If you’ve been to a Pram Jam or Storytime you may have seen the Sensory Bottles we’ve been using. I wanted to share some of the bottles we currently have made up. There are so many options available; all you need is some washed out plastic bottles and a little imagination. I find the process of making them both unnaturally fun and relaxing. I also quite like playing with the bottles to make sure that they are suitable.

There are a few things you need regardless of what type of sensory bottle you are making. A clean, clear plastic bottle (preferably made of the sturdier plastic that won’t buckle) and super glue (to protect against little hands). All of the bottles we have in the library have their lids super glued shut to make sure they cannot be opened. This is especially important for the ones involving liquids.

Sensory play is necessary for cognitive development and every moment of a baby or toddlers time is devoted to using their senses to learn. Sensory bottles help keep children occupied, while you’re doing the washing or cooking dinner, while stimulating the development of their senses and brains.

Sensory bottles - Jess for storytime

Bubbles Bottle
This is without a doubt one of our favoutrite bottles and it’s very easy to make.

What you need:
– water,
– dishwashing liquid,
– food colouring, and
– glitter (optional).

To make this bottle half fill the bottle with water, add as much food colouring as you like, add a squirt of dishwashing liquid. I add glitter to the bottles we have at our sessions as the glitter gets stuck on the bubbles and it looks very interesting.

Then shake, shake, shake, and there will be lots of bubble in the top half of the bottle.

Calming Bottle
This is the favourite bottle of a number of the staff. It is a lovely bottle to sit and watch and children can find it very calming watching the glitter swirl slowly around the bottle.

What you need:
– corn syrup (any dense sugar syrup will work),
– hot water, and
– glitter.

To make this bottle put the corn syrup in warm water so that it flow more easily. You need a ratio of 2/3 corn syrup to 1/3 hot water. The water thins the syrup which allows the glitter to move around the bottle with greater ease.

When it’s finished, agitate the bottle and the density will hold the glitter for a long time, until it slowly sinks to the bottom again.

Noisy Bottles
We have lots of noisy bottles and these can be made with anything. I will go through some of the ones we have. These bottles are really all about exposing ears to different sounds and different materials help with this.

Buttons (this is great as you have the noise of the buttons and all of those lovely colours too).

Bells (these make a metallic noise as they hit one another and this is a great bottle for rolling).

Beans and Feathers (This has the benefit of the brightly coloured feathers and the beans make different sounds depending on wheather they are hitting one another, the feathers, or the plastic bottle).

Beans (I added glitter to this, because I love glitter, but the beans make a softer sound than other items).

Colour Bottles
The bubble bottles are colour bottles as well but an excellent way to introduce children to the colours is by making bottles for each one. When I made the colour bottles I used whatever was available in the colours I was making. I used: felt, tissue paper, buttons, straws, pipe cleaners, balloons, glitter, sequins, and the list can go on. You can put anything you have around the house into these bottles and they will be a treat for the eyes, ears, and brain.

Ping Pong Jar
I borrowed this idea from my mother, it was a HUGE hit with my niece when she was a baby.

Using an clean fruit jar, you put in a ping pong (or two) and close the jar. This was is great for little hands as it is a nice big jar, and it rolls beautifully across the mat when they are beginning to crawl.

There are an infinite number of sensory bottles that you can make. If you make some of your own we would love to hear about them.


There are lots of rhymes our there for the different senses but there are a few that talk about all of them.

I have eyes that can see
And a nose that can smell
I have fingers that can touch
And they do it very well
I have ears that can hear
And a tongue that can taste
These five things I should not waste.

Parts of the Body
If it’s a bird you want to hear,
You have to listen with your… EARS!

If you want to dig in the sand,
Hold the shovel in your… HAND!

To see an airplane as it flies,
You must open up your… EYES!

To smell a violet or a rose,
You sniff the flower through your… NOSE!

When you walk across the street,
You use two things you call your… FEET!

East, west, north and south,
To eat or talk you use your… MOUTH!


As for good books about senses. Anything at all that is touch and feel.

That’s not my teddy: its paws are too woolly by Fiona Watt

Any book in this series is great. It has a range of adjectives to describe the materials that they are feeling along with bright colours, simple drawings, and all of the touching.

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If you make your own sensory bottles and have some suggestions for us please let us know below.