calm during a stressful situation (I prefer bottles with more glue/viscosity because the glitter falls slowly). Kids can flip the bottles and watch the glitter gently fall to the bottom while practicing breathing exercises.

I have been loving making these and I can’t wait to make more! If you try these, let me know! I would love to see how yours turn out!