Recently I made these Scented Sensory Bottles for a children’s bushfire support group that I facilitated. The Scented Sensory bottles were in the theme of the seasons. If only we had smellovision… These smelt great!! They were used in a group discussion where the children brainstormed different seasons. The aim was to discuss changes that were associated with the seasons. These props were a great way to explore the concept of change and how change is normal, in our environment, in us and in our communities.
I thought the scented sensory bottles would be a good tool to prompt the children into a discussion and they were a hit. I scented them in difference essences so that the children could smell them and the smell might hopefully spark some discussion about the specific season. They were super easy to make and they are also a great tool for mindfulness. Adding scents to sensory bottles make them smell great… Meaning children use more senses to be mindful.
How to make Scented Sensory Bottles in the Seasons
First you need 4 fabulous looking plastic bottles. I love to use ones like these (click here).
You will need your scents.
- I used Watermelon scented oil for Summer,
- Lavender from my DoTerra Family oil set for spring flowers,
- and Arborvitae for a woody Autumn scent.
- & I didn’t have anything for winter, so it was a liquid sensory bottle.
You will need your scented sensory bottle contents.
- Summer (in Australia) means beach to us communities that leave along the coastline. So I had sand that I dyed blue, ocean theme sequins including dori and nemo and a crab toy, a little cocktail umbrella and I attempted to make a sun out of a pipe cleaner.
- I used coloured rice, material flowers, a little bell and some plastic insects for Spring to represent flowers, the chime of birds and new life.
- Autumn was leaves, feathers, gum nuts which was to remind children of earthy changes in nature where the leaves fall off trees, or change colour to browns and reds.
- Winter was cotton wool, blue glitter, snow flake sequins and blue counters.
The final step is to put it all together and drill tiny holes in the lid of your sensory bottle so the scent can be smelt through the top. If you have a drill bit small enough you could drill tiny holes around the sides, as long as the hole is small enough that the contents wont fall through. If you look at the lids you will see the tiny holes.
Using the Scented Sensory Bottles
So, my Summer sensory bottle was a little abstract one of the younger children didn’t know what season it was until she smelt it. Then her face lit up and she said “Watermelon! Summer!”. The others were pretty straight forward and we discussed the changes in the seasons.
They noted changes in the weather, the environment, the plants, the smells in the air, the sounds we hear (cicada’s in summer) the animals, and what the animals are doing (eg: babies in spring). Then it changed to what we do and how we change with the seasons in the places we go, the activities we do, the way we dress, the sports we play, the food we eat, and so on. The scented sensory bottles were successful at complimenting the discussion and giving the children a visual and tactile prompt to explore with their senses.
Sensory bottles and mindfulness jars
Sensory bottles are often called mindfulness jars, and these scented sensory bottles lend themselves to mindfulness quite well. Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment and is a really effective coping tool when considering stress, anxiety or sadness. It is a way of intentionally bringing yourself and your thoughts back to the present moment and focusing on your body, your breath and your senses.
Read more about the benefits of mindfulness jars here.You might be interested in: Best Books to Develop Emotional Intelligence
These can be used as mindfulness jars with children by teaching them to use them as a coping tool, a calm down strategy or just as a mindful practice toy. You can prompt children to re-center their focus on to the bottle by getting them to tilt them back and forwards or shake them and guide them to focus on certain senses while playing with it. For example, focus on your breath – in and out – in and out, what can you smell? notice that smell as it comes in through your nose and out through your mouth. Or what can you see, pick on object now watch that as you tip the bottle back and forth, notice your hand holding the bottle as you tip it slowly and watch that object slowly move. Or put the bottle next to your hear and give it a shake, what can you hear?
My Mindfulness toolbox ideas
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