It’s no secret, we love staring up into the night sky around here. My kids are obsessed with space travel, the stars, galaxies and more. One of the ways we can capture that love of the galaxy is to create a Space Sensory Bottle. This easy activity is fun for older kids to make themselves, but all kids (and even some adults), enjoy playing with sensory bottles.
Space Travel Sensory Bottle DIY
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Store bought sensory bottles and tubes are available everywhere. Kids love playing with them, and even a few adults I know like having these calming tools available in their homes and offices.
Sensory bottles are great because you can take them anywhere. They can go in the car, to the store, in waiting rooms, anywhere that you need a fun little distraction to keep your child entertained and calm. They are also a great addition to classrooms and as part of a calm down kit.
We find sensory jars are a brilliant way to help with anxiety at any age.
But did you know it is actually really easy to make your own sensory bottles? When you make your own sensory bottle you can customize it to your child’s interests. Plus, kids love making their own sensory bottles and it gives them an immense sense of pride and ownership.
Space Loving Kids
The idea of building a space sensory bottle is absolutely perfect. With a sensory bottle the contents appear to float. Just like in space!
When building your own Space Sensory Bottle, you can work with your kids to decide what items they want to include in their space journey. Of course you will want stars, lots and lots of stars. But your child might also want to include astronauts, space ships, glittery nebulas, and more.
Make the bottle perfect for your child and their space dreams!
How To Make Sensory Bottles
Elmer’s Clear Glue
Glue to secure lid (optional but recommended)
Learn how to make a Space Travel Sensory Jar
- Add glue to the jar
The amount of glue required will depend on the size of the jar. In this jar we used 10 oz of glue. Adding more glue with make the liquid more viscous, and make the sensory jar float more and move slower. If you want a slow floating space sensory jar, double the amount of glue to 20 oz.
- Add space toys
Next we add the space toys! We used astronauts and rockets, but you can customize it to your interests.
- Add stars
No space sensory bottle would be complete without stars throughout our galaxy! Add confetti stars to the bottle. We used about 1 tablespoon worth, but you can adjust it to suit your taste. If you wish to use glitter, add that now too.
- Add water
Top up the bottle with warm to hot water. Think bath water temperature. This will help the glue dissolve in the water. You can use tap water or distilled water.
- Secure the lid
Secure the lid on tightly. If you are using the bottle with a younger child or a child who will be extra rambunctious, you might want to secure it with some extra glue so it can’t be opened again. Simply add some glue around the threads of the lid and screw it on tightly. Let dry.
Older kids may prefer to have the option of opening their sensory bottle and changing it out for new fillings. This way they can reuse the bottles and toys for new sensory bottles in the future. Just make sure the lid is on tightly and the child is old enough to be trusted not to open and dump the contents.
- Shake it up!
Now simply shake the Space Sensory Bottle and watch your astronauts and space ships float in the stars!
How Do Sensory Bottles Work?
There are two aspects to this question. One addresses the calming affects, the other addresses the science. Let’s tackle science first.
When you make a sensory bottle the idea is simply to slow the contents down so they appear to float. We do this by making the liquid more viscous or thick. In our recipe we are adding glue to the water. Another option is to add oil or soap. The goal is to thicken the water so it slows down the floating of the items.
Now the second part of this question, is how do these bottles work? The best way to think about it, is that the sensory bottles act as a kind of calm down timer. Shake them up, then just sit and breathe while watching the items slowly float about. As the child sits and watches their breathing will slow and they will start to feel more calm and centered.
Sensory bottles are a great way to help with anxiety. You can even make an adult version for yourself.
DIY Sensory Bottle Tips
Pick your bottles carefully. The clarity of the bottle is very important for the overall experience. You also want to make sure the bottle is sturdy and can be closed tightly.
Create the Galaxy
Want to add more colour to your sensory bottle to make it darker like the galaxy? Add a bit of purple or blue food colouring or water colours. Just don’t add too much or it becomes hard to see the items in the liquid.
Ratios and Float Time
When sharing how we made our sensory bottle it is important to note that the size of the bottle significantly impacts how much you will need of each ingredient. An easy way to plan your bottle is to start with the ratio – 20% glue : 80% water. From this ratio you can adjust to get the perfect consistency. Increasing the amount of glue will make your bottle more viscous and your items float more. Just don’t go too crazy with the thickness, you still want your items to settle and move freely.
Secure the Lids
Glue those lids on! Now there are certain times with older kids, where they want to change up their bottle contents regularly and reuse them. So gluing the lid on may not make sense, but in general it is always a good idea to use some strong glue to glue the lid on so you don’t end up with any surprise messes. Super glue or Gorilla glue are great for this. If you keep your bottle for a long time, just make sure to check the glue to ensure it is still nice and strong every few months.
For my space obsessed kids this Space Sensory Bottle was a huge hit! Perfect addition to our other space activities.