Spring is here, and it’s a great time to do some fun themed activities. Recently, my toddler and I put together a fun spring bunny sensory bottle.
It was incredibly easy to put together, and kept Elijah occupied for a surprisingly long time. That just goes to show you that activities don’t have to be super complicated to be fun!
This simple sensory activity only requires three ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand. It’s also super adaptable—you can easily change it up to fit any season, holiday, or theme.
And I love that this activity works well for both babies and toddlers!
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Easy Spring Bunny Sensory Bottle
This spring bunny sensory bottle is a spin off of the Easter sensory bin we made together last year. That sensory bin was also incredibly easy to put together, and is still a huge hit with Elijah anytime we pull it out.
So I figured, why not try it out as a sensory bottle?
While I think he still prefers sensory bins over bottles, Elijah still really enjoyed this sensory bottle. I think most toddlers prefer bins, because their able to touch everything and really explore it well.
But sometimes bottles are a better option, especially if you’re looking for a mess free activity.
Why sensory bottles?
If kids often prefer bins over bottles, you might be wondering why a sensory bottle is even worth doing. While it may not be the absolute favorite option, I think sensory bottles are a great in several instances.
Alright, let’s talk about the obvious reason to choose sensory bottles over bins. Bottles typically are less messy than bins.
While you can keep sensory bins relatively cleaned up, there will probably be a small bit of spillage. It’s just kind of inevitable. And depending on what rules you set in place (or not) for it’s usage, it may or may not be messy.
Sensory bottles, on the other hand, are completely contained inside the bottle. The only potential mess you have to worry about is putting it together. And if you’re careful about it, most of that potential can be eliminated.
So on the days when you need a good mess free activity, sensory bottles are the way to go.
Different sensory experiences
Besides evading a mess, sensory bottles are a good way to explore very different sensory experiences.
Sensory bins often focus on hands on learning, and are heavy on using the touch, smell, taste, and hear senses. But sometimes it’s good to focus on sight.
Besides that, sensory bottles allow little ones to explore liquids or messy mediums like sand without making a huge mess. It’s a great way to kids to see how different liquids and mediums move and allow objects to move in them.
So even if sensory bins are your child’s favorite activity, sensory bottles are still worth making. They simply provide a different sensory experience that you probably won’t be able to recreate in a bin.
At what age is this sensory activity ideal?
Now, let’s talk age appropriateness. It’s true that not every sensory activity is appropriate for every age.
If an activity includes ingredients that could be dangerous if eaten, you obviously don’t want to do it until your child is old enough to know that he can’t put it in his mouth. Other activities may be fun for your baby, but quickly leave your toddler bored.
But good news! This spring bunny sensory bin is a great activity for both babies and toddlers.
Sensory bottles are great for babies! Since they are only touching the bottle directly, you don’t have to worry about them eating anything they shouldn’t be.
If you plan to do this with a baby, I would probably avoid using a glass sensory bottle. Glass bottles will be a lot heavier and more likely to hurt your little one if they drop it on themselves.
You also want to make sure to seal your bottle well. While it’s unlikely that a baby will be able to unscrew the bottle, you just never know. Make sure to screw the lid tightly before letting them have it. You might also consider sealing the bottle for extra security.
Honestly, sensory bottles can be a lot of fun with toddlers. While you can keep things simple with babies, you have the opportunity to do some serious experimenting with toddlers. In the best ways!
Whether you’re trying out different liquids/mediums, or experimenting with colors or densities, you’re both in for a whole lot of exploring. And without worrying about a mess!
Make Your Own Spring Bunny Sensory Bottle
Ready to try out this spring bunny sensory bottle yourself? I’m going to walk you through the simple process step by step so you and your child can make your own.
What you’ll need
To get started, you’ll need just three simple ingredients.
First you’ll need a bottle to put everything in. I personally like to use these plastic sensory bottles. I’ve found they work well and are easy to clean out afterwards.
They also have a fairly wide mouth, although you may have difficulty getting large items inside. But for our purposes, they’ve worked perfectly so far.
Glass bottles are also an option, although I’d be careful with these. I wouldn’t recommend giving a glass sensory bottle to a baby or toddler with poor motor control. You don’t want them to drop it on their little toes or accidentally break it!
If you do use a glass bottle, be sure to only use one with thick glass that won’t break easily. You can also use other bottles such as clear soda or water bottles, or similar containers. As long as the mouth is wide enough, it’s clear, and has a screw on lid (or other secure lid) it should work okay.
Personally, I think it was 100% worth it to get a set of sensory bottles. But do whatever works best for you!
For this activity, you’ll need colored rice to act as the filler of your sensory bottle.
Ideally you want green rice to go with the theme, but it’s not the end of the world if your toddler wants a different color. Elijah picked several different colors and we switched them out over the course of a few days. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the theme!
Colored rice is easy to make yourself. Depending on where you live and the altitude, the time it takes to make colored rice can vary. Where I live in Texas, it takes around 30-40 minutes to make a batch of colored rice from start to finish.
Don’t worry, I’m going to give you a quick rundown below on how to make it yourself. And if you feel like you need more detailed instructions, I have a whole post on how to make colored rice.
Finally, you’ll need some bunnies to add to your bottle. I used these ceramic cake topper bunnies, which work great for this kind of activity.
I was a little hesitant to use ceramic bunnies at first, but they hold up surprisingly well. In all the times we’ve used them for sensory activities, none of them have broken.
And since they’re inside a bottle, I think they’re safe to use even if your little one still likes to put things in his/her mouth. Just be sure to put them inside yourself if that’s a concern.
You can also use plastic bunny figurines, or something similar. Just be sure that they are small enough to fit inside the mouth of your bottle.
How to make colored rice
Colored rice is one of the easiest fillers for sensory bins and bottles. And it’s super easy to make! Here’s a quick rundown of how to make your own for this spring sensory bottle activity.
Step 1: Put the rice, vinegar, and food coloring into a ziploc bag
I’ll be honest, I don’t usually measure the vinegar because it’s not much and you really don’t need it to be exact for it to work. But if you feel like you need a measurement, start with one teaspoon. If you find you’re having a hard time getting the color to mix, add a tiny bit more.
Next, add a few drops of food coloring. How many drops you add will determine how light or dark the color will be. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way! I usually do three or four drops of food coloring. And the colors usually end up being pretty bright—I’d say in the middle of being light and dark, if that makes sense.
Once all your ingredients are added, zip the bag. Make sure the seal is tight so nothing leaks out!
Step 2: Knead until the rice is fully and evenly colored
Next, knead the rice around in the bag with your fingers. This will mix the vinegar and food coloring with the rice. Continue doing this until all the rice is evenly colored.
This process may take a few minutes, so be patient. If you find you’re having a really hard time getting all the rice coated, try adding just a little bit of extra vinegar.
Step 3: Spread rice onto a cookie sheet and allow to dry
Once your rice is fully and evenly colored, empty the bag onto a cookie sheet. Use a fork or spoon to spread the rice out across the sheet. The thinner you spread it, the quicker it will dry.
Then leave the sheet on the counter to dry at room temperature. How long it takes to dry will depend on how much rice you have, how much vinegar you used, and your climate. For me, it usually takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes to dry.
After the rice is fully dry, it is ready to use! You might find that your rice sticks together a bit—that’s okay. Spoon it into a clean ziploc bag, seal, and quickly knead to separate the pieces of rice.
How to put your spring sensory bottle together
Now that you have your colored rice made and your sensory materials together, it’s time to put your spring bunny sensory bottle together.
Step 1: Add colored rice and bunnies to the bottle
Making this sensory bottle is as simple as adding the colored rice and the bunnies to the bottle!
I found that it seemed to work better if we put a bit of rice in, and added a bunny or two. Then poured in more rice, added another bunny, and so forth until the bottle was filled.
This helped separate the bunnies a bit at the start so that they didn’t end up clumped together. It also helped avoid them getting stuck at the top, which was an issue we had our first try.
To get the rice in easily into the bottle with no mess, use a funnel. Be sure to leave a little room at the top. This will allow the rice to flow freely inside.
Step 2: Close bottle and seal for extended use
Once the bottle is filled with rice and bunnies, you can screw the lid on tightly. Your spring bunny sensory bottle is ready to go!
For extended use, you may want to seal the bottle. This will both prevent your child from opening it, and help preserve the rice for longer. To seal the bottle, you can tape the lid or use superglue.
Personally, I prefer to not seal our bottles. We usually use them for a few days, and then deconstruct them. Any reusable items we save for future use.
How to make the most of the spring bunny sensory bottle
Sensory bottles are great for so many reasons, and there are so many ways to make use of them. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out your bottles.
Involve your child in the process
While you can make the bottle yourself and then give it to your child, it usually is most beneficial when your child can help you put it together. Of course, this isn’t always possible.
For example, a baby will probably not be able to help you make the bottle. A toddler, on the other hand, will likely love to be a part of the process. I usually to have Elijah help as much as possible when we make sensory bins and bottles. He loves the process just as much as the end product!
For the spring bunny sensory bottle, I had Elijah hold the funnel with one hand and the sensory bottle with the other. Then I poured in the rice. Every time we stopped to put another bunny in, he did the honors of dropping one in.
Your toddler will probably also be able to help with making the colored rice to go into it!
Talk about what they are seeing
As your child uses the sensory bottle, talk with them about what they are seeing in the bottle. Ask questions like:
- What color is the rice?
- What color are the bunnies?
- How does it sound when they shake it?
- What can they do to move the rice around in the bottle to find the bunnies?
- How many bunnies can they find?
Allow free play
Of course, you don’t always have to manage your child’s sensory time. Actually, some of the best discoveries are made when kids are allowed to explore on their own!
Allow your child to use the sensory bottle however they would like. Let them lead in this activity. Do they want to shake it? Or perhaps they’d rather turn it to find the bunnies hiding inside?
Honestly, sensory activities are one of the best ways to occupy your child and give yourself a few minutes to yourself. Don’t be afraid to take that opportunity!
Enjoy your spring bunny sensory bottle together!
I hope you’ve found this activity to be enjoyable for you and your little one! While it’s simple and easy, we had fun putting it together. And my toddler enjoyed shaking it around to find the bunnies inside.
This is a great activity to do when you need to keep your baby or toddler occupied for a few minutes. Or when you just want a quick and mess free activity to do!
Have you done a sensory bottle before? Comment below and let me know your favorite sensory activities to do!