I love sensory bottles, and so does my 15-month-old granddaughter. And I love that sensory bottles are very adaptable for babies through preschoolers. Today, I want to share a simple tutorial for making water-bead sensory bottles in a rainbow of colors.
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Water beads are fun for so many different types of activities, including sensory bottles. You can find them in the floral section of a craft store, at The Dollar Tree, or on Amazon.
Here are the supplies you’ll need for making water bead sensory bottles in a rainbow of primary and secondary colors
- 6 bottles (I just recycled some 8 oz. water bottles from a birthday party.) I especially like the 8-12 oz. size for babies’ small hands. (Of course, if you want beautiful bottles, check out the Voss water bottles.) (UPDATE 1 year later: Zoey has used these bottles SO MANY TIMES that I wish I would have used Voss bottles. The ones I have still work, but I’d love them to be in great condition for future grandkids, too!)
- Goo Gone to remove label residue
- colored water beads (or clear water beads colored with food coloring in water)
- professional high temperature glue gun (to securely fasten lid on bottle)
Steps to follow:
1. Remove labels from 6 bottles.
2. Add dehydrated red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and purple water beads to 6 glasses or bowls of water.
3. Allow the water beads to expand overnight.
4. If you have a funnel with a large-enough opening, use the funnel to add water beads and water to the 6 bottles. Preschoolers can fill the bottles themselves. Toddlers can often fill the bottles, too, if they have a tray or pan underneath to catch the water beads that spill. If your funnel’s opening isn’t large enough, water beads can be put into the bottles by hand.
5. Add food coloring to any bottles you want to be a darker shade. I added food coloring to a few of the colors to create bright primary and secondary colors.
6. Seal each lid to a bottle with the hot glue gun. (I waited two days before sealing to allow time for any additional expansion of the water beads. I wanted to leave enough space at the top for the water beads and water to move easily when the bottle was tilted. When I had the amount of water beads and water I wanted, I sealed each lid.)
How to Use the Water-Bead Sensory Bottles
Rainbow Water-Bead Sensory Bottles for Babies:
I just like to let a baby explore the sensory bottle. What could be easier?!
Rainbow Water Bead Sensory Bottles for Toddlers and Preschoolers:
With a toddler, you could use the Montessori 3-period lesson to name the color when you touch one of the bottles. For young toddlers, it’s fine to stay with the first period. You mainly want your toddler to explore the sensory bottles.
After I said the name of each color, my granddaughter created her own activity. She loved taking the sensory bottles off the tray and putting them back on. She spent a long time with the activity, an important part of developing her ability to concentrate. I just had to be careful not to interrupt her concentration.
If you feel your toddler is ready, you could introduce the Montessori color box 1 (and later the secondary colors from color box 2). For home use, I like to use the free color matching cards from Montessori Print Shop or the economical ready-made Montessori color tablets from Montessori By Mom (available as a single item or in the Mad Scientist Toolbox). Your toddler or preschooler could then match the water bead bottles to the color tablets. You can see a similar layout in this post: “Montessori-Inspired Color Activities Using Yarn Balls and Free Printables.” The only difference is that you’d use the sensory bottles in place of the yarn balls.
You could have a scavenger hunt where your toddler or preschooler brings objects from around the house to match each color of water bead sensory bottle.
Introduce the rainbow colors and ROY G BIV to your preschooler. The songs “They Might Be Giants – Roy G Biv” and “Colors Song for Children” are fun ways to introduce ROY G BIV. Have your child line up the sensory bottles in order. You can omit indigo in the lineup (unless you want to create an indigo sensory bottle, too).
More Rainbow Activities
Find lots of rainbow activities in my Montessori-inspired rainbow activities post.
Have you made water bead bottles before?
This post was part of the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants are teaching us how to make something useful or try something new.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- DIY: Homeschooling — Have you considered homeschooling but aren’t sure how you could make it work? Kerry of City Kids Homeschooling offers some do-it-yourself encouragement in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
- Super Easy Berry Freezie — Tracy at Raised Good shows how to make healthy, delicious, dairy-free ice-cream for toddlers and their families in under 10 minutes.
- How to Get Kids to Behave in Church — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how she’s been able to participate in religious activities that mean a lot to her, without being separated from her kids.
- Valentine’s Slippers — A sneak peek at Life Breath Present‘s crochet process with some slippers for Hun for Valentine’s Day this year!
- DIY Nursing Bra Conversion — Holly at Leaves of Lavender provides a quick tutorial for how to convert your favorite regular bra to a nursing bra.
- Make your own soothing postpartum pads — Lauren at Hobo Mama shows you how to freeze padsicles for perineal comfort after birth, plus bonus healing options.
- Beginning Knitting Project for Kids: Knit a Pikachu — What do you do with all of those practice squares you knit when you are a beginner? Turn them into Pokemon! Kieran, 7-year-old son of Dionna at Code Name: Mama, brings us a video tutorial for this awesome knitting project for kids and adults.
- Name Creations: An Inspiring Project that Builds Self-Esteem — Children love their names. Learn easy instructions for children, tweens and teens to put a dramatic name on their door or room wall from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., at Parental Intelligence.
- Water-Bead Sensory Bottles for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares a tutorial for making a rainbow of water-bead sensory bottles along with ideas for using them with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
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