It’s Not a Glitter Wand

August 18, 2011

As a kid, were you mesmorized by those glitter wands? Dude. I could flip that thingy (watching the glitter twirl) until the sun went down! I snatched one up at the toy store awhile back for Bubs (we were headed for yet another long grueling flight). It worked wonders, by the way. Took up very little space, made no noise… Sorry, I’m getting carried away. I thought it’d amuse Lil’ Mister to recreate a stockier version of a glitter wand (minus the glitter. minus the wand). Crafts with a twoddler (not a baby not yet a toddler) are almost impossible. I envisioned this craft going a lil’ sumthin’ like this: I’d make it. He’d play with it for 2 seconds. The end.

BOY was I wrong! This was just his speed!

Hi Mom. I’m not sure exactly what you’re doing with all that stuff; but thanks for the bunny snacks while I watch. Eating makes me happy. More please?

It was questionable how he’d manage the materials. So (teacher in me) modeled putting in the pony beads. (plus I didn’t want to chance a 911 “um. HELP! he just ate a boatload of beads! CPR? Heimlich? HURRY!”). Frightening.

The ribbon, dice, and glitter pom-poms were perfect for his tiny hands. I wish I would’ve had the video camera rolling (oh wait, taking pictures & video? who do I think I am? Octomom?). The giggles were so cute! He was tickled he could get them in the little hole & then he’d gooseneck it to watch them float to the bottom.

Not only was it a fun way to spend the morning; but I felt like I was doing something good for him. Sensory, fine motor, and fun. Booya! 3 points for Team, 1st Time Mommy!

Pretty sure it’d be fun even for older kidlets! 🙂


  • Reply Polly (mom) August 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    These are just Sooooooo, very, very cool. I love them. And so fun for him to help make. What a lucky little guy to have such a clever mommy!!

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Definitely something he can do again with his Mimi… I’m sure at Mimi’s house it’ll be more fun, anyway! Can’t believe the time has already come!!

      • Reply Karli December 10, 2015 at 6:44 am

        Hello. I made these for some of my friend’s babys. I was wondering how you got the pom poms to sink? When I did mine, they just floated at the top. Thank you. I love this idea!!

        • Reply Katie February 1, 2016 at 8:27 pm

          Where did you find the aqua pod water bottles? I cannot find them Anywhere.

  • Reply Lindsey Marlor August 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    this one is super cute! lexi would somehow manage to open that top though! 🙂

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      I used hot glue before screwing on the lid. The only one getting into it was LuLu. She managed to pierce a hole through the top of the pom pom one with her sharp snaggle tooth! ha! She thinks his toys are her toys too!

  • Reply Maggie August 19, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Mommy’s little helper 🙂 and of course this is much more fun to play with than anything store bought.

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Unless it’s a soft cuddly giraffe (wink wink)

  • Reply Stephanie August 19, 2011 at 2:25 am

    I can’t wait to make these! Looks like I’m headed to the craft store. That is such cute shaped bottle. Could you tell us what it is from?
    Thanks for the great idea!

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      The bottles are kids water bottles. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the brand & they are all gone. I’ll see if I can find the exact brand next time I’m at the store.

      • Reply Jessa July 25, 2016 at 4:50 am

        There are bottles similar to these called ‘chubby’ sodas. They’re meant for packing into a child’s lunch pack

    • Reply Erin September 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      It looks like an aquapod, deer park makes some. can’t wait to do this!

    • Reply Vicki July 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Yes, Erin, you’re right. Aquapod water bottles (advertised as kid size). Most grocery stores sell them in 6-12 ok. Perfect little hand size!! Going to make a couple of these for grandson.

  • Reply Lilioshka August 19, 2011 at 3:25 am

    That is so smart, so cute, so creative and so lovely!!

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Maryam August 19, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Love this! Trying to rack my brain on what to use with my older guys who can open the tops….hmmm…??

    • Reply missy August 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Hot glue will work like a charm! Hope you’re enjoying your family vacay! xo

  • Reply Mark August 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I hope I get to play with them too!

  • Reply Amanda August 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Missy- great idea, we will be making these this weekend! I had a question about your little one’s shirt. I was just looking at them online to get one for my little guy. Just wondering how the sizing of the shirt fits? Sorry that is a bit of a random question. Have a good weekend.

    • Reply missy August 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Just sent you an e-mail 🙂

  • Reply Rachel August 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    These are so very cool! I made an “I Spy” version of these with sand with my kiddos, but I definitely prefer this sparkley version 😉

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  • Reply Marie August 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    LOVE this! We are flying to Hawaii with a 14 month old and and 4.5 year old in November…this will keep them busy!!! Thank you!

    • Reply Jo August 29, 2011 at 1:19 am

      You might make sure it fits in a “travel size” container if you’re going to take it on the plane. Never know how big of a stickler the TSA agent will be regarding liquid on the plane.

      • Reply Sierra June 23, 2017 at 2:15 am

        I was wondering the same thing about taking them on a flight. I will be taking a 6 hour flight with my 1 year old and id love to make one of these for him if I know they will allow it!

  • Reply Kristina August 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    To the mommy who asked, these are Ozarka Aqua Pod bottles 🙂 perfect for little hands! We use them at the day care I work at!

  • Reply robyn August 28, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Just tried the glitter pompom bottle with glitter pompoms from the dollar section at Target. The dye used must not have been waterproof because the water turned an insane hot pink color! You must have gotten better quality pompoms. After rinsing the pompoms out a few times they stopped bleeding color and now our discovery bottle looks pretty good.

  • Reply ellygant September 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I love this idea, it’s like a snow globe for toys. Beautiful.Thanks for the idea. I will DEFINITELY be making some. Just need to colllect empty bottles for a few weeks.

  • Reply Gigi S. September 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    we did something similar but used oil and water and made a lava lamp like thing with lots of glittery stuff floating in it.

    • Reply Briana August 28, 2012 at 1:37 am

      I was going to suggest half oil too. And put food coloring in. It won’t change the color of the oil. Makes like a wave maker. I’m making this for my 2 year old! Thanks!

  • Reply Alissa September 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Very cool ideas! But am I missing something? My pom-poms are not sinking but staying right at the top of the water.

  • Reply Kelly September 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    I found you via Pinterest! What a great idea. I must do this with my little one.

  • Reply judy September 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    i love this idea and i don’t even have little ones (my youngest is 17)! i’m thinking that using mineral (baby) oil would be a cool option. it would make the goodies move more slowly like a glitter wand. (hm, maybe i should have another baby just so i could do this?…nah.)

  • Reply Lorena September 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    linked in from pinterest.
    what a great idea! bonking my head for not thinking of it me-self! lol I have 2 yo twins that want the same of everything, so this is in the making! Would love to try what another poster mentioned, mineral oil? to make thinkgs move slower.

    • Reply Lisa Linnea January 15, 2012 at 2:01 am

      Baby Oil will work to move things a little slower, I just did this in my preschool classroom and the kiddos loved it! Thanks!

  • Reply Kay September 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    i love this size and shape of the bottle you used. Do you know what brand of water it was.

    thanks, its such a cute simple idea.

  • Reply ange October 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I found this whilst looking for magic glitter wands to make. Now I’m going to make these too and even better, I can use up a whole lot of *crap* lying around the house to fill the bottles. I have pinned from here as well. thanks.

  • Reply Michelle October 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I loved the craft! My son did too and I posted our on my blog, with a link to your post here:

  • Reply Karen November 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Great idea! I also like to fill bottles about 1/2 way with sand and then add a few small toys. It’s a shaker-discovery bottle. For the older ones, I write a list of what’s in the bottle and have them look for each item, then mark it off as it’s found.

    Another water-based idea is to simply add glitter and a bit of food coloring.

    I’ve tried blue hair gel with fish gummies as well, but didn’t like it as it doesn’t actually move. (I worked 5 years with toddlers in childcare, so I’ve tried all kinds of bad and good ideas!).

    I esp. like the small bottles. I may have to buy some just for this!

    • Reply Lisa Linnea January 15, 2012 at 2:04 am

      I also have tried hair gel and used marbles to move around in the smaller bottles. It is perfect for the 3-4’s mostly.

  • Reply kresta December 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    found this on pinterest, darling! perfect for the plane out to gramma’s in 2 weeks! of course in a zippy bag.

  • Reply Judy December 4, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    The Arrowhead Aquapod bottles look like this. Great idea! Definitely going to try! Thanks!

  • Reply Amanda December 5, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Love this idea! Shows boys can have fun with glitter too! And as a Mommy to two boys, I like to sneak it in when I can.
    I also want to use this idea for work. I am a behavioral consultant for children with Autism and this is a great sensory idea!

  • Reply Jen December 7, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Love this blog! How long would this little toy last do you think? Probably a dumb question but do the little things inside the water go rotten after a while?

  • Reply sara mcginnis December 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    these are super cute so i made some for my daughter but my pom poms just float at the top in a cluster!?

  • Reply Karen December 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Just wonderful–have made other bottles before but will try your ideas with kids in school. K.

    • Reply missy December 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      I think they’ll love making them. I’d even suggest having the kids bring in their own items and bottles… that way as groups they can compare/contrast/sort objects based on their properties (size, shape, texture, etc). What a great science lesson!

  • Reply alli December 16, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    corn syrup would be a great add-in to make the objects move slower. just like a tablespoon full would be enough! super cute idea 🙂

  • Reply Lindsey January 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    What a great idea!!! I was looking for something for the kiddos to do at my son’s 1st Birthday party!!!!

  • Reply Katie January 7, 2012 at 1:38 am

    If you add some glycerin to the water it will thicken it a bit more like a snow globe or s lava lamp.

  • Reply Felicia January 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    This is amazing! I’ve been looking for a craft that will peak my 2 year old niece’s interest for more than a few seconds. I think I will be heading to my local craft store to pick up some supplies tomorrow! So excited to try this.

  • Reply joy miller February 9, 2012 at 2:46 am

    When I make these, I use baby oil, things move slower.

    • Reply Patricia Suchocki February 29, 2012 at 3:03 am

      Do you use all baby oil or a mix of oil and water? If a mix, how much of each? Thanks! I want to make these with my daughter, one for her and one for her little brother. I think she would like it more with slower moving objects.

      • Reply missy February 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

        I use straight water. The baby oil won’t mix with the water. The water moves the objects slow enough.

  • Reply Katie Woodard February 14, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I should have realized this was you. I follow you on Twitter and love the stuff you post. I cant’t wait to make these! Thank you!

  • Reply wendy March 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

    i have been making these for years but without the water. sequins, glitter, beads, rice, etc. i just called them shakers. little ones love the noise. with definitelt try this with the glitter pom-poms and water.

  • Reply Angela March 8, 2012 at 12:11 am

    This would actually be really cool for a child with Autism too. A lot of kids with Autism could care less about the toy itself but really into the sensory stuff. I am a behavior interventionist, and will definitely share the idea with my families.

  • Reply Laura March 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I teach preschool. (3 and 4 year olds) We make all kinds of sensory bottles like this to put in our science centers. The kids love them!!

  • Reply Caroline March 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I LOVE this idea! Especially the water bottle size. It’s just perfect for my little guy. By the way, I spent the last two days reading every post on your blog over the past two years! I can’t believe I didn’t discover it sooner! I adore your fashion sense, recipes, photos, and your family. You have so much cute spunk in your writing 🙂

  • Reply Kay April 6, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Fab idea – we do the same without the water for a floating swim / bath toy

  • Reply Liz April 24, 2012 at 2:41 am

    How old is the little boy in the pictures? My daughter is 10 months and puts everything in her mouth. I’d like to do this with her, but I’m not sure…..

    • Reply missy April 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      He’s 16 months here. Definitely supervise closely. I’d think 10 months is a bit too young.

  • Reply Liz April 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks, that is what I thought. She is very advanced, but still loves to eat everything.

  • Reply Cassie June 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Did something like this years ago with my niece on a car trip. Of course we just used what we had in the car. Which ended up being a soda bottle we took the label off of and some change. Worked wonders but was LOUD! Brilliant idea!

  • Reply Bonne Maman June 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I love this idea. Your bottles are so colourful!! I tried one with pompoms, buttons and googly eyes… unfortunately the colour from my pompoms died the water… which was pretty at first but as the colour got more intense you could hardly see the objects 🙁 will try again with a different brand of pompom… Wish we could get those lovely shaped bottles here in the UK.

    I have blogged about your idea and refernced your site. My blog is about rasining my daughter to be bilingual and your discivery bottle idea gave us a great language learning opportunity – here’s the post if you’d like to see it ://

  • Reply Shir June 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I was wondering if anyone knew where to find those bottles – ive looked everywhere but cant seem to find that shape 🙁 i want to make this as party favors for my sons birthday in a few weeks but i cannot find these in stores and im afraid it wont come through the mail in time for me to make them for his party 🙁

    (ps: i live in saint pete florida) thanks!! 🙂

  • Reply Daniela June 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Love this idea! Can’t wait to give it to our nannies.

  • Reply Kellie June 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I made 3 of these today with my 18 month old. She LOVED putting the items in…hated it when I glued the lid on and she couldn’t get the items back out. Just wondering if anyone else had this experience.

  • Reply LindaParker June 23, 2012 at 4:01 am

    DO NOT USE OIL INSIDE BOTTLES!!! If a child gets the oil into their lungs it can be deadly. Supervision is always wise with little ones with store bought toys as well.
    I think it is a fun project, will try it with my grandbabies.

  • Reply Christy June 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    What kind of Dice did you use for the project? I have the same bottles you used but the dice kept getting stuck in the top… Other than that my kids love the idea!!

    • Reply Shylene January 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Love this idea! Was wondering where you bought the glitter pom poms

      • Reply missy January 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm

        All supplies were purchased at Target 🙂

  • Reply Britni July 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

    You are a flippin’ genius!! These are so cute and I know my “twoddler” would love them!! My daughter has an obsession with water bottles so she’s going to love having one her size with pretty things floating around inside! Can’t wait to try it out! 🙂

  • Reply Shir July 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    for the people wondering where the bottles are from… I just bought an 8 pack of them for $2.00 at sweetbay!! very cheap! i made them for my sons first birthday party as favors… i hope the kids love them! thank you for this!!! they look so fun! even my brother in law (hes 25) thought they were cool lol!! 🙂

  • Reply LoveOfOats August 11, 2012 at 2:21 am

    What a great idea – I especially like the tip about hot glueing the lid on!

  • Reply Chris August 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I’m putting together the supplies for my grandson to make these when he and his mommy come home for a visit this fall. Gathered small seashells at the beach yesterday, plus have lots of brightly colored items. I was definitely thinking of using glycerin. Isn’t that what’s used in glitter wands?

  • Reply Christina October 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I just made one of these for our quiet bag for church and my daughter loves it! She pulled it out for the first time last Sunday and was completely fascinated! Thanks for the idea.

  • Reply Amy October 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Adorable! Thanks for the great idea…hadn’t thought of using dice or ribbons!

  • Reply kylie October 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I love these bottles. I live in S.Australia… we have nothing over here like this. I’ve even looked on ebay. I think some of you lovely ladies who can get there hands on these bottles should list some on ebay… maybe under craft bottle???? Hint hint.. 🙂

  • Reply Emylie November 2, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Did you use regular water or distilled? also, depending on the colorfast issue with some of the items do you think that mineral oil would work?

  • Reply Sherry Deines December 5, 2012 at 4:12 am

    I am just wondering if you have any suggestions on how to safely remove stickyness from the paper cover on a water bottle? Thanks.
    I am using this idea as gifts for my toddlers.

    • Reply missy December 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      I always use hot water – keep the bottle submerged in hot water and remove with a warm washcloth. Goo-gone also works.

  • Reply Chris February 6, 2013 at 12:30 am

    For younger kiddos I take apart a lei (the kind with fabric flowers and tiny straws inbetween each flower). I put several of the flowers into the bottle along with a few of the straws. It makes a fun clicking sound and is pretty. If you do it without the water even very young children can manage it without bonking themselves on the head. i still superglue the lid on, though.

    • Reply Danielle September 26, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I love this idea!

  • Reply Cynthia February 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Can some one please tell me where I can get my hands on these water bottles? They are the right size for little hands and I can not locate them. I’ve exhausted my searching. Thank you….

  • Reply Gemma February 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I work in a nursery in the uk and we make these often. I have found the best bottles are the lucozade bottles (the fizzy ones with quite big lids) or the fanta bottles that are all bumpy! I have tried adding glycerin but ever sure how much I should add!

  • Reply Kara February 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Love this! I will be making this for my 6 year old daughter. She has autism & sensory processing issues. She will love this too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Kristina Noall July 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    It sure is hard to find toys for those in-betweeners, isn’t it? I knew I had struck gold when I read that 🙂 Mine is 16 months and I’ve been trying to find ideas for church, and for a road trip this weekend. I’m really excited to try this. (I’m sure my 4 1/2 year old will be interested, too!) Thanks!

  • Reply Amy July 26, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Just thought I’d let you know I included a link to your sensory bottles on my personal blog. Such cute ideas! Thanks for the post!

    Amy Senter

  • Reply Trish September 21, 2013 at 1:50 am

    I made these with my 4 &5 yr old. I had them use the Nesquik chocolate milk bottle. We also did “themes” making an ocean one for my daughter & safari for my son. I found packs of miniature animals at hobby to the lobby. We also used colored glitter and we added small alpha beads that spelled their name. Thanks so much for the idea!!

  • Reply Page October 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I love this idea.. So easy & inexpensive… I do have a question though, with using just water, how long will these last? Thank you & I love you site

  • Reply Kristen O January 16, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks for the idea! Made 2. My 17 mo old loved them! My 4yo had fun helping me make them.

  • Reply Lisa June 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    You can add 1/3 salad oil two 2/3 water with a few drops of food coloring to make it a bit different. Try putting a bit of plastic pellets for extrusion use to see them drop thru the oil.
    I also use a few drops of liquid soap so when you shake it you get bubbles.

  • Reply Pam March 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    So cute! My kids are grown now, but I’m pinning for nephews and nieces and possible grandchildren one day! One word of caution–my daughter, at age 3 (long after she had been putting things in her mouth), popped a pen cap into her mouth REALLY quickly, to be silly. She began choking, and luckily I got to her in time. So, with my kids, I would have made these myself and not risk choking. Kids are FAST.

  • Reply Linday Trotti March 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I am trying these for a bday party. My pom poms are all floating 🙁 did yours do that too? I added glitter and corn syrup and that looks pretty but the pom poms go to the top immediately. Thanks!

  • Reply Mo June 12, 2015 at 7:10 am

    I want to make one of these for my toddler for our plane ride from Hawaii to the East Coast. Has anyone had an issue getting these past security since they are a liquid?

  • Reply Renee July 11, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I am going to try this with sand instead of H2O or oil. A friend has a glass bottle with sand and little shells and rocks. If I do these little fun kid things and put it in plastic it might be good fun.

  • Reply Stephanie July 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Gosh, I absolutely love this idea! My son is nonverbal and prefers puzzles, quiet activities like matching and sorting, oh yeah… and he loves glitter and shinies! I cannot wait to make this for him – making several! Found this over @ & fell in love! Is Mom really more excited than Bub? I am not very crafty, but simple ideas like this really make my day. Thanks so much for sharing this post/idea! I love it!

  • Reply Zoe November 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Great ideas! I love the little water bottles you used – what type of drink was in them before?

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