This rainbow sensory bottle is a simple friendship sensory activity to throw together, and uses whatever materials you have in your home. We used rainbow string to make our sensory bottle for use as a calming tool for visual and proprioceptive input. We made these friendship sensory bottles as a friendship activity that helped to work on cooperation and specific aspects of social emotional development.
The reason for making sensory bottles is simple: Shake a sensory bottle and watch the contents slowly fall for visual sensory input. There is just something relaxing about watching a sensory bottle. This rainbow sensory bottle is colorful and packs a fine motor punch when the kids are involved in the making process.
How to make a friendship sensory bottle
First, gather a friend. Then, you’ll need a couple of empty bottles and some materials. You could gather craft supplies like glitter, sequence, string, craft pom poms, or any materials really.
This sensory bottle was super simple to make. We used just a few materials:
Affiliate links are below.
Friendship Thread (Ours was from www.craftprojectideas.com)
Clear body wash
Clear glass marbles
To make the rainbow sensory bottle, first cut the friendship thread into 1-2 inch lengths.
Have the friends take turns filling each other’s friendship sensory bottles with the materials. You could make each bottle the same, or they can be as different as two friends are!
While filling the sensory bottles, this is a nice time to talk about qualities of a friend.
Talk about how different each friendship bottle will be even through they may contain many of the same materials.
Talk about how different people are too, and no matter what is inside of one, the bottle will always look different with it’s swirls and whirls of sensory materials.
You can discuss qualities of a friend: companionship, trustworthiness, listening skills, being helpful, and working together. When friends shake their sensory bottles, they can recall these qualities.
Each child can fill their bottle (and their friends’ bottle) with the thread.
This is a great exercise in fine motor skills to work on tripod grasp and neat pincer grasp. My toddler and preschooler really got into pushing the thread into the bottle.
Once all of the thread has been added to the bottle, pour in about 1/2 inch of body wash.
Amounts are approximate and will vary depending on the recycled bottle you use for your sensory bottle.
Add water to the top.
As you add water, suds will form. Continue adding water to allow the suds to spill over the top of the bottle.
When MOST of the bubbles have poured out of the bottle, twist on the lid.
Now, give the sensory bottle a big shake. This is the job for the kids. Have then shake the bottle to mix in the gel.
Now, as you shake, more bubbles will form but let them settle. After the gel and water has mixed, add a couple of the glass gems to the bottle. These help to mix and stir the rainbow thread within the water-gel combo. An added bonus of the marbles is an added bit of weight in the bottle. This gives the sensory bottle some heavy work to the sensory play. Shaking a bottle that is heavy provides proprioceptive input.
More Friendship Sensory Activities
Add these friendship sensory bottles to these movement and sensory activities to develop friendship skills:
- Use the social-emotional skills resource, Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance, and Empathy, which offers multi-sensory activities while exploring friendship, acceptance, and empathy through popular (and amazing) children’s books.
- Address turn-taking with blocks as kids communicate and practice taking turns.
- Use play and everyday toys to explore and develop turn-taking, communication, sharing, and problem solving.
- Inspire exploration of friendship skill development. Here are children’s books and activities that develop friendship skills.
- Make a sensory monster craft and talk about qualities of a friend with this Leonardo The Terrible Monster craft.
- Pair these activities with the free friendship slide decks that are now on the site:
- Writing about Friendship Slide Deck – writing prompts, writing letters to friends, and handwriting activities to develop friendship skills, all on a free interactive Google slide deck.
- Personal Space Friendship Skills Slide Deck– Friendship involves allowing personal space, and body awareness and all of this is part of the social skill development that some kids struggle with. Use this free Google slide deck to work on body awareness and personal space.
Want to see more rainbow sensory bottles? Rainbow Counting Bears Sensory Bottle | Preschool Inspirations Rainbow Pipe Cleaner Sensory Bottle | Mom Inspired Life Rainbow Button Sensory Bottle | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail Pot of Gold Discovery Bottle | Sunny Day Family Rainbow Glitter Sensory Bottle | Rhythms of Play Glitter Jars in a Rainbow of Colors | Fun-A-Day Rainbow Alphabet Sensory Bottle | Modern Preschool Rainbow Polka Dot Discovery Bottle | Still Playing School
Looking for more sensory bottles? These are our favorites:
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.