Calming Bottle

This is the most popular activity for my clients at my clinic. It is very easy to create a one of a kind sensory bottle. We shake it and watch the object move and float. It helps us to calm down and be mindful.

What you Need:

Plastic Voss Water Bottles 330ml(11.15OZ) This is a bottled water from Norway and perfect to use for this project. They sell the bigger plastic one and glass bottles but I like the smaller bottle for this project. You should be able to buy them on Amazon or local grocery store like Fred Meyer in Seattle. It is not more expensive than other quality bottled water and the water is tasty.

what you put into the basic bottle
  • Water Beads-Most children call them Orbeez. When the beads are dry, they are smaller than 1/8 inches. After you soak them in water several hours, each bead becomes a 1/2″ diameter squishy ball. I usually buy them from Amazon. The one I purchased was named Jelly Beadz. The beads I purchased at the flower arrangement section of local craft store lost color after a little while in water.
  • Glitter in various sizes- Some glitters are more like powder and some are almost like confetti. Experiment by adding small quantities of glitter and water into the bottle and shake the bottle to see how it turns out. Please do not throw away the water with glitter into the sink, it is easy to drain into the ocean passing the processing plant. The glitter is small plastic bits that do not decompose and damage the ecosystem, so please think about marine animals. Glitter should be strained out of water with a coffee filter and thrown into the trash.
  • Water and small amount of liquid water color or food coloring. Usually glitter itself will make water colorful when you shake the bottle, so put small amounts of colors as needed. If you add too much, you will not see the floating beads and glitter. In the past, I added glycerin to help the beads and glitter move slower, but glycerin is perfect food for bacterias. Over the time, the water became cloudy and stinky.
  • Add something heavy like plastic beads. It makes interesting sounds, too.
  • Add something that will float such as small rubber bands, animal shaped rubber bands and shredded plastic wrapping paper.
  • Add glow in dark acrylic beads. Make sure to have a UV flashlight to shine on the beads before turning off the light.
  • Add Mineral Oil. Baby Oil is usually just mineral oil with fragrance and is relatively pricy. By adding oil which flows, you can get a different effect.
  • Add Sand and shells to mimic a beachside water scene
  • Make several different color bottles to reflect your mood
Mineral oil, sea shells and sand

How to build the calming bottle

  1. Take off the label from the Voss water bottle. If it still has stickiness on the surface, use masking tape to remove the glue, quickly tapping the sticky tape onto the residue to lift it off.
  2. Add water beads, glitter and confetti into the bottle and add water to a little less than half of the bottle. Close the lid and shake the bottle to see if you are getting the desired effect. Add more items to the bottle if you like but it is best you add a little by little, since throwing away the glitter into the sink can be harmful to marine life and wasteful of art materials.
  3. Fill up the bottle with water and add color into water. I use one or two drops of liquid water color.
  4. You may glue the lid to prevent spilling water accidentally.