Children learn and play through all their senses and sensory play activities are great for providing children with lots of stimuli and new experiences. These Rainbow Sensory Bottles are bright and cheerful and just perfect for baby and toddlers to explore. They also double up as fantastic shakers so older children can use them as homemade musical instruments for all their singing and musical ideas too.
Sensory Bottle Themes
The great thing about lots of sensory activities is that they can easily be adapted to suit your theme. I chose rainbow colours to make these sensory bottles/music shakers because we’re coming up to St Patrick’s Day so it seemed very fitting. They can of course be made with any colours and contents you fancy. You could make an Autumn bottle with conkers and leaves and use lovely orange and brown ribbons. Or how about a summer beach theme filled with sand and shells and topped with yellow and blue ribbons? There are so many possibilities to see you through the whole year!
You might also like our Spring Flower Sensory Bottle.
Resources To Make Rainbow Sensory Bottles
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- A clean and dry plastic bottle with lid.
- Rainbow coloured pom-poms UK / US
- A handful of rice.
- Rainbow coloured ribbon UK / US
How To Make A Rainbow Sensory Bottle And The Learning Opportunities.
First I got the children to put the coloured pom-poms into the bottle. There are lots of colour learning, counting, sorting and things to talk about here.
- Can the children name all the different colours?
- Can the children sort the colours into groups?
- Do the children know of other things the same colour as that pom-pom?
- Can the children sort the colours in Rainbow order?
- What’s their favourite colour and why?
- Can they count the pom-poms?
- Can they decide how many pom-poms they want in their bottle and then count them out?
- Can they estimate how many pom-poms there are in that pile?
Then we put in the rice. I wanted something that would give a bit of noise when the bottles were shaken and this was nice and plain so it didn’t detract from the colours. You could use lots of other things too like pasta, seeds, bells etc. Putting in the rice offers a great opportunity for the children to problem solve and practise their fine motor skills.
- Can the children problem solve how best to get the rice into the bottle?
- You could give them simple tools to try, maybe a spoon, chop sticks, funnel, rolled up piece of paper, tweezers etc.
Now for the rainbow ribbon lid. A grown up will need to make a hole in the lid to thread the ribbon through, I did it really easily just using an old screwdriver. Then you need to prepare your ribbons. There are lots of colour learning opportunities here too and the chance to do some measuring and cutting.
- Look at all the colour learning opportunities with the pom-poms above. You can use the same ideas here with the rainbow coloured ribbons too.
- Can the children decide how long they want their ribbon to be?
- Do they want them all the same length or different lengths?
- How can they measure the ribbon? What ideas do the children have? Perhaps they’d like the ribbon as long as their arm or as long as Daddy’s foot? Older children might like to measure the ribbon out using centimetres.
- Can the children cut the ribbon? It’s a bit trickier than paper!
Once we had our ribbon lengths I taped the ends together to make it easier to thread through the lid. Once through I removed the tape and tied the rainbow ribbons in a tight and thick knot.
Then pop your lid on the bottle and hey presto. A visual treat to turn, twist, tip and spin and enjoy looking at all the racing and tumbling colours. The sensation of the weighted rice moving about is great for tiny tots and of course it makes a fantastic noise, so now’s the time to start singing too. We love the “I Can Sing a Rainbow Song”
Here’s a video of my little deaf son singing it a few months after having his first cochlear implant operation. He was beginning to hear speech and music for the first time and this was his all time favourite song! He had developed some vowel sounds but the consonants took a lot longer to come as he had a massive oral motor skill delay too. What a cutie!
Looking for more sensory play ideas? Why not follow my Pinterest board dedicated to sensory activities for kids?