How to make a sensory bottle

A sensory bottle can help kids with ADHD or sensory challenges calm down. Watch the video tutorial and follow the step-by-step directions below to learn how to make one.

If your child has , , or a tendency to get overexcited, a sensory bottle may help. It’s a peaceful object that kids can focus on and use to self-regulate.

Also referred to as a sensory tube, a sensory bottle is simple and low-cost to make. Plus, you and your child can make one together. The supplies will vary based on what kind of bottle you choose.

Here are the basic items to get started on a homemade sensory bottle:

  • A clean, see-through plastic water bottle with the label removed

  • Superglue (or a hot glue gun)

  • Warm water

  • Glitter

  • Food coloring

  • A funnel

  • Corn syrup

How to make a themed sensory bottle with glitter

This sparkly sensory bottle is easy to make. It provides some visual calm for kids when they shake it or turn it around in their hands.

  • First, squeeze corn syrup into an empty water bottle. Use enough to fill one-third of the bottle with the syrup. (Instead of corn syrup, you can use oil, like in the video above.)

  • Add warm water until it’s about three-quarters full.

  • Add a few drops of food coloring and sprinkle in some glitter.

  • Put the lid on the water bottle and shake to mix the ingredients.

  • Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, fill the bottle to the top with water.

  • Put the lid back on and secure it with superglue or hot glue.

You can even tailor the bottle to your child’s interests to make it more appealing. For instance, if your child loves the ocean, you can use blue food coloring, blue glitter, and confetti shaped like fish.

How to make a wave sensory bottle

With this wave bottle, your child can shake it to see the oil and water separate. Or put the bottle on its side to see the waves.

  • Fill an empty water bottle about one-third full with water.

  • Add a few drops of food coloring.

  • Once the food coloring has spread throughout the water, fill the rest of the bottle with baby oil or cooking oil.

  • Secure the lid with superglue.

How to make a “peekaboo” sensory bottle with sand

A “peekaboo” sensory bottle can provide visual and tactile input. It may also help your child stay focused better.

You can make this bottle with rice that has been dyed with food coloring (search online for a recipe) or with colored play sand.

  • Put a funnel in the mouth of an empty water bottle and fill it about halfway with sand or rice.

  • Add small toys, like alphabet beads, LEGO blocks, or mini-erasers.

  • Then, fill the rest of the bottle with sand or rice, leaving about an inch of room at the top. This gives the contents room to move around and get mixed up.

  • Shake the bottle and then secure the lid with superglue.

Kids who are sensory-seekers may benefit from heavy work activity using the bottle. The weight of it can soothe them as they turn it around searching for specific letters or objects.

You can even make a list of the toys in the bottle. Kids can use it to see if they can find all the items.

Discover other sensory strategies you can try at home to help kids who get overwhelmed by sensory input. And read what one dad wishes people knew about parenting a child with sensory processing challenges.


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