Sensory Bottles from The Dollar Store

Sensory bottles are amazing toys for infants and keeps them busy while you can take some time for yourself. Bonus – you can make them all with items from the dollar store.

Sensory bottles from the Dollar store

We went on a road trip to visit my brother in Colorado one summer when my daughter was about 10 months old. She did okay in the car so I had high hopes for her!

Having an older baby or toddler can be rough. When my kids were that age, I felt like taking time for myself was next to impossible. I didn’t want to introduce the TV too much but they can get into EVERYTHING so I felt like I needed to be supervising them at all times and keeping both eyes on them.

In a past life, I was an infant teacher at a preschool. We made sensory bottles a lot and the older infants would sit at the big table with them and just explore them while we were able to get lunch ready, lesson plan, whatever.

Since I remember them being super easy to put together, I made a few for my 10 month old when we were road tripping to Colorado. They ended up keeping her really busy so we carried them over to play with them at home and they kept her occupied so I could drink some hot coffee after she woke up in the morning.

How do Dollar Store Sensory Bottles Help with Self-Care?

Sounds like a ridiculous connection, doesn’t it? Well, it really isn’t. Set up your older infant/younger toddler with these dollar store sensory bottles and you’re able to have some time for yourself.

The lids are hot glued on so they won’t come off. Your child can practice hand eye coordination, exploring the sounds of what’s in the bottles and so much more.

How else can I practice daily self-care?

Waking up before your kids can really help you practice daily self-care. I do this every single day and I’m able to start my day by prioritizing myself.

Is daily self-care enough?

Let me be clear – this self-care that you do daily in the house is different than self-care out of the house. This daily self-care is when you can’t get out of the house and you can’t get away from the kids.

Out of the house self-care is necessary, too! But with adding more daily self-care, out of the house self-care feels more attainable.

Sensory bottles

Sensory bottles from the dollar store

Let’s get back to the topic at hand here – sensory bottles from the dollar store.

These sensory bottles are so, so easy to make and you can keep them in a bucket near your toys.

5 sensory bottles lined up

Here is what I put into my sensory bottles. You can mix and match any of those items. I focused on sound for these for Reagan because she loves to make noise.

Apart from the inside stuff listed below, you’ll need empty plastic bottles, a funnel and hot glue to seal the tops on.

Sensory Bottles Shopping List

  • Dry pasta
  • Alphabet beads
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • Glitter
  • Colored sand
  • Food coloring
  • Baby oil
  • Glass beads/marbles
  • Dry rice
  • Pony beads
  • Colored rocks/gravel
  • Baby shampoo
  • Water
  • Empty water bottles
All 9 sensory bottles lined up to show their contents

Here they are, from left to right:

-Pasta and alphabet beads

sensory bottle with dry pasta and alphabet beads

-Water and hot glitter glue
I loaded up my hot glue gun (every house should have one of these. They should come standard in tool kits) with the glitter glue sticks and melted it onto my silicone craft mat in different shapes and sizes. Once they were cooled off, I peeled them off of the craft mat and popped them into the sensory bottle.

sensory bottle with water and hot glue designs

-Water, food coloring, baby oil and glitter.
The water, oil and glitter all separate but look super cool when you shake it.

sensory bottle with blue water and gold glitter

-Black craft sand and googly eyes.
This one is really cool for Halloween! She loves the sound this one makes.

sensory bottle with black sand and googly eyes

-Water, food coloring and marbles.
This one is kind of heavy which is nice because it gives it another sensory experience. It makes a lot of noise and is fun to watch.

sensory bottle with yellow water and glass beads

-Dry rice and pony beads
Very colorful and makes a cool, loud noise!

sensory bottle with rice and colorful pony beads

-Water, food coloring and baby oil
The baby oil and food coloring separate nicely and like the first bottle, it looks really cool when you shake it up.

sensory bottle with water, food coloring and baby oil

-Colored rocks, water and food coloring.
This one also is heavy which is nice and makes a loud noise. It looks cool when you roll it, too!

sensory bottle with pink water and green rocks

-Water, food coloring and baby shampoo.
When it’s not shaken up, this one just looks like plain old pink water. But when you shake it, it creates a really cool lather in there.

Pink sensory bottle with soapy water

You can also dye the pasta and rice (I have a tutorial here) you are adding to the sensory bottles if you are feeling super creative. You can alter these to your children’s ages. More letters for older kids, less colors for super young babies. Like most of my projects, have fun with it!

Looking for more sensory activities? Check out all of my education at home posts here.

Update (2 years later) – I am STILL spotting my kids playing with these during the day. We still use them!

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20 thoughts on “Sensory Bottles from The Dollar Store

  1. I also do sensory bottles for my class room. I have cut up pipe cleaners, and put in bottle, then added a magnet wand to use on the outside. It will pick up the pipe cleaners and move them around.

    1. Hi Joy! I used hot glue before putting the lid back on 🙂

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing…loved it!! I too am working as a mother toddler teacher…Will definitely try in my class..

    1. That’s awesome! These are perfect for toddlers because they can’t make a mess! 😉

  3. I worked in a multi handicap class for twenty five years. I enjoyed making sensory bottles.There are a lot of ideas out there. Some of them are so easy and very inexpensive.we also did shoe box centers. Clothes pins matching numbers,word, abc,Made a lot of teach folders for the students to work match folders. Sorting money. We had sensory bins.sand,,water play,pouring,measuring.shaving cream,play doh,playing a card game was always interesting. But they learned to take turns,rules of the game,how to win or lose. There were so many skills you could teach and have fun. The class learned how to set up a game and play and then put it away.people need to look at ability instead of there disability. We always had there peers come in and work with the students. A neat learning experience for all. Teachers always stop by too see what we were doing. And they knew our students by name.It was a wonderful experience for me and very rewarding.

    1. Can you explain the shoe box centers a little more?

      1. Looks like that was a comment from a reader but seems she makes smaller activities and keeps them in a shoe box to keep it container – this is great for fine motor practice!

  4. I’m hearing a lot about fidget blankets ( or something like that) for Alzheimer’s patients. As I am a caregiver, would these boxes work for the elderly?

    1. Absolutely! You could even fill them with laminated pictures of loved ones 🙂

  5. Very nice, I just did three with 1/4 water and rest liquid hand lotion. That way the objects move slowly. Fill it up first see how they move. If too slow take out a bit and add more water. If too fast take out a little solution and then add more liquid hand lotion.

  6. What are the chances of one of these bursting? Working with a little boy with limited understanding who squeezes!

    1. Hi Alice! We have been using them for 3 years now and have had no problems. They are tossed all around and squeezed!

  7. Hi! I had a question about your colored rocks/gravel sensory bottle and food coloring. How did you make the water bottle look gradient like (almost like a rainbow)? Any particular food coloring or colored rocks?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Natalie! I think it’s just the way I took the photo. It’s just food coloring/water and gravel. Nothing special!

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