Sensory discovery bottles

Why not try some unusual science experiments this holiday by discovering sensory bottles. The idea is to help kids learn more about science through fun and easy experiments that they can do at home.

There are a number of experiments that you can create in a bottle and we will be exploring 5 in this blog.

1. Magnet Magic!

First of all we will be creating magnet magic! For this experiment you will need a bottle or a glass jar, pipe cleaners, paper clips,  magnetic counters, water and a magnet.


Magnet magic

What’s Magnetic and What’s Not Tray. This is a simple tray to make observations about what is magnetic with common objects around the house. Great for discussion on why or why not something is magnetic.

Magnet In Water? Fill the bottle/jar with water and add a paper clip to it. Use the magnetic  wand to pull it out of the water. You could then add lots of different objects to find out if they are still magnetic in water.

The science bit:

Materials respond differently to the force of a magnetic field. There are three main classifications of magnetic materials. A magnet will strongly attract ferromagnetic materials, weakly attract paramagnetic materials and weakly repel diamagnetic materials.

A magnet is any material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is responsible for the property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other ferromagnetic materials and attracts or repels other magnets. Materials that can be magnetized, which are strongly attracted to a magnet, are called ferromagnetic. Although ferromagnetic materials are the only ones attracted to a magnet strongly enough to be commonly considered magnetic, all other substances respond weakly to a magnetic field.

2.Soapy Science- Bubble Snakes

Another fun experiment to try at home is to create colourful bubble snakes. For this experiment you will need food colouring, an empty bottle, scissors, a wash cloth, bubble solution and a rubber band.


You will need…

First of all you will need to cut off the end off the bottle using the scissors- adult supervision required.

You then need to place the cloth over the end of the bottle and secure with the rubber band.

Next you need to dip the cloth and bottle in the bubble solution and shake off any excess solution.

You then need to blow outwards to create the bubbles(adult supervision is required to ensure that no bubbles are inhaled).

Try adding food colouring to the cloth to create colourful bubbles.

Bubble snake!

Bubble snake!


The science bit:

Bubbles form because of the surface tension of water. Hydrogen atoms in one water molecule are attracted to oxygen atoms in other water molecules. They like each other so much, they cling together. So why are bubbles round? The physicists will tell you that bubbles enclose the maximum volume of air in the minimum amount of bubble solution, so that’s why they are always round.

When you blow air through your Bubble Snake maker, you are creating hundreds of tiny bubbles. As the air wiggles through the fabric, bubbles are continuously being made. The bubbles attach to each other when they come out of the fabric. It’s all thanks to the same hydrogen bonds that make bubbles possible!

3. Ocean waves sensory bottles

This is a very simple and quick experiment to demonstrate waves! For this experiment you will need an empty bottle, small shells, pebbles, sand, baby oil or vegetable oil, blue food colouring and water.



Ocean waves!

First of all you need to pour the bottle of oil (approx 200ml) into the plastic bottle.

Then add a variety of small shells, pebbles and sand to the oil.

Add a small amount of food colouring to the water to create a light blue colour. This then needs to be added to the oil mix and watch what happens when the liquids meet each other.


You could try to slowly tip the bottle from side to side to see what happens? Do the two liquids mix together?

The science bit:

The first reason that water and oil don’t mix is because their molecules are packed differently. The molecules of water are packed very densely. In one glass of water, there are more molecules than the number of known stars in the universe!

This means if we take equal parts of water and oil, there will be more molecules of water than oil. This also means that it will always sink underneath the oil.

ocean waves sensory bottle

ocean waves sensory bottle

4. Mini Tornado in a bottle

For this experiment you will need a clear plastic bottle with a lid, water, glitter and washing up liquid.

First of all you will need to fill the plastic bottle with water until it reaches around three quarters full.


Tornado in a bottle

Tornado in a bottle

Then add a few drops of washing up liquid and sprinkle in a few pinches of glitter (this will make your tornado easier to see).

Make sure the lid is on nice and tight to prevent any spillages.

The fun part: Turn the bottle upside down and hold it by the neck. Quickly spin the bottle in a circular motion for a few seconds, stop and look inside to see if you can see a mini tornado forming in the water. You might need to try it a few times before you get it working properly.

The science bit:

Spinning the bottle in a circular motion creates a water vortex that looks like a mini tornado. The water is rapidly spinning around the center of the vortex due to centripetal force (an inward force directing an object or fluid such as water towards the center of its circular path). Vortexes found in nature include tornadoes, hurricanes and waterspouts (a tornado that forms over water).


glittery fun!

Glittery fun!


5. Homemade lava lamp

For this experiment follow the link from our previous blog below.

Try our homemade lava lamp experiment

Try our homemade lava lamp experiment