Homemade Gift: Discovery Bottles

discovery bottlesLetter of The Week will return after the holidays but for now holiday kids crafts, homemade gifts, and books will be filling your screen! This is not an original idea as long as I have worked with kids I have made and played with these. I am actually making these for my son’s preschool but plan on making one for my daughter’s stocking, they are great toys for babies.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need empty water bottles with their lids, hot glue gun, glitter, oil, water, food coloring and shampoo( Karo syrup or  hair gel is much cheaper… I just had a ton of this shampoo on hand). You may also want a funnel.
  2. Start by removing the labels from the bottles.
  3. Next add the contentsWe started with the green bottle with  shampoo, glitter and green food coloring. When this one is done the glitter will slowly move through the shampoo ( or hair gel or Karo syrup). We used a funnel to fill it and my son watched it slowly fill pretending it was a soft serve ice cream machine. 
  4. The next bottle was the yellow bubble bottle with yellow food coloring, glitter, one squirt of shampoo and filled halfway with water. When it’s done the children can make bubbles by shaking it.
  5. The next was the blue glitter bottle – water and glitter. When it’s done the glitter will swirl through the water.
  6. The final one was half oil, red food coloring, water and red glitter. This one has always been my favorite, the water and oil will resist mixing and children can make gentle waves without much effort as well.
  7. Hot glue the lid on, do not let even older kids do this. I have been using hot glue guns for oh 25 years and I burned myself with every bottle!  I added colored tape to the outside as well.  Let sit a few hours before playing with it, and test it over the sink before passing it to a child.

Remember that even with careful gluing these things break  I had an oil and sparkles one break in my kitchen when my son was a baby. The lid broke in two! The lesson is to stick to playing with them in places that are easy to clean and always supervise children with these, always!

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  1. tasha says

    I’ve seen these many times before in daycares, but these are the nicest. The coloured tape on the lid adds the wow factor I think!

    I just found this website last week, and my daughter and I are loving it. We made egg carton caterpillars last week, and handprint butterflies this morning. Thank you so much!!

  2. Sharon says

    Just a quick note to save someone else the frustration. I made one of these last year using baby oil gel – not regular baby oil – and everything just clumped to the gel and the gel mostly stayed in an unappealing clump. It looked gross. Not so fun. Stick to the ingredients Allie used above!

  3. kimber says

    My son’s preschool makes these, and they are great! With a clear oil and some colored water, a couple little floating toys and some glitter, they are the coolest. In the Autism program they are called “sensory bottles”; the kids love to shake them up and watch the waves roll on in.

  4. liz miller says

    I used corn syrup in case it came open so it would be less toxic as baby oil when ingested. I also used glow in the dark glitter glue with water and corn syrup and glitter. It worked well you just have to mix a lot. If you hold a led flashlight to it afterdark it will glow when shaken. My daughter loved it and got her to go to bed on time.


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