Are you looking for some awesome glitter jars to add to your valentine activities for preschoolers? These valentine sensory bottles are just what you need! Read below for a few ways to make floating heart sensory jars.
I admit it, I love glitter. Glitter seems to be a very polarizing “subject” – you either love it or you hate it!
Here’s a Valentine’s Day project that both glitter-lovers and glitter-phobes can enjoy – a heart glitter jar.
All the sparkles of glitter without the hands-on mess of it.
How to Make Valentine Sensory Bottles
These Valentine’s Day sensory bottles have been a hit with my students, my son, and my fellow teachers.
Over the years, I’ve heard from wonderful teachers about how they’ve made the glitter jars with their students, too. Love that!
The glitter jars would be perfect with a Valentine’s Day theme, a heart theme, or any time of the year. The first time we made them, the kids asked that they stay in our sensory and science center for the rest of the year!
I made printable direction cards that you can grab at the end of this post. Print them out, laminate them, and have them on hand while you’re making Valentine’s Day sensory bottles with the kids.
Materials for Your Heart Glitter Jars
You can use a variety of materials to make your valentine sensory bottles. The key is to pick the items you prefer.
I suggest starting out with what you already have on-hand. I’m a big believer in using what you have first!
So pick one thing from the first three categories to get started! If you want to experiment, you can choose a few items from each.
Something to make the sensory bottles sparkle
How to make glitter float in jars
Containing all of the heart-themed awesomeness
A few additional odds and ends
- Measuring cup
- Hot glue gun
Unfortunately, since we first made these valentine sensory bottles back in 2016, the pack of heart glitter I originally used has been discontinued. I still have some left, because those small vials of glitter really do go a long way. But my glitter stash probably won’t help you.
Check Target and your local craft stores to start with, as I’ve had success with them where I live. Some awesome readers have said they found heart glitter they like at Dollar Stores and Dollar Trees, too.
If you order something on Amazon, just read the descriptions to ensure that the glitter you’re getting is the size you want for your valentine sensory bottles.
Now on to the directions! Below you’ll find three different ways to make your own valentine discovery bottles!
Valentine Sensory Jars Video Tutorial
Here’s a new video that shows you how to make these fun glitter jars!
Later on in the post you’ll see a live action of the very first heart sensory bottle we made.
When comparing the two videos, you’ll notice that the glitter settles faster in the new video. That’s because we used a little less glue and corn syrup (the materials that make the glitter float in sensory bottles).
Decide which one you like best and go from there!
How to Make Valentine Sensory Bottles with Glitter Glue
Start things out with a clean jar or bottle.
For the first heart sensory bottle we made, I used a 10-ounce bottle (an empty and clean club soda bottle).
I’d suggest using a plastic bottle if the glitter jars will be around smaller kiddos. You’ll see in the newer pictures and video that we used 11.8-ounce plastic bottles.
Next, pour some of your red glitter glue bottle into the empty jar.
I used most of the glitter glue bottle when making our 10-ounce glitter jar, and it was just too much! The glitter took a long time to settle because I’d added a little too much glue.
So I’d suggest you start with about half a cup of the glitter glue when you make your own valentine sensory bottles.
After that, add in a bit of heart glitter. For this one, we stuck with just the red hearts. The glitter wasn’t measured – we just added whatever we felt like.
Once you’ve added your glitter, fill the rest of the bottle up with warm water. You can use hot water, but I’d suggest to keep that an adult-only activity. Stick with warm water when little hands are helping you.
Mix everything very well, ensuring that the ingredients combine together.
Take a peek at your heart glitter bottle and decide if you need to add any more glitter at this point. If the mood strikes you or the children, add it in and shake well again.
Remember, you can grab printable directions at the very bottom of this post.
What We Thought of This Heart Glitter Jar
As I mentioned above, our first iteration of this glitter jar didn’t settle for quite some time. Because I used too much glitter glue. Don’t do what I did.
In fact, once it was shaken up, it was almost as if everything just hovered inside the bottle.
The heart glitter, as well as the glitter from the glue, look beautiful when held up to a sunny window, though! Simple, but lots to look at and observe.
I suggest sealing the valentine sensory bottles with hot glue to ensure little hands are less likely to open the sensory jars!
Heart Glitter Jars Made with Corn Syrup
These heart discovery bottles are my favorite of the three, I have to admit! My son, my students, and I both had way too much fun shaking them up and watching the glitter settle.
I can see how glitter jars can be considered “calm down jars”, as there’s something innately peaceful in watching the glitter swirl and slowly settle.
For this jar, start with a new clean and empty bottle. We started with the same kind of bottle as the first one (the seltzer came in a 6-pack, so we were using what we had on-hand).
I’ll reiterate that using a plastic bottle with younger kiddos is a better bet. We used plastic bottles for the other bottles you’ll see in the pictures and videos.
Pour in about 3/4-cup of light corn syrup into the empty bottle. If you want the heart glitter to settle a bit faster, you can use about 1/2 cup of corn syrup instead.
Next, add that beautiful heart-shaped glitter. Again, we didn’t measure the glitter. We just added the colors and amounts we felt like at the time.
After that, add about 1/2-cup of warm tap water to the corn syrup, stirring to mix the two. If you’re able to do this part without any little helpers, I’d suggest using hotter water. That makes it faster when it comes to mixing everything together.
See our very first valentine glitter jars in action here (turn your volume on for a super relaxing experience) –
Grab printable directions for the heart glitter bottles at the bottom of the post.
How These Heart Discovery Bottles Turned Out
We ended up making extra versions of these bottles, as they are way too much fun!
These jars were in my preschool science center for months and months the first time we made them. The kids weren’t the only one who enjoyed them – sometimes my fellow teachers and I would sit down and watch the glitter settle after a hectic day.
We did some experimenting with the amount of corn syrup to see which syrup-to-water ratio makes for the best glitter settling.
Personally, I liked using a bit more corn syrup, like in the video above. It made the glitter fall slowly. In the newer video you can see that the glitter falls a bit faster. For those sensory bottles, we used about half a cup of corn syrup.
Again, I suggest sealing the tops of the bottles so kiddos can’t open the bottles!
Valentine Sensory Bottles Made with Clear Glue
Last, but not least, you can make your own heart sensory bottles using clear glue.
Grab a clean bottle and add about 1/2 a cup of clear glue to it.
Pop in some fun heart-shaped glitter. However much you and the kids think would do well!
Then fill the rest of the bottle up with warm water.
Close and seal the top of the bottle. Shake it up and enjoy.
Our Thoughts on This Sensory Bottle
This was my least favorite of the three, but the kids enjoyed it just as much!
I think it’s just easier to see extra bubbles in this version, but the children aren’t bothered by this at all. In fact, I think some prefer it because of those bubbles.
Well, now that you have three different ways to make valentine sensory bottles you just need to decide which one to make first!
Preschool Lesson Plans for Valentine’s Day
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes book suggestions, printable plans, over 30 learning activities (both whole group and centers) related to the theme, and corresponding printables.
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers
More Valentine Sensory Bottles to Make
This post is part of the awesome Preschool Inspirations’ Discovery Bottles Blog Hop.
Be sure to check out these other fun Valentine’s Day themed sensory bottles:
Preschool Inspirations’ Color Mixing Sensory Bottle
Lemon Lime Adventures’ Love Calm Down Jar
Modern Preschool’s I Spy Love Sensory Bottle
Sunny Day Family’s Valentine Alphabet Discovery Bottle
Teaching Mama’s Floating Hearts Sensory Bottle
The OT Toolbox’s Water Bead Hearts Discovery Bottle
Rhythms of Play’s DIY Slow Falling Hearts Sensory Bottle
Free Printable Direction Cards
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Originally published January 18, 2016. Updated for more pictures and videos.