Sensory bottles are awesome! Don’t you think? Especially our new love potion sensory bottle that we made as a valentines day sensory play activity. It matches lovely with our Valentine’s Scented Slime.
This love potion sensory bottle is so captivating, calming and easy, with lots going on inside. A sensory bottle focuses a child’s attention and pulls them back in. Not to mention the other benefits… Sensory bottles can be used as a calming tool for self regulation and emotional control.
A beneficial self regulation tool for kids.
Kids often require an outside tool to help them learn how to regulate their physiological and emotional responses to triggers, stress, anxiety and big feelings. Sensory bottles are a great tool to use in order to teach children to self-regulate their emotions.
They act as a mesmerizer and offer security that brings the child’s focus to the one place. When children feel their world is chaotic, when they have big BIG feelings, external triggers and stressors, and new or overwhelming situations around them that they cant yet cope with, they need help to block this out and bring themselves back to a calm state.
Calming love potion sensory bottle.
Enter the calming love potion… Well any sensory bottle really, but if you give it an awesome name its calming affects are even better. When children are infants, their loved ones are their emotional regulators, they provide love, comfort, cuddles, rocking, food and distractions.
As children develop towards 2-4 years old they need co-regulators. Someone who supports and coaches them because they cant do it themselves. So, children rely on their loved ones to show them how to calm down; to breath with them or talk them through, label and validate their feelings, rub their back, bring their focus back to reality and put their feet back on the ground. Together.
Each child learns to regulate at a different rate. The love potion sensory bottle is a great tool to help children transition from needing that frequent support and co-regulation, to being able to self-regulate their emotions by themselves by using a strategy or calming tool.
How a love potion sensory bottle helps children learn to self regulate.
- It is captivating, pretty and eye catching. Bring focus and attention to it.
- It is a physical and visual anchor that mesmerizes and helps children concentrate on something other than their stressor/trigger.
- The slow movement of the glitter and love hearts falling back from the oil, and the calming slow separation of the oil versus the water provides a visual representation of slow breathing.
- It provides an appropriate integration of proprioceptive input that will help children learn to self-regulate in future times of stress.
- It serves as a physical outlet that is more appropriate than hitting or screaming. As long as it is plastic, it can be shaken fast, squeezed, tapped and even banged around to some extent.
How to make a calming love potion in a bottle.
You will need a cool looking plastic bottle, baby oil, pink food colouring, heart shaped sequins, glitter, water and water beads. This is what we used…
I used a small bottle of baby oil and tipped the food dye into it, closed the lid and gave it a good shake. Add all ingredients into the bottle and close the lid tightly. You might even want to put a rim of hot glue on the inside of the lid before you close it. Place a label on it as a visual reminder. Done!
Elements of the love potion.
- Oil and Water separation.
- Water beads which swirl and float in only the water.
- Sequins which temporarily mix in the oil, gather oil, sink to the bottom and slowly the oil returns to the top.
- Hypnotising bubbles that can be made from rapid shaking.
- Visually appealing sparkles, and shiny hearts that unconsciously send the message of love, safety and comfort.
Using the love potion sensory bottle as a self-regulation tool.
At first, and depending on your child’s level of self-regulation, you might need to introduce the calm down love potion. You might need to explain how it works and its intended use. Initiate it’s use when you see your child needing help to calm down or get their emotions under control.
Calm down sensory bottles work best when initiated before a crisis. During the early stages when you first see your child getting worked up, shake it around and give it to them. If they don’t use it immediately as a self-regulation tool, provide a bit more support.
You can validate how they feel, allow them to verbalise how they feel or state what you are seeing in them and give them the love potion. Ask them to shake it and look at it. At first you can coach them, for instance, “breath slowly… See how the love hearts are slowing down”, or “you look angry, why don’t you shake the bottle up as hard as you can”.
It’s not a magic potion.
Keep in mind that sensory overload, being over-whelmed and stressed or an emotional break down, affects children’s bodies and works them up. It takes a while to calm down. This isn’t a magic potion, self-regulation and calming the mind and body takes time. 15-20 minutes at least.
The idea of using sensory bottles as a calming tool for self-regulation is to provide children with an effective strategy that they can initiate themselves. Self-regulation begins when the child has learnt to identify when they first start to get stressed or experience big feelings, and initiates the self-regulation strategy to effectively calm down.
Do you have any effective tools that help children initiate self regulation?
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