Note: For a quieter sound, fill the tubes up so there is little space at the top for the parts to move around. If you do this, just keep in mind that they will weigh more and you child might not be able to manipulate them as easily.
Here's what to fill them with to develop the olfactory sense:
Note: to develop the olfactory sense, use vented lids (like in this set) or poke holes in your lid.
Aromatic herbs and spices, coffee beans, wood chips, flowers, or fruit/vegetable peels
Add some essential oils to a paper towel, cotton balls or scraps of fabric and put them in the bottle
‘Smelling Bottles’ like these is an activity found in many Montessori classrooms and something we do occasionally in our at-home program.
5 Bonus Sensory Bottle Activities & Experiments
Fill it mostly with rice, sand, or dried legumes and then add a variety of small objects. Give it a shake so that the objects disperse.
What you'll get is a "look and find" bottle where some objects will be visible while others will need to be found by tipping and shaking the tube. Your child can explore this independently and discover all the different objects or you can play a game where you ask them to find something specific, either by name or description - “Find the marble” or “Find something red”
Develop gross motor skills by the using the bottle during tummy time. You can roll it on the floor for your infant to crawl after it.
Use 4 different bottles to set up a science experiment exploring weight. Leave 1 tube empty, add feathers or pom poms to a second tube, add water to a third tube, and finally,, add rocks or marbles to a fourth tube. Pick them up one or two at a time, talking about which weighs more and why.
Create a calming bottle. Add water, food colouring, glitter and some baby oil and watch the glitter dance and slowly settle to the bottom.
Click the video below to see the calming bottle in action:
Develop the other senses, the sense of touch or taste, by allowing your child to take the items out of the bottles. The food-safe items, like herbs, can be tasted and explored.
The sensory bin-type items (sand, coloured rice, plastic figures, etc) can be dumped into a sensory pin or large tupperware for exploration with the hands.