Emotion Sensory Bottles

Bottles with colorful water and paper faces taped to them

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to identify various emotions, use sensory tools to cope with emotions.

Materials Needed:

  • Variety of clean and clear plastic bottles with lids
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil or baby oil
  • Expression stickers or paper and crayons
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun or strong glue
  • Optional: Glitter and water beads or marbles

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction and independent play


  1. Gather materials.
  2. Remove the labels from the bottles and fill each ¾ full with water.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or baby oil to each water bottle. You can experiment with adding more or less to see how oil affects the water.
  4. Add food coloring to create one bottle each of red, blue, yellow, purple, and green. You will need to mix colors – show your child that mixing red and blue creates purple, and yellow with blue creates green.
  5. (Optional) Add glitter or beads if desired to each bottle. For example: add red or orange glitter to the red bottle.
    Use stickers or create designs on paper to make faces on each of the bottles. Red bottle = angry face, blue bottle = sad face, yellow bottle = happy/joyful face, purple = fearful face, green = disgusted face.
  6. Seal the bottles with hot glue (adult use only) or strong glue.
  7. Have your child identify their emotions by holding and shaking the color that coordinates with how they are feeling.
Bright Horizons
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Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Bottles with colorful water and paper faces taped to them