Slow Falling Bead Sensory Bottle


Published: May 21, 2024 · Updated: May 21, 2024 by Sacha — This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

Does your child love sensory bottles? This Slow Falling Bead Sensory Bottle is a fun twist on traditional calm down jars, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make. Turn the bottle on its head and watch as the beads make their way to the bottom in slow motion!

If your child loves sensory bottles and you’re looking for something that’s a little different, this DIY slow motion sensory bottle is the perfect project to try.

Rather than glitter glue, it contains beads that slow fall to the bottom. And there are lots of ways to tweak it to make it appropriate for every season. This bottle would make a great addition to your collection!

If you enjoy this project, you can also check out my complete guide on how to make sensory bottles, where I’ve shared all my best tips and tricks for making the perfect sensory bottle at home.

Why You’ll Love This Project

Safe for small children: Sensory bottles are perfect for little ones who still like to put everything in their mouths, because any small items you use are contained within a bottle, where they won’t be a choking hazard.

Easy to make: This project takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish, which makes it perfect for busy parents.

Affordable: Most sensory bottles (including this one) can be made using items from the dollar store. You don’t even need to buy a bottle specifically for this project—any empty bottle from the recycling will do.

Calming effect: Sensory bottles are a great tool for helping kids calm down when they’re dealing with big emotions. My kids have gotten into the habit of asking for them when they’re upset.

Have a young child at home and looking for more sensory activities that are free of choking hazards? You can also check out these DIY Sensory Bag Ideas, this Chia Seed Sensory Bin, this Taste-Safe Chickpea Foam or this Edible Sand for Babies.

Required Materials

Supplies needed to make a slow falling bead sensory bottle.
  • Clear plastic bottle: I love these ones because they give my homemade sensory bottle a consistent look, but if you don’t want to buy anything, you can use an empty bottle from the recycling. (VOSS water bottles are a popular choice.)
  • Clear hand soap
  • Clear dish soap
  • Small plastic beads: I used alphabet beads from Walmart, but you can use perler beads, pony beads or any other type of bead you have on hand. Just keep in mind that the bigger and heavier the beads, the faster they will fall. If you want the beads to fall slowly, stick with smaller ones.
  • Chunky glitter: This is optional, but I find it visually interesting because it falls more slowly than the beads. Make sure you use chunky glitter rather than fine glitter, as fine glitter will make the liquid appear cloudy and will stay suspended for way too long.
  • Hot glue or super glue: This is also optional, but it will help secure the lid to ensure the bottle doesn’t pop open while your child is playing with it.

The full supply list and instructions can be found in the how-to card.

How to Make a Slow Motion Calm Down Bottle (Step-by-Step)

Bottle filled most of the way with clear hand soap.

Step 1: Pour hand soap into the bottle. Fill about two thirds of the bottle with clear liquid hand soap.

Bottle with hand soap and alphabet beads.

Step 2: Add plastic beads. Add a handful of plastic beads to the bottle.

Bottle with hand soap, beads and chunky glitter.

Step 3: Add glitter (optional). If you have chosen to add glitter, now is the time. Don’t add too much—just a little will do.

Sensory bottle filled all the way with hand soap and dish soap.

Step 4: Add dish soap. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with clear dish soap.

Hand holding a sensory bottle with small beads.

Step 5: Adjust the flow. Flip the bottle upside down and watch the beads fall. If they are falling too quickly, dump out some of the contents of the bottle and add more hand soap; if they are falling too slowly, add more dish soap.

Hand holding up sensory bottle lid.

Step 6: Seal the bottle. Add the lid to seal the bottle. If you want to be sure it won’t open, use hot glue or super glue to the inside of the lid before you let your child play.

This slow motion sensory bottle is so cool! There is something so calming about watching the beads slowly fall to the bottom.

Finished sensory bottle with beads falling.

Helpful Tips

  • Remove sticky residue: If you are using a recycled bottle and you’re having trouble removing the sticky residue from the label, use Goo Gone to remove it more easily.
  • Play around with the quantities: Hand soap will make beads stay suspended for longer, while dish soap will make them fall more quickly. I used about two thirds hand soap and one third dish soap, and it took 5 minutes for all the beads to reach the bottom. Keep dumping out liquid and replacing it with hand soap or dish soap until you’re happy with how it flows.
  • Replace the glue periodically: Glue weakens over time when it comes into contact with liquid. If you have chosen to seal the lid with hot glue or super glue, test the seal periodically by giving the lid a gently twist. If you feel any movement, seal it up again by adding more glue.

Fun Ways to Tweak This Project

There are lots of ways to adapt this project! Give one of these variations a try:

  • Use different types of beads: Try experimenting with different types of beads. You can even use several types of beads in the same bottle and watch them fall at different speeds. For added fun, choose beads that glow in the dark!
  • Replace the beads with other small objects: Beads aren’t the only thing you can use in this project! Try replacing them with buttons, small LEGO bricks, or other small—ideally plastic—objects you have lying around the house. (I recommend avoiding items that are prone to rust.)

Pro Tip

Lighter objects fall more slowly, while heavier objects fall more quickly. If you decide to use larger beads or replace them with other objects, you’ll likely need to adjust the ratio of hand soap to dish soap.

More Sensory Bottle Ideas

If you have tried this Slow Falling Sensory Bottle or any other recipe/project on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Hand holding a sensory bottle with small beads.

Slow Falling Bead Sensory Bottle

Sacha
Does your child love sensory bottles? This slow motion sensory bottle is a fun twist on traditional glitter jars!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sensory Bottle
Cuisine American
Servings 1 bottle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 clear plastic bottle recycled or new
  • clear hand soap as needed
  • clear dish soap as needed
  • 1 handful small plastic beads
  • chunky glitter optional
  • hot glue or super glue optional

Instructions
 

  • Fill the bottle two thirds of the way with hand soap.
  • Add the plastic beads. If you have chosen to use glitter, add a small amount of it. (A little goes a long way.)
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with dish soap.
  • Seal the bottle and turn it upside down to watch the beads fall. If they fall too quickly, dump out some of the contents of the bottle and add more hand soap; if they fall too slowly, add more dish soap.
  • Seal the bottle with a lid. If you want to be sure it won’t open during play, use hot glue or super glue to the inside of the lid.

Video

Notes

1. Remove sticky residue: If you are using a recycled bottle and you’re having trouble removing the sticky residue from the label, use Goo Gone to remove it more easily.
2. Replace the glue periodically: If you have chosen to seal the lid with hot glue or super glue, keep in mind that the glue will weaken over time. Test the seal periodically by giving the lid a gentle twist, and replace the glue if you feel any movement.
3. Replace the beads: The beads can be replaced with other small (ideally plastic) objects like buttons or small LEGO bricks. Avoid items that are prone to rust.
4. Make it seasonal: You can give this project a seasonal twist by replacing the beads with seasonal objects like acrylic hearts or small plastic spiders.
5. Adjust the flow of the liquid:
  • Play around with the quantities: Hand soap will make beads stay suspended for longer, while dish soap will make them fall more quickly. Keep dumping out liquid and replacing it until you are happy with the speed at which the beads fall.
  • Experiment with different beads: Lighter beads will fall more slowly, while heavier beads will fall more quickly. The size of the beads you use will affect the ratio of hand soap to dish soap.
Have you tried this?Mention @thecraftathomefamily or tag #thecraftathomefamily to let us know how it went!

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