Materials Required: Clean, empty, dry plastic soda or water
Activity Time: As long as children are interested
Concepts Taught: discovery, observations, predictability,
Discovery bottles encourage the development of
observation skills, predictability, scientific
concepts, and thinking skills. Once made and placed in plastic carrying bins, they make a great center activity that is inexpensive, and fun!
Place any of the following items in a clear
plastic soda or water bottle. Seal the lid with a glue gun, or tape with colored plastic tape.
(1) Wave Bottle Fill half of the bottle with
cooking oil, add water to fill the bottle 3/4 of the
way. Add blue food coloring, and seal the lid with glue. As you turn the bottle on its side, the waves roll gently. You can also use baby oil for a clear effect.
(2) Desert Bottle Add small plastic desert animals such as lizards, snakes, etc. to an empty bottle. Fill 2/3 of bottle with sand. As children turn or shake the bottle they can see animals that live on the desert. This is a great activity for visual discrimination.
(3) Magnetic Bottle#1 Fill bottle with small items that can be picked up by a magnet, and objects that cannot be picked up by a magnet. Seal the bottle. Attach a magnet to the top of the bottle by tying one end of yarn around the magnet, and the other to the bottle. Children discover what items are attracted to the magnet, and which are not, by rubbing the magnet along the sides of the bottle. Children can record, or draw pictures to
record their observations.
(4) Magnetic Bottle #2 find bingo materials. Packages come with a magnetic bingo wand, and colored magnetic discs. Add about 20 magnetic bingo chips to a bottle filled with water.
Attach the magnetic bingo wand to the top of the bottle
by using yarn. Children will enjoyed seeing how many
discs they can pick up with the magnet, and enjoy watching
them float to the bottle.
(5) Magnetic Bottle #3 Add magnetic numbers, or
shapes, or letters to a bottle. Attach a magnetic wand
to the bottle top, using yarn. Children name, write, or
draw what they pick up with their magnets.
(6) Magnetic Bottle #4 Add magnetic objects to a
bottle, and fill the bottle with salt. Attach a magnetic wand to the outside of the bottle using yarn. Children run the magnets along the side of the bottle, and are surprised to find what is hiding under the sand.
(7) Dice Bottle Drop dice into the bottle; do not
fill the bottle with water. Children shake the bottle, and choose from any of these activities name the number on the dice, count out that many objects, name the number that comes before or after, write the number, predict what number will come next.
(8) Seasonal Bottles Fill an empty bottle with objects found in the fall. Example: fall leaves, acorns or nuts, small pumpkins or gourds, dried apples, turkey feathers, etc. Children enjoy looking and naming the objects found. Make new bottles for other seasons.
(9) Density Bottle #1 Fill an empty bottle with hair gel (lots of colors are available) Add a marble. Children discover the properties of density as they turn the bottle.
(10)Density Bottle # 2 Fill an empty bottle with shampoo. Add a marble.
(11)Dirt Bottle Add dirt to a bottle, and fill half of the bottle with water. See what happens when you shake the bottles! It is fun to collect a variety of soil samples from other places around the country.
(12)Clay Bottle Add clay (the clay from the yard, not play-dough) Fill with water, and observe what happens when you shake the bottle and the clay reacts with the water.
(13)Sand Bottle Fill the bottom of a bottle with sand. Add water, to shake and see what happens when you shake the bottle. For a variation, add colored sand and water to a bottle.
(14)Glitter Bottle (my favorite) Fill a bottle half full with colored glitter, add water to the top of the bottle. Shake and see what happens, (very neat after the water has settled)
(15)Relaxation Bottle Add a small package of colored or holiday confetti to the bottom of the bottle. Fill the bottle with Karo Syrup. It is a very relaxing experience to watch the glitter float and flutter as you gently turn the bottle.
(16)Magnetic Shavings Remember the boards we had
as a child where you could put a beard or hair on Harry, by moving a magnetic through magnetic shavings? This works on the same principle. Fill the bottle with magnetic shavings. Attach a magnet to the top of the bottle with yarn. Observe the shavings movement through the bottle as you rub the magnetic wand over the side of the bottle.
(17)Potpourri Bottle. Cut a small hole into the side of the bottle; attach netting with clear plastic tape, over the hole. Fill the bottle with potpourri in flavors such as orange, vanilla, pine, gingerbread, roses, etc. Children describe the scent, or what the scent reminds them of.
(18)Rust Bottle Add screws bolts or nails to an empty bottle. Fill the bottle with water. Observe what happens, or track how many days the rust developed.
(19)Glow in the Dark Bottle Add small glow in the dark items such as stars to a bottle. Do not add any water. Children can put the bottle under a box, and look through a hole to observe what happens when the bottle is placed in the dark. Or they can take the bottle to a darkened room, or under a table covered with a sheet.
(20)Crayon Shavings Bottle Fill the bottle half full with crayon shavings; fill the bottle with water. Shake and observe what happens.
(21)Float or Sink Bottle. Place a variety of objects in a bottle, some that will float, and some that will not. Fill the bottle with water. As children shake the bottle, they can observe what items float, and what items sink.
(22)Estimation Bottle Fill the bottle with a variety of small objects such as beans, nuts, rocks, etc. Children record their guestimations on a tablet that has been placed beside the bottle. At the end of the week, open the bottle and count! Discuss the predications. Send the bottle home with the winner, and have them empty the bottle, and fill with objects for next week's bottle.
A-acorns, plastic ants, mini apple erasers, mini astronaut figure
B- buttons, band-aids, balloon ( not inflated), battery, mini bear figure,
toothbrush, mini boat/bus figures
C-coin, mini cars, cow, cat, camel figures, candy,
D- mini donkey, dog, duck, dinosaur figures. plastic daisy, dollar bill, dress
(from a Barbie doll), dominoes
E-eraser, piece of paper w/ the number 11 written on it, mini eagle, elephant,
eel figures or just an empty bottle
F-feather, mini flag, plastic flowers small paper cut out fish, mini football
erasers or figures
G-stick of gum, anything green in color, golf tee, mini goat figure. grass
H-fill this bottle/ honey,paper heart cut-outs, happy face drawing or
sticker, half of something, mini horse figure
I- ice cream mini erasers, picture of an igloo, small plastic insect, plastic
ivy, ice cube (in a plastic bag so it won't and destroy the other
items in the bottle
J-jacks, jelly beans, mini jeep figure, jewelry
K- keys, king of hearts playing card, cut made out of paper w a string
attached, kidney bean, mini kitten,koala, or kangaroo figures, Kix cereal,
L-leaf, lace, letter (plastic, magnetic, whatever), lima beans,licorice,
lollipops ladybug erasers, lamb, lion, lizard figures
Mm-macaroni, mini marshmallows, money, magnets, marbles
N- noodles, nails, nuts, nickels, piece of newspaper, numbers, necklace
O-picture of an octopus, ocean animal figures, oval cut out shape, olive
P- penguin erasers and figures, pencil, popcorn,peanuts, packing peanuts,
paper clips, pretzels, pennies, puzzle pieces, paper,pipe cleaner, price tag
Q-quarters, queen of hearts playing card, picture of a quilt, Q-tip,
piece of paper w/ a question mark drawn on it
R-racecar figure, mini rabbit erasers, rocks,plastic ring, piece of rope and
S- straws, spaghetti, stamps, piece of sponge, screw number 6 and 7, mini
spider figure, square cut out
T-teabag, toothpicks, mini turtle, tiger erasers and figures, tire from
a mini car,number 2, tape, number 10, triangle cut out
U- picture of an umbrella, unicorn, mini map of the United States
V- anything violet in color, mini van figure, picture of a volcano
W- mini whale erasers, wheel pasta, whistle, plastic watch,wood,
wire,walnut, wallpaper scraps X-( I use the final /x/ consonant sound )
number 6, picture of an ox and a fox
Y-anything yellow in color, yarn,
Using bottle shaped recording sheets, the kids draw the objects
write the words. One sheet per letter ABC "I SPY" bottles, filled with each letter of the alphabet (miniature alphabet blocks...ordered them from Oriental Trading Co.) and then filled the bottle with salt. The kids have a sheet to go with it called "I SPY" A _ B_ C_ etc. They check the letters off the sheet as they find them in the
Bottles for each color
Put autumn leaves, flowers, nuts, or other natural objects in bottles of water.
Bottles for each season/theme (spring, summer, winter, fall,
Halloween, Christmas, snow, Easter bunnies, valentines, S.t. pats) .
Number bottle (made with number beads)
Quiet bottle (relaxation bottle)
#1 karo syrup and glitter, sequins, or small toys
#2 karo syrup and float all kinds of things inside - rings, balls, eye.
#3 1/4 C Karo syrup with metallic confetti
#4 1/4 C Karo with food coloring
#5 water with glitter, sequins, or crayon shavings
Put nuts, pebbles, small shells, dried beans, buttons, marbles or other small
objects in a bottle. The children guess how many are inside on a tablet that
has been placed beside the bottle. After several days, dump out the
contents and count them together. (Send this bottle home and let the
children take turns filling it with objects)
Sports bottle (sports confetti)
Birthday bottle (balloon confetti)
Dino bottle (dino erasers)
Star bottle (star confetti)
Peepers bottle (hair gel and plastic wiggly eyes)
#1 dice in colored water with glitter
#2 Drop dice into the bottle; do not fill the bottle with water. Children
shake the bottle, and choose from any of these activities name the number
on the dice, count out that many objects, name the number that comes
before or after, write the number, predict what number will come next.
Sand with seashells and small sea things
Two 20 oz. bottles connected with a connector that I bought at the school
supply store. Fill one bottle 2/3 up with water, add the connector and the
other bottle. Turn the bottle with water upside down, swirl around and
watch the tornado form.
Put 1/2 cup dirt in the bottom of a bottle, and fill it with water. Let the
children shake it up and watch the dirt settle. (Try using gravel, peat
moss, clay, and different types of soil.) Collect soil samples from different
states or countries and make muddy bottle from them. Label the bottles so
the children can compare the soil found in different areas.
Add 1 cup of water, a squirt of dish detergent, and 2 drops of food coloring
to the bottle. Shake to make bubbles.
Put beans, popcorn kernels, and rice in different bottles. Stick each bottle
inside an old sock. Let the children shake and guess what is in the bottles.
Take 4 bottles. Fill one with water, one with vegetable oil, one with hair
gel,and one with clear shampoo. Add a marble to each bottle, then screw on the
lids. The children can observe how the marbles move through different
Hidden Objects Bottle
Fill a bottle 2/3 full with sand or salt or shiny metallic stringy confetti
stuff inside the bottle. Add five to ten small objects to the bottle and shake it.
Challenge the children to find all of the hidden objects.
Take four or five bottles and add different amounts of water in each one,
Mix the bottles up, then let the children seriate them from empty to full.
Put the small (1 inch size) pictures of your class that you usually get from
the school photographer in a bottle. Let the children shake the bottle to
find their own picture or to find others' pictures and name the students in
Add small plastic desert animals such as lizards, snakes, etc. to an empty
bottle. Fill 2/3 of bottle with sand. As children turn or shake the bottle,
they can see animals that live on the desert.
Cut a small hole into the side of the bottle; attach netting with clear
plastic tape, over the hole. Fill the bottle with potpourri in flavors such as orange,
vanilla, pine, gingerbread, roses, etc. Children describe the scent, or what
the scent reminds them of.
Add screws bolts or nails to an empty bottle. Fill the bottle with water.
Observe what happens, or track how many days the rust developed.
Glow in the Dark Bottle
Add small glow in the dark items such as stars to a bottle. Do not add any
water. Children can put the bottle under a box, and look through a hole to
observe what happens when the bottle is placed in the dark. Or they can
take the bottle to a darkened room, or under a table covered with a sheet.
Oil & water don't mix bottle
1 bottle of baby oil(10 - 12 oz) at least 1/2 filled per child.
Food coloring (blue is the best)
Assorted little plastic fish or shells Large container of water
Heavy duty masking tape A funnel The children add drops of food coloring to the water. Then they add some fish or shells or sparkles to their bottle of baby oil(1/2 filled).Using the funnel, they pour the blue water into their bottle of baby oil- almost to the top. Put the cover on and seal it with masking tape(blue tape looks great).
The children shake up their bottles and enjoy watching the two liquids separate. With older children, you can add a third layer of syrup.
Float or Sink Bottle.
Place a variety of objects in a bottle, some that will float, and some that
will not. Fill the bottle with water. As children shake the bottle, they can
observe what items float, and what items sink. as beans, nuts, rocks, etc.
Children record their guestimations on a tablet.
Rain Bottle - Fill a dry empty bottle with a box of toothpicks.
(uncooked) to the bottle leaving an empty space of about 1 1/2 inches at the
top. Seal the lid. As you gently turn the bottle, the rice falls through the
toothpicks, sounding like rain.
Mold Bottle - Remember to keep this bottle for only a couple
of weeks! Add
a piece of food such as bread to the bottom of a bottle. Seal the lid. Observe what happens in the days to come!
Sprout Bottle - Add a piece of wet sponge to the bottom of
Sprinkle fast growing seeds such as grass seeds. Seal the lid, and observe
Snow or Ice Bottle- Fill half full of snow or ice. Seal the
lid. Record what
happens as the hours or days go by.