Calming Sensory Bottles for Toddlers

My girlfriends and I are getting together later for a ‘Busy Bag Swap’.  Being as I am due with baby #2 any day now I needed something that was easy to make (and make 6 of them for all the kids), didn’t cost a lot, and fun. I was inspired when I saw this Calming Bottle post on Mess for Less.  I knew the kids would love the glitter and I also LOVE the fact that this has a dual purpose: calm the kid down and a time-out timer. Win win!!

Calming Bottle swirled

I immediately made my list to make 6 Calming Bottles (making 3 for boys and 3 for girls) and off to the store I went!

In total I spent $14 for all the supplies to make 6 Calming Bottles, a little over $2 a bottle. It would have been less if I already had water bottles on hand, but I knew I wanted the SmartWater bottles for their size, shape and smoothness.

*you can spend less on the glitter glue if you buy at the Dollar Tree, but I wanted a specific pink and green for the kids I made these for. So I opted for a little pricier glitter glue to get the color wanted. Luckily my local Fred Meyer had a BOGO on the glue! Plus, I have leftover supplies to make some more in other colors for my kids. So really each bottle probably factors to a bit under $2 if you equate that I have leftover supplies.

Here is what you need:

Calming Bottle Supplies

  •  Water bottle (16 oz)
  • Goo Gone
  • Krazy Glue or hot glue gun
  • Glitter Glue (you can find in craft store or dollar store)
  • Fine glitter

Thats it!  Now your ready to go! I must admit the process took a little longer than I expected only because I misjudged the amount of time the glitter glue would ‘melt’ into the water. Hey, its my first time working with glitter glue!

With the bottle empty, take off the label off and scrub the outside with Goo Gone to remove the sticky residue.  Ladies: Goo Gone will take off your nail polish, if you have a fabulous manicure make sure to ask hubby for help on this one :)

Next, fill your water bottle 3/4 of the way with warm-hot water. Not too hot as the plastic on the bottle will crunch and melt into a weird shape as I accidentally learned.  This is why I tend to get extra supplies for my learning mistakes!

Next, place about 2 oz of glitter glue into the bottle. You can add more if you like, the more the glitter glue, the longer the ‘let down’ of glitter.  Since I was making these bottles for a group of 2-year olds I wanted the letdown to be about 2-3 minutes MAX.  If I had a 5 year old I would have used 3-4 oz of glitter glue, making the let down closer to 5 minutes.

Glitter Glue

I like the Elmer’s Glitter Glue because they came in 6oz bottles, so one bottle of the green glitter glue made all three bottles for the boys, plus I have some left over for another craft :)


Shake the bottle vigorously and let the glue ‘melt’ into the water.  I let mine sit over night.  Once the glue has thinned out into the water (water should be the color of the glitter glue now), add your glitter.  You can add as much or as little glitter as you want. I found that 1/2 a vile from the dollar store was enough for 1 bottle.  You can mix and match colors too – this is where you get creative and if you have older kids, get them involved in this step using a funnel.

After you’ve poured in the glitter, shake, shake, shake away!  Keep playing with the glue/glitter ratio until you get the swirl and let down you desire.  Once your happy with the result, Krazy Glue or glue gun the cap on. You don’t want your kiddo to open the glitter water and dump all over the house eh!

Here is a picture of 2 completed bottles:

both active_EME

Here is a picture of the pink one having rested for a minute (or ‘let down’) and the green one is freshly shaken.  See how these are a great time-out timer too :)

One down one active_EME

Pretty and sparkly! I just love the swirl and sparkle of these bottles, and so does my 2-year old.  Every time we shake the bottle during a fit of hers she stops and says “WOAH” with big eyes of wonder.  It’s amazing how it just calms her down and distracts her from whatever she was upset about 30 seconds prior!

Now I am ready for our ‘Busy Bag Swap’ tonight – I hope all the kid and the mamas love it!  My husband joked that we need own calming bottles for when those days are just overwhelming and work is too stressful haha! Maybe I will use some leftover supplies and make him a bright orange one for his desk :)

6 Calming Bottles: 3 for boys and 3 for girls!

6 Calming Bottles: 3 for boys and 3 for girls!



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