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Play ideas for all those times you need a little gentle, quiet fun. Reach for these activities whenever you are looking for ways to create a soothing environment or bring calm to your mind and body.

(Don’t) Bottle it up

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(Don’t) Bottle it up

Image of a child holding an arm-full of homemade sensory bottles as part of this social emotional learning activity.


  • Clear Sensory Bottles, empty Voss water bottles, or any clear bottles or jars you may have on hand/in your recycling bin
  • Water
  • Clear liquid hand soap
  • Food coloring/liquid watercolor (if desired)
  • Small loose parts (e.g. beads, sequins, glitter, pebbles, shells, pom poms, etc.)
Image of the homemade sensory bottle created in this social emotional learning activity. This bottle is filled with water and purple & turquoise glitter.


Make your unique sensory bottles together:

  1. Pour about ½ cup of water into your bottle.
  2. Add in your desired “ingredients” (aka your chosen small loose parts).
  3. Fill the bottle up the rest of the way with clear liquid hand soap.
  4. Tightly seal your bottle.(Optional: Glue on the bottle top).
Image of a child engaging in a social emotional learning activity: rolling sensory bottles filled with water and glitter on a play mat.


Explore your new sensory bottles:

  • How long does it take for your items to settle on the bottom?
  • Can you build with your bottles?
  • What happens when you look through two bottles at a time?
  • Hold your bottle up to the light, or against a window. 

Play your way! What else can you do with these open-ended materials?

Why Play This Way?

Of course, we never suggest bottling up your feelings. On the contrary, this activity helps children “unbottle” everything that’s inside them by providing a self soothing tool that captivates the imagination. These bottles are just the right size to twist and turn in little hands and can be reconfigured in endless ways. Designate a special basket or bin for your sensory bottle collection so that your child can independently access them whenever they need to unwind. Bonus, you can take them on the go! Toss them in your bag for a long car trip or bring them to places where you may want to rely on some soothing quiet play (e.g. the doctor’s office, a car ride, a stay at grandpa’s, etc.).

Better with a Book

At LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay!, we love to pair our play with a great book.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you liked this activity, you’ll LOVE our Book Club.
Discover special books and bring them to life with activities that make meaningful connections between reading and playing. 

join the book club!

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