Simple sensory play to try with babies and toddlers
Sensory bottles are an absolute winner in our house. They are engaging, easy to make and perhaps most importantly, don’t cause a huge mess like other forms of sensory play.
The bottles featured in this post are all plastic Voss bottles. We personally prefer this brand because they are pretty versatile: you can see clearly through them.
With the exception of the bottle filled with water, it’s important to note that the lids are glued in place. This is because these bottles are intended for babies and toddlers.*
Here are ten sensory bottles to try at home. In most cases, you probably already have most of the materials at home already. All of them are suitable as a tummy time activity (from when your baby is old enough to reach and grab) or as an educational tool for slightly older children.
Here’s 5 to get you started…
When creating sensory bottles, my main advice would to create more than one at a time. All 5 of the bottles photographed above took a collective 10 minutes to make.
It’s a good idea to use a funnel to guide rice and other small items into the bottle and of course seal the lid shut with a glue gun once the bottle is filled.
From left to right we have:
1.Black and white rice with pompoms. I created this as a high contrast sensory exploration for baby Elliott.
2.Pompom roller. Very simple, intended for babies to roll back and forth.
3.Sprinkle shaker. A fun, makeshift musical shaker for toddlers using cake sprinkles.
4.Ocean ‘eye-spy’ with blue dyed rice and miniature sea creatures. Ideal as a language development tool. We used ocean themed animals after a trip to the coast but you could use any theme you like.
5. Tinsel and pompoms. A sparkly bottle intended to introduce Christmas as a time of celebration. Here we used tinsel confetti from a craft shop but you could easily use an off-cut of tinsel from the tree!
6. Food colouring and water.
To be used as a tool when learning colours. We combine ours with ‘colour baskets’ or as an aid for colour hunts when identifying colours.
7. Magnet Exploration.
These little magnetic chips are loads of fun, but also a choking hazard. By placing them in a sealed plastic bottle, toddlers are able to explore safely.
8. Scent bottle.
There’s no need to seal this bottle as it’s intended for exploring scents. Pop any herb into the bottle and leave for at least one day before using as a sensory exploration.
Fill 3/4 of the bottle with water and leave in the freezer for a few hours for babies and toddlers to explore ‘cold.’
10. Alphabet / Number eye spy.
A sensory learning tool for toddlers or preschoolers. Here we used coloured rice and beads but plain rice and standard size fridge magnets work just as well.
*Please never leave your child unattended whilst playing with homemade activities regardless of how safe you have made it.