This cool eyeball sensory discovery bottle craft is easy to make and lots of fun! (And easy to turn into a DIY apothecary jar for Halloween too.)
Sensory bottles are so much fun for kids to explore a subject in an interactive and hands-on way. We love using them to teach about the ocean and the a-ha moments that we see in kids of all ages with the help of these bottles.
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Before we get to the how-to activity, let’s take a minute to soak in some science. (Yes, our 10+ marine biology teaching background makes us have a nagging itch to share ocean awesomeness to all who will listen…in this case read, lol!)
Squid are amazing creatures, relatives of the octopus and come in sizes as big as a school bus (making the eyeball the size of a dinner plate!).
The giant squid has the largest eye in the animal kingdom! Great for seeing in the dark depths where they hunt for food.
They have special “freckles” (aka chromatophores) on their skin that allow them to change color, and even communicate with each other.
Check out this animated video for a great little lesson on squid:
One of the cool things about squid is that they tend to swim together – a really neat thing to see while diving or snorkeling!
We were so inspired by the “togetherness” of squid that we included them in one of our ocean children’s books, Mira, the Misfit Sea Dragon.
And a giant squid appeared in our first book, Zale’s Tales: The Quest for the Magic Pearl. It was one of the ocean animals that the young boy, Zale, used his magic pearl to transform into.
We’re super super passionate about sharing the ocean’s wonders, and we hope you’ll check out all of our children’s books on our Amazon author page here. 🙂
Now for the fun sensory bottle activity:
- sensory bottle (we used this one from Michaels)
- cotton balls (we used about 30, but it will depend on how large your bottle is and how large you make the eyes)
- parchment paper
- paper plate
- pearlizing medium (found with the craft paint)
- glow-in-the-dark paint (the glow is a bit lacking in the dark, but with a black light, it looks awesome!)
- black acrylic craft paint
- small foam pouncer
- hair gel
- paper towel for wiping hands and messes
Why no glitter? We prefer not to use glitter because it easily gets into the environment — especially when washed down the drain or used outside. Animals mistake it for food, causing all sorts of trouble for them and the food web. (Plus, the metallic twine gives plenty of sparkle!)
1. Dispense pearlizing medium and glow-in-the-dark paint onto the paper plate, and mix with a skewer.
2. Roll the cotton ball in the paint, covering it all and using your fingers to mold it into a smaller ball shape. (Kinda messy!)
3. Use the foam pouncer to put the pupil on the eyeball, and let dry (at least a few hours, we let it sit overnight)
Once dry, turn the cotton balls over to let them dry completely on the underside for a few minutes or until dry.
4. A few at a time, fill the sensory bottle with the eyeballs by using the skewer to place them how you want them. Fill with hair gel before adding more eyes:
You can tap the jar on the counter to help the hair gel sink down.
5. Put the cap on. You may want to glue/tape it on to prevent it from being opened or spilled.
It looks so cool under the black light!
Want to make this extra spooky for Halloween? Check out our free printable Apothecary labels!
For even more ocean-themed sensory bottles, check out:
- Fish Eggs Sensory Bottle
- Fish Scales Sensory Bottle
- Jellyfish Tentacles Sensory Bottle
- Hagfish Slime 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.