This sensory bottle is one of our absolute favorites! We have an odd fondness for an ancient sea creature called a hagfish, and wanted to capture it’s grotesque slime in the form of a DIY slime bottle for kids.
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We’re pretty excited, to be quite honest.
Bringing ocean science to life is surely our passion — and there’s nothing that makes us happier than to play up the ewww-gross factor while sneaking in some learning. So FUN!
First, let’s meet the hagfish and it’s awesome slime with a 2 minute video from Nova’s Gross Science:
How’s that for an incredible animal? Did you see that slime!? And how cool that there are silk-like fibers within the slime that could one day be used to make fabrics. Totally amazing.
We love hagfish so much that we put them in our Halloween ocean adventure children’s book Shalloween!
Yep, it’s an undersea Halloween tale of cute sea creatures with Halloween names (vampire squid, ghost crabs, and yes, hagfish to name a few).
We think you’ll love how the main character, Ray (a flashlight fish), shines his light on what he thought were spooky monsters!
Want to learn more about hagfish? Here’s Smithsonian’s 14 Fun Facts About Hagfish
How to make the DIY sensory bottle
FYI, each part doesn’t take long, but it’s split into two parts/days to allow the paint to dry. (The paint is optional, but definitely gives it more of that slime look, and of course makes it glow-in-the-dark.)
- sensory bottle (we used this one from Michaels)
- green dish soap
- paper plate or other work surface to paint on like parchment paper (probably best)
- skewer, dowel, or even a ruler
- cotton balls (we used 4)
- paint brush
- glow-in-the-dark craft paint (optional)
- neon green food coloring (optional)
Why no glitter? We prefer not using it, as it easily gets into the environment — especially when washed down the drain or used outside — and can be mistaken for food by animals and causes lots of trouble for them and the food web.
1. Take each cotton ball (we used 4) and use your fingers to pull it apart so that it looks somewhat like this.
2. Spread the unraveled cotton strands on parchment paper (probably best) or paper plate to paint, and paint them with the glow-in-the-dark paint. The paint brush will want to stick to the cotton balls a bit!
You don’t have to paint them completely with paint, in fact, leave a bit un-painted for a more realistic effect.
- TIP: We did just some uneven streaks here and there, and while it looks really cool (especially under the black light), there wasn’t much glow when just in the dark.
When you’re finished painting, gently lift up the cotton and set back down to prevent them from sticking as much.
That’s all for Part/Day 1! Let the cotton strands dry before moving on to Part 2.
1. Use the skewer to push the cotton strands into the empty sensory bottle. It really doesn’t matter how it looks now since the liquid soap will soak into them.
2. Add the green dish soap partway, a drop or two of neon green food coloring, and more green dish soap to almost fill the bottle.
3. Use the skewer to lift up the cotton balls so that they are spread throughout the bottle vertically. You can play around here to get them to have that floaty slime look:
4. Put the top snugly on the bottle, gluing it or taping it if you want to be sure that it won’t be opened or spilled.
It looks fantastic under a black light!
Want to make it even more spooky for Halloween? Turn it into an apothecary jar with our free printable label!
We hope you have as much fun making this as we did and have a new appreciation for the amazing hagfish!
For even more ocean-themed sensory bottles, check out:
- Fish Eggs Sensory Bottle
- Fish Scales Sensory Bottle
- Jellyfish Tentacles Sensory Bottle
- Squid Eyes Sensory Bottle
- Octopus Arms Sensory Bottle
- Mermaid Hair Sensory Bottle
Disclaimer: All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.