sensory bottles

Sensory bottles are a fascinating toy for young children to discover how liquids and other materials move and behave. They are also great fun to play with, shake and watch the light shining through. Our Under the Sea Sensory Bottles allow for a variety of different contents to be combined for a sensory bottle that can be used to explore and discuss a range of ideas relating to the ocean.

You will need

Sensory bottles can be filled with water and any combination of the above ingredients. They work best with around two thirds of the bottle filled with water to allow space for movement. A small piece of a Tinti water colour tablet will add colour to the water. Adding oil to the water creates an interesting layer on the top of the water. Glitter and sequins will make the water and oil sparkle and bubble tube fish will float and move in the water whilst the other objects will sink to the bottom of the tube but move when the tube is tipped.

Top Tips

  • Adding a maximum of two to three items to your bottle will allow that there is enough light to see through the bottle and room for movement.
  • The lid needs to be fastened tightly to avoid water leaking out. Wrapping a paper towel around the tube and shaking is a good way of ensuring the bottle is leak free before giving to children.

Possibilities for Discovery and Discussion

  • Which objects float and which sink, observe the oil floating on top of the water. What happens to the oil when the tube is shaken?
  • Can you create waves in the water? What do the waves look like, can you describe how the water moves?
  • Can you see the surface of the water?
  • Watch how the light shines through the bottle and the water. Can you see anything that reflects the light?

Our Under the Sea Sensory Bottles cover a number of the EYFS Goals:

  • Communication and language – describing and discussing what is happening inside the sensory bottle
  • Physical development – shaking and moving the bottles
  • Personal, social and emotional development – choosing what they would like to put into the sensory bottle and helping to put it together (with adult assistance)
  • Literacy – small letter shapes could be added to the bottles
  • Maths – counting different objects in the bottles, describing shapes and measuring water to go into the bottles.
  • Understanding the world – discovering how water moves and behaves.
  • Expressive arts and design – designing a sensory bottle and deciding which elements to add.

Have you had a go at making your own sensory bottles? What did you add and what worked well?

For more fun activity inspiration, Visit our Under the Sea pages.