If you are reading this blog, chances are you have a toddler in your house or you spend a decent amount of time with one. And, if you spend enough time around a toddler, you will notice that despite their irresistible chubby cheeks and slobbery kisses, they can be downright hard to manage sometimes! Toddlers have a great sense of adventure and a desire to be autonomous. Yet, they lack the ability to self regulate. This constant conflict of “want to” vs. “can do” can cause a routine of frustration and meltdown behavior.
So, what do you do? Let me introduce you to the sensory bottle! Not only can these be used to calm down anxious toddlers, but they can also be used as timers, boredom busters, or incentives! Sensory bottles are just regular plastic bottles that have had their wrappers removed and have been filled with all kinds of magical things (in a toddler’s point of view). Fillings can include colored water, cooking oils, glitter, water beads, gel, sugar or salt, pom poms, sand, or small plastic objects of the same theme (bugs, stars, etc.) to name a few!
Using a Sensory Bottle to Promote Calm
When you see that your toddler is teetering towards a tantrum, grab a sensory bottle and try to relocate to a quiet space. Show them the bottle. Give it a little shake. Let them hold onto it and watch as the glittery, oily water swooshes about and the small toys inside swim back and forth and appear out of nowhere! Simple things like this can help to refocus and relieve the frustration going on inside of your toddler.
Using a Sensory Bottle as a Timer
Toddlers are known to have very short attention spans. It can be hard to get toddlers to stay on the same task for any amount of time. And, since they have no real concept of time, saying, “I’ll be back in a minute,” or “Play with these toys for a few minutes” does not translate to them as a concrete amount of time. But, if you were to shake up the sensory bottle and say, “I want you to sit right here until the water stops moving,” they can understand that.
Using a Sensory Bottle as a Boredom Buster
To really get your child interested in sensory bottles, it takes a little thought on your part. Think about the things your child has shown interest in. Is there any way to incorporate that into a bottle? If your child loves animals, you can make one with sand and little plastic animals inside. Come up with a few different themes, so when they are bored, you can pull one out to keep them busy for a while. This can be a lifesaver on a long road trip!
To make your own sensory bottle, you can just experiment with different bottles you have on hand and different ingredients to see how they work together. Remember to use child-safe bottles and to secure the lids to stay closed. If you want to skip the trial and error phase, there are many places to get great ideas on the internet!
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Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Bella Terra located in Richmond, Texas? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.