Sensory Calm Down Bottles- the why and how to…

sensory bottle featured imageYoung children often have difficulties with self-regulation in response to an emotional or sensory-based stressor. We often use strategies in the classroom such as talking to an adult, holding a weighted animal, doing wall push-ups, gently squeezing hands and so on. (see Cozy Corner Strategies – visuals that help children choose how you feel and a strategy to help).

Calm down sensory bottles can be added to the Cozy Corner or Safe Spot in the fidget box. They help children be able to focus on one thing to help calm the body. Shaking the bottles, which won’t harm the bottle, is also a great way to get some proprioceptive input.

Bottles can be made in a variety of different ways to accommodate for different needs:

Be Kind bottle on far left of picture:

This bottle needs to be shaken. Shaking the bottles, which won’t harm the bottle, is also a great way to get some proprioceptive input.


  • 2/3rds of the bottle with water
  • Optional: add some blue food coloring and/or fine blue glitter
  • 1/3rd of the bottle with baby oil or vegetable oil


I Am in Control bottle in the middle:

This bottle makes the sound of rain. Sounds in the bottle assists students who are auditory learners and will still their bodies to hear soft sounds more than focusing visually.



1/4th cup of beans, rice or beads (beans and small beads together make very cool sounds)

(add more sticks until it makes a sound that is pleasing to you as you move the bottle upside down and back upright)


Focus bottle on the far right:

Adding items that sink slowly or float to the top and items that sink fast provide children with an immediate satisfaction of action but then also slows their breathing and nervous center as they visually anchor their attention to the items that are moving slowly.

The bottle in the picture contains Perler beads that slowly float to the top and small pony beads which quickly sink to the bottom. It is quite cool to watch when they are both in the middle!


Clear dish soap (I found that Dawn is the thickest and therefore, works great but it is more expensive than other brands. Other brands work just as well, especially if you don’t make one with Dawn first to have a comparison!)

A couple of tablespoons of Perler beads (the beads that you place on forms and then iron to melt them together)

A couple of tablespoons of pony beads or other small beads. (My beads were very small, so I added double the small beads as the Perler beads).


You can use any container of your choice. My favorite is Voss Water bottles. They are a perfect size and the label comes off so easily and cleanly. The middle bottle is a Protein 20 Drink bottle with rain scenes wrapped around it. I have also used Bai Coconut Water bottles- the wrapper comes off VERY easily- just pull up and I cut a circle to glue to the top bottle cap.

I used a Cricut to cut the letters but you can also print words on clear shipping labels, cut them out and attach to the bottle. (Words and Rain scene to be printed on 6 per page clear shipping labels)

Remember to glue the lids on!!

rain sensory bottle

rain pictures on 6 per sheet clear shipping labels for calm down sensory bottles



Author: DHonegger

Debra S. Honegger has worked in multiple areas of education- both general education and special education- as teacher, consultant, administrator and instructional coach- with ages from birth through adult. However, no matter where she is or what her title, she holds a firm belief in meeting the needs of each individual child while coming together as a community of learners.

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