Discovery Bottles

Discovery Bottles are plastic bottles full of thing that kids can't normally explore, or a way to play with messy things in a clean way.  There are many examples of them on Pinterest, which is where I was first introduced to them.  The question with discovery bottles is not "What do I put in them?" but "What do I use for a bottle?"  Some families use empty water bottles, or sports drink bottles (like this blogger who has lots of examples).  Besides being heavy, the other problems with the bigger bottles is that they tend to take up a lot of room, especially when you get a lot of them. link
I've found a solution that is making myself and my family very happy: 3oz travel bottles.  The picture is from Amazon, but I bought my bottles in a pack of 3 from the Dollar Tree.  The set from the dollar store has a spritzer bottle, which I'm planning on using for a different project, as the third bottle instead of the pump.  The other two bottles are flip top.  I've been able to solve the problem of the flip top with superglue (also, I've glued the lids on).  The best part of the little bottles is that my newly sitting-up baby can hold them, shake them, and explore them by himself.  And, because of their size, I can store them in an empty formula container.  I've also heard that they're good in the car.

So far, I've made a "bubbles bottle," with water and a drop of dish soap.  When the kids shake it up, bubbles form.  I've also made an ocean bottle, with water, food coloring, baby oil, and shells.  I learned that sand doesn't sink in baby oil, so I made a separate bottle of sand and some treasures (beads, "jewels," an X, and a bit of gold glitter).  I used glitter again along with clear glue, water, and some trinkets to make a USA bottle.  The glue slows down the objects and creates a neat effect.

My very favorite bottle, though, has been the water beads one.  Water beads are found in the floral department at craft stores (and sometimes the dollar store).  They are tiny clear or colored beads that expand in water to become these amazing squishy, bouncy, marbles of water.  The problem with them is that they're not acceptable for toddlers, who might desire to eat them (such as I have).  So, I put the water beads in a plastic bottle with a bit of water and suddenly I created a water bead activity that my kids can enjoy (and they look really neat in the bottle).

I'm completely addicted to discovery bottles.  I'm already planning to do more of them.  I have some dyed alphabet noodles that I want to use for letter of the week bottles.  So far, I have an "A for America" bottle (wet) and a "X marks the spot" bottle (dry).


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