Sensory bottles (also called calm down bottles) are a fun + easy DIY project you can do with / for your kids. My 2 and 3 years old BOTH loved making these sensory bottles with glitter!

(Since there’s glitter involved you – as the parent – should be embrace the idea of “a mess” or perhaps plan to make your glitter sensory bottles outside LOL.)

The whole project took about 15 minutes (well, half an hour if you include running to the dollar store for supplies), and they turned out so great!

The bottles are SO mesmerizing, I find myself playing with them while watching TV after the kids go to bed LOL.

Shaking the bottles back and forth creates a “calming” swirling pattern – it’s seriously amazing to watch – and thanks to the addition of glue into the water, the glitter is suspended for much longer than you’d expect… meaning it doesn’t get boring quickly!

I’ve heard of parents using these as “time-out” timers, having a younger child watch them until all the glitter settles… but I personally don’t allow my kids to have anything THIS fun or cool in a time out.


That won’t work in my house!

Related: Fun Toddler Activities to Keep Mommy Sane

We were inspired to make our own sensory bottles with glitter after visiting my sister and seeing the one she made for her daughter last week.

She had used multi-colored glitter and it made the water almost black, so we chose to do single color glitter glue with additional silver glitter in our bottles.


  • Empty plastic bottle*
  • Super glue/hot glue**
  • Water
  • Glitter glue
  • Additional glitter

*I have seen suggestions to make sensory jars or seen these made with glass bottles… I just WOULD NOT.

Like, we dropped these things 3 times with in 5 minutes of finishing them. They are MADE TO BE SHAKEN BY CHILDREN. Use plastic.

**ALSO, don’t skip the gluing on the lid step.

This is for your own mental health, ok?


1. Remove the label from your plastic bottle

I used goo gone and scrubbed it with my finger nail to get the glue strip off, and it worked great!

Then I cleaned the outside of the bottle with dish soap, ‘cus I’m not sure goo gone is that child friendly. (You KNOW they’re gonna lick these things. That’s what they do.)

how to make a sensory bottle with glitter

2. Add 1/2 inch of water to your bottle, and squeeze in glitter glue

We chose single color glitter glue, and it worked AWESOME.

We wanted the glitter to be able to remain suspended in the bottles for quite some time, so we used a lot of the glue – about half the bottle!

(Plus, I mean, the kids LOVED this part, being able to squeeze and squeeze to their heart’s content. It’s basically every child’s dream. So don’t be stingy with the glue here. If you don’t want left over glitter glue hanging around the house, use the whole bottle, whatever!)

3. Add extra glitter

This is the part of making sensory bottles with glitter that MAY require some deep breathing on the part of mom – it’s a LITTLE stressful to watch poofs of glitter miss the bottle and coat your children.

I helped a little bit.

I DEFINITELY didn’t want a ton of FREE FLOATING glitter left laying around, so we used half of the glitter in each sensory bottle (we made two).

4. fill with water + super glue cap in place

As you can see in the image below, we really did use A LOT of glitter + glitter glue!

Then we filled the bottles with tap water (I only filled them to about 1.5 inches from the top, but I bet it would have worked just as well and looked even cooler to fill them the whole way. We are going to make some more and try that).

Dry the mouth of the bottle and the inside of the cap really well with toilet paper, and super glue that mess shut.

This is a bottle full of gluey-glittery-wet…

You want it PERMENENT.

(Then allow it dry before anyone is allowed to touch it!)

Aren’t they awesome?

glitter sensory bottles for toddlers

Other great things to add to your sensory bottles

The sky is really the limit with cool things you could add to your sensory bottles!

Consider adding sequins or punched foil shapes, beads, buttons, water beads, or you can even make a jellyfish from a plastic bag and put that in there!

I pan to make a Christmas version with green glitter and read sequins or stars. I’ll share pictures when it’s done!

I’ve also heard that adding a squirt of baby oil or cooking oil creates really neat effects, and that adding some stretched out cotton balls can make your sensory bottles look like a galaxy!

Have you made a sensory bottle with glitter? Show me!