Last week I added a new element to our circle time routine in my two- and three-year-olds classes…a simple weather check. I wanted some sort of hands-on manipulative to keep the children engaged and make the concept of weather more tangible, so I decided to try my hand at making some simple weather sensory bottles. These sensory bottles only took a few minutes to make using bits and bobs from my craft stash, and the children really respond to them.
To make these bottles, I used fillable craft bottles I found at Hobby Lobby, but you could use any size bottle you wish. Raid your recycling bin! For filler, I used craft items such as pom poms, beads, and glitter (more details below) and water. I substituted glycerin for part of the water in a few of the bottles to slow the flow of the floating items, but it didn’t make a huge difference…water would be just fine.
Here are all of the different bottles I made- they coordinate with the weather choices on our little chart. I originally had labels with the weather words stuck on them for print awareness, but the children promptly peeled them off, so I left them that way 😉
For cloudy I used three jumbo white pom poms and some tap water.
Our rainy bottle has small blue glass beads for raindrops, three brownish/gray pom poms (I swear they looked gray at 1:00 am the night I made these) for clouds, and the glycerin/water mixture.
The sunny day bottle is simply light blue water (tinted with food coloring) to represent the sky and a large yellow pom pom “sun.”
Last, a glycerin/water bottle filled with leaf-shaped sequins to represent “windy”- we’ve been talking about the winds blowing down leaves and other treasures to gather these past few weeks, so this bottle has a fall theme. I may replace it with a bottle containing a tiny kite come sprig, but it’s perfect for this time of year! Oh, and don’t forget to add some sort of glue to the inside of your caps before screwing them on- I used hot glue for these but have also used Gorilla Glue in the past.
And there you have it. We keep the bottles in a basket in our circle time area where we can hold them up to the window to compare with the weather outside. Then we choose the corresponding symbol and put it on our chart. Sensory bottles are a great way to make concepts tangible for this age group!