Cheap Baby Sensory Bottle Toy

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Skip the complicated and expensive baby toys and find joy and simplicity in creating an engaging sensory bottle toy for your baby without breaking the bank. Learn how to craft this delightful, educational toy using easy-to-find, affordable materials in just a few simple steps.

Sensory Bottle Toy

Every mama knows that the best toys are the ones that aren’t toys. It’s very easy to figure this out when your baby opens their Christmas presents, and they could care less about what’s inside…they just want the ribbon.

I saw some cool baby sensory bottles on Pinterest and thought, “I can do that!” But when I started looking at the instructions and the ingredients, I realized I needed a shopping list to make the bottles I had seen.

Sensory Toy

Determined to make it work and create my own frugal baby sensory toy. I pulled an old water bottle out of the pantry that I had picked up at a surplus store for $0.50, opened it up, poured in the only crafty thing I had that would fit, pony beads, and superglued the lid back on. (I also removed all the stickers from the outside of the bottle)

I let it dry overnight and then gave it to my little guy to play with in the morning. He didn’t care that it wasn’t full of glitter, fancy sequins, or special shiny beads. It was pretty; it moved when he rolled it on the floor, and it kept him occupied! All for just over $0.50!

Sensory Toy

You can make these too. Just grab some kind of hard plastic water bottle (like a pop bottle or something similarly sized), add in whatever hard plastic crafty things you have on hand, fill it with water, super glue the lid on, and it’s ready to go!

Someday, I might have a good time at the Dollar Store and pick up a few other crafty things that I could pour into another bottle, but for now, this version works just fine!

Another fun cheap toddler project is making busy bags, and check out all the other frugal crafts we have posted!

More Frugal Kids Things

What “not a toy” things have you made into fun toys for your little one?

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This article with the Cheap Baby Sensory Toy Idea was originally published on Little House Living in February 2013. It has been updated as of February 2024.

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  1. So cute! My son loves the cheapest toys best. Give him a piece of paper and he’s happy for at least 20 minutes 🙂

  2. Take an empty parmesan cheese container, clean well and remove labels. Cut straws to fit in the container.

    My little one thinks this is the coolest game ever–she dumps the straws out through the big opening and then puts them back in one by one through the little holes 🙂 It is greaet for fine motor skills!

  3. One my kids loved was a 20oz water bottle emptied and dried, filled 3/4 the way with rice and glued shut. They loved to shake them!

  4. When my daughter (now 16) was a baby we put a penny in an empty pop bottle, closed the cap very tightly, and let her shake away! She loved it! Probably one of her favorite toys! Quite honestly, I didn’t even think about gluing the cap shut. By the time she would have been strong enough to open the cap she had outgrown the toy lol!

    I am with you – never buy toys and clothes new! One Christmas we were so broke I took my daughter to the secondhand store and bought several toys for her (and hid them from her in the stroller!) – easy to do since she was one year old and easy to fool back then lol. She loved the toys and we didn’t spend much on them!

  5. How to make Rheoscopic “current showing” fluid.

    Rheoscopic fluid contains small plate like particles (materials that fracture along the basal plane work best) that float along the fluid lines of the liquid as it is disturbed. It is a neat demonstration of Fluid Mechanics for the youngsters.

    Mica (Golden Mica works well)
    Food coloring

    Mica can be gained at the dollar store in many types of eye shadow. Read the ingredients to see if the eye shadow has mica in it.

    Fill the bottle close to full with water and foodcoloring until the desired color is achieved. Add roughly 1/8 – 1 tablespoon of mica containing eyeshadow ( a little goes a long way). Add a drop or two of soap to break the surface tension of the water (sugar also works). Seal the lid with hot glue…ect. Enjoy!

  6. My daughter loved the Quaker Oats man … rolled the round box around for hours. Now that I read this, I realize I could have put something inside that would make noise and glued the lid shut.

  7. Hi Merissa – If you wanted to make the water buoyant, just add some liquid glycerin into it. I have used this when repairing leaking snow globes.

  8. Hi Merissa:
    I made a lot of toys for our 4 boys. When we were doing a reno we had lots of blocks of wood left over from the studding. I took the leftovers, sanded them down smooth and voila! A building block set for free. My Dad made my boys a “busy box” from a piece of wood and attached all kinds of objects i.e old light switch, sliding lock etc. I remembered that he made one for my brothers too when they were babies. Kept the boys busy for hours. When we replaced our old rotary dial phone we gave the old one to the kids to play with. I just removed the wall wiring. The rest of the phone was safe and more fun that the expensive Fisher Price version. When my kids were toddlers and I was running a dayhome, I had one end cupboard that was for the kids. I filled it with old Tupperware, a couple of old pots, wooden spoons, old measuring cups. I made a “stove top” out of a heavy cardboard box and drew the burners on top for pretend cooking play. All these things and more kept the kids busy for hours.