Shark Sensory Bottle to Make for an Ocean Theme or Shark Week

Shark Sensory Bottle to Make for an Ocean Theme or Shark Week

This shark sensory bottle is just perfect for your shark- and ocean-loving kids. You can make your own version a few different ways, and it would be a nice addition to a preschool ocean theme or summer camp.

images of ocean discovery bottles with text that reads shark sensory bottle

Related: Pirate Sensory Bottle

I am a HUGE fan of sensory bottles. We’ve been making them at school or at home since before Fun-A-Day came into being.

They’re a great way to engage the children, and there is a wonderfully soothing aspect to discovery bottles. Yes, even those with sharks inside.

Side note . . . am I the only one who gets the Jaws theme song stuck in her head when talking sharks? Or, more preschool-appropriate, the “Baby Shark” song?

How to Make a Shark Sensory Bottle

There aren’t too many steps to making your own shark discovery bottle.

I highly recommend having the kids help you make one (or more)! In addition to having fun, the children will also work on fine motor and measurement skills.

Materials You’ll Need

You can adjust this list based upon your own preferences. Don’t feel like you have to make your shark sensory bottle exactly the same way.

materials to make a shark sensory bottle

Clean, empty bottle (a 16.9 ounce Voss water bottle was used in these pictures)



Blue food coloring (or liquid watercolors)

Plastic shark (just make sure it fits into your empty bottle)

Blue glass gems


Shark Sensory Bottle Directions

Start out by adding about 1/2 cup of sand into the bottle, using a funnel. You can, of course, add more or less sand if you’d like.

Then add in some blue glass gems. You can have the children add in a specific number of gems, encouraging them to count each one as they’re placed in the bottle.

Next up, it’s time to add the toy shark!

From there, add in enough water to fill the rest of the bottle. You can leave a little bit of room at the top if you’d like.

shark, sand, and glass gems in a plastic bottle with blue tinted water

Related: Shark Activities for Kids

Add a drop of blue food coloring next. It doesn’t need to be much – you just want a blue tint to the water.

And there you have it! Once you’re happy with the shark bottle, put the top on. If younger children, or kids who like unscrewing bottle tops, will be using the bottle, I highly suggest sealing the top shut.

child's hand holding a shark sensory bottle

Related: Ocean Sensory Bin

Alternative Idea for a Shark Sensory Bottle

If you like a bit more glitter with your discovery bottles, here’s another idea to try out!

Grab some blue glitter glue and add about half a container to an empty bottle.

Then add in some warm water and shake the bottle well to mix the glue and the water. (Make sure to put the top on before shaking, in case you’re like me and need that reminder.)

You can add more glitter if you’d like. And then pop in a small shark toy (or two or three).

Then make sure to seal up the top. And there you have it . . . a sparkly shark sensory bottle.

Engaging the Kids

Once your shark bottle is ready to go, let the children explore it as they see fit.

Let the kids shake up the bottle and watch the sand settle back down. Have them turn it upside down and then right-side up again.

child's hand holding upside down shark week sensory bottle

Encourage the children to move the bottle back and forth, tracking the sand, gems, and shark with their eyes.

The kids might even want to experiment with creating the most bubbles in the shark sensory bottle. How can they go about doing that?

Maybe they’ll even hold it up and get a really close look!

child holding shark sensory bottle up to his eye

Extend this by having the kids record their observations on a piece of paper or in a science journal.

More Shark-Themed Ideas

As I mentioned earlier, this shark sensory bottle would be great during an ocean theme.

sand and shark sensory bottle

It would also be perfect if you’re teaching the kids about sharks. So I put together a few other ideas for you if you want to teach a shark theme.

Shark Books for Kids

Do you have a favorite shark book that you just love reading with the kids?

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Shark Videos

Below are a few informative shark videos for kids. I think they’d pair well with the shark sensory bottle, as I’m sure the children will have a lot of shark-related questions!

I’ve watched all of them, but you’ll still want to take a peek to make sure they fit your needs.

Here’s a short look at shark characteristics from National Geographic Kids.

This video shares a variety of facts about sharks.

National Geographic Kids shares a glimpse of swimming near sharks and discusses why they’re important.

Lots of facts about sharks!

Done-For-You Preschool Resources

Preschool Teacher 101 has an amazing selection of ready-to-go resources to correlate with this shark sensory bottle. Click on the images below for more information about some of the resources.

If you’re a preschool teacher, be sure to check out the membership options while you’re there.

Preschool Ocean Lesson Plans for Preschool Ocean Theme
Ocean Lesson Plans
10 Little Fish Song Pack
Shells Lesson Plans
Coral Reef Lesson Plans
Fish Roll and Color Math Games
Summer lesson plans
Summer Lesson Plans
materials to make a shark sensory bottle and finished bottle with text that reads shark sensory fun during an ocean theme

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