Sensory Play is an important part of early childhood development. Not only does it help to develop a solid foundation of scientific knowledge, it’s also a great way to get your little learners involved in exploring the world around them.

Today I’m sharing some of my favourite nature sensory bottles! You can make many of these at home with your little learners using items from your yard or as you take your afternoon family walk!

In order to make these bottles, you will need to collect some clear plastic bottles. I love the plastic VOSS bottles which you can occasionally find at Woolworths, but any clear bottle is great. You can also buy these sensory bottles from The Creative Toy Shop.

Babies especially love to explore anything and everything with their mouths, but this can be stressful and dangerous when the items are quite small. Placing these tiny items into a bottle means that babies can safely explore natural loose parts too!

The next part is the fun part! Head outside with a basket in hand and go on a nature walk with your Little Learner. You could simply explore your own backyard but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could also go to your local park, beach or forest. Encourage your little learner to find items to place inside the bottles. You might collect different shaped and coloured leaves, small pebbles, shells, sand, dirt, sticks, feathers, flowers – anything that your little learner finds exciting!

When you get home, you can add the items to your bottles. Depending on the age of your little learners, they can help with this process too. Even little ones around 1 year of age will love to help you put the nature treasures into the bottles.

You might like to make different themed nature sensory bottles depending on how many items you find. Having a bottle filled with different sized pebbles and stones will make a delightful sound when your little learner shakes it! One of our favourite bottles is our ocean bottle. Inside there are different shells, driftwood and coral from our holidays to the beach! It’s a wonderful way to keep little treasures found on special occasions.

If you collected some flowers, you can add water to your bottle as well. That will keep the flowers looking fresh for longer. I’ve found it usually keeps our flowers nice for a few days at least. Add some greenery for the most beautiful floral sensory bottle!

My toddler’s Great Grandparents have a lot of wildlife at their house, so we have quite the collection of feathers. We put them inside a bottle so that our little learners can safely explore them.

As you can see, these bottles are absolutely beautiful and are a fantastic way for your little learners to explore nature. They also provide an excellent opportunity to develop oral language skills as you talk about the different nature treasures you find and how they look, feel and smell.

If you’d like more simple sensory play ideas for your little learners, be sure to pre-order a copy of my brand new book, Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers. It’s FULL of simple sensory play activities which are sure to help you make some beautiful memories together while you play!

About the author

Casey is an early years teacher turned homeschooling mum of three who passionate about helping other parents create a play-filled home. She loves adventure days outside in nature and loves a good sensory tub. You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.

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