These bottles are mesmerizing for babies and children of all ages! They are used by schools and therapists to help children self-regulate when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Older children also use them for the same purpose, and even adults.

Once you make it (older children can help you make them), leave it by a window so your baby can play with it anytime. You can also bring it out if your baby is feeling anxious, overly tired or overwhelmed. They will watch with delight as the sparkles swirl and shine the light! They also make beautiful shadows for light play, which is a favourite activity for children younger than 3.

You can make these bottles with a non-breakable plastic, but with supervision, I recommend the glass ones for babies to explore. It is an easy activity for indoors or outdoors, and is not messy.

Best Ages for This Activity

Amazing (and I would say essential) for newborn to 2-year-old children, but great for children of all ages!

How to Make It


  • One VOSS water bottle. Things to keep in mind:
    • I will be posting several sensory calming bottle recipes, if you would prefer to get more than one bottle.
    • You can also use any recycled glass bottle with a tight lid, or a tall mason jar like this one but a taller bottle works best.
  • Gold glitter glue (or whichever colour you prefer – I am making the beautiful sunset bottle on the very right). You can also add extra glitter and just use clear glue
  • Yellow food colouring
  • Gold glitter of various sizes or whatever colour you prefer from this set
  • Super glue

Optional Supplies

  • A large glass measuring cup (you probably have this in our kitchen already) or glass or metal mixing bowl with a spout (to make it easier to pour)
  • A whisk – these ones are great if your children will be helping you make this or cook in the future
  • If you used the gold glitter of various sizes, you could add orange and red glitter to the gold to make it more like a sunset, but really, use any colours you and your child prefer.
  • Goo Gone to remove the glue from the label of the bottle, if needed, once you peel it off. I soak my bottles in boiling water and dish soap and most of the time I can remove the residue without using Goo Gone, but some are harder than others.

Let’s Get Started!

CEFA tip: You and your child will be working with hot liquids, so do not use a plastic container to mix them. If you use a plastic bottle for the end product, you will have to wait until the liquid has cooled off before pouring or it will melt or warp your bottle.

  • Empty your glass bottle, wash well and remove all labels. To do so, you can use hot water and then Goo Gone to remove the glue.
  • Pour 1½ cups of boiling water into your large measuring cup. You should always do this part so your child does not get burnt.
  • Add ½ bottle of glitter glue or clear glue to the boiling water
  • Add ½ cup or more (to your liking) of your gold glitter to the mix. It looks much, much better if you add a mix of different glitters such as fine glitter, glitter shapes (hearts, large circles, stars) and regular glitter rather than just one kind.
  • Add the orange and red glitter to your liking.
  • Add two drops of yellow food colouring (only two).
  • Mix everything really well using a whisk or even a fork or spoon and pour the mixture inside the water bottle.
  • Top the rest of the bottle with cold water, leaving 10cm without filling.
  • Close the bottle tightly and shake it vigorously. Let it settle and decide if you would like to add more water, more food colouring, or more glitter.

CEFA tip: If you would like the sparkles to move more slowly, you can add dish soap instead of more water to top off the bottle. Just add a little at a time until you find the perfect consistency. If it looks murky, it will settle in 24 hours or so.

  • Once you are happy with the results and your bottle is full to the top, dry the bottle and the lid, and glue it shut using the super glue.

Let’s Play!

  • Show the bottle to your baby, shaking it for them to see its beautiful shimmery colours in the sunlight.
  • Leave the bottle where your child is playing so they can explore it on their own time. See if they try to shake it or roll it.
  • Play with your baby, and introduce vocabulary words like: glass, hold, stand, roll, shake, light, sparkle, glimmer, sparkle, scintillate or shimmer, and math words like gold, red, orange, yellow, cylinder.

Learning Opportunities

Babies will learn S.T.E.M., especially science and math as they study light and motion. If your children were old enough to help you make the sensory calming bottle, they also learned to measure, pour and transfer. They will mix and shake vigorously as well, putting their fine motor skills to work, which are essential for writing.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of. This means they pour, and they mix, but make sure you mix first to ensure that it is not too hot.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Place your bottle near a window at different heights to see how the colours shimmer on your floor. Can your child see the movement?
  • Teach your child other ways to calm their body, like deep breathing, resting, or practicing yoga.

Things to Keep in Mind

Please keep in mind that children always need adult supervision, and that this activity involves boiling water.

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