Discovery Bottles - The Four Seasons


I've seen many great Discovery / I Spy Bottles on the Internet & have had them on my to-do list for ages! With Minnie's current interest in seasons, the bottles seemed a great opportunity for more seasonal discovery, so we collected four empty water bottles, & a selection of items from around the house & garden & got creating...

We started with Winter (Minnie's choice) & for this we used; arborio risotto rice (the pearly risotto rice has a glossy, smooth texture making it perfect to represent snow), silver glitter/stars, mini red pompoms/bells (to represent berries), mini silver & white pompoms (to represent snowballs), a couple of stars, & a few foam shapes (holly leaves, small Christmas tree, snowflakes, & a tiny gingerbread man).



Minnie started by mixing the silver stars with the rice in a baking dish, then scooped a little of the mixture into the bottle.

Creating these bottles offered a multitude of sensory experiences. Minnie especially enjoyed sifting, pouring, patting & rolling the rice around with her hands. She continued to fill the bottle with her hands, adding her chosen 'winter' items as she went.


Then Minnie discovered a funnel was so much easier to use & continued to fill using a spoon. (Great for observing a child's hand-eye co-ordination & motor skills.)




When the contents had reached the neck of the bottle we added the lid & secured with strong glue. Alternatively you could seal with tape.

Then we moved on to create our Autumn bottle. For this we used: tricolor pasta shapes, a collection of finds from our nature walks (acorns, conkers, mini pine cones, sticks, leaves, beechnuts, walnuts) & a few silk petals in autumnal colours.


To create smaller pasta shapes we poured the pasta onto an old tray, placed an old towel over the top & crushed the pasta with a rolling pin. Minnie had great fun banging the rolling pin over the towel & then rolling it over the bumps. A great way to observe gross motor skills & great to see her energy as she excitedly rolled (& thumped) the rolling pin over the pasta.

When the pasta had been pounded (!) Minnie added it to the bottle as before, along with her mini autumnal finds. We discovered that adding a little filler (pasta) first, then adding an item or two, followed by more filler & then repeating gave the best results.


Apologies there are no pics of the pasta being crushed, I was a preoccupied with my pasta crushing monster. ;-)


The tricolor pasta created some great autumnal colour in the bottle. Lentils would make a good alternative, we just used the pasta as it was in our cupboard at the time, & I knew Minnie would love hammering the pasta & creating lots of noise!

The bottle was sealed as before, then ready to investigate.


Our Summer bottle was our next creation, & for this we used three small jars of dried parsley, dried statice flowers, small silk flowers in a mix of bright colours, dried peas & beans, mini plastic butterflies & bees, & small ladybirds.


The dried parsley represented grass, & was a nice addition to the summer bottle as it's one of the herbs Minnie has been growing in her garden area.


We sealed as before, & our summer bottle was complete.


Finally our Spring bottle. For this was used; flower seeds (collected from our garden a few weeks ago), pumpkin seeds, dry bird food (small seeds), dried statice flowers, green silk leaves, sprigs of silk blossom, a few small leaves cut from green foam, a plastic butterfly & spider.


As Spring is the season for planting seeds it seemed appropriate to add them to this Spring discovery bottle. Hopefully the few small flowers & tiny green leaves will represent the new life that Spring brings. It's nice to think that Minnie collected these seeds from plants she sowed last Spring.


I attached four labels identifying the four seasons, & our Discovery Bottles were ready!


These can be explored separately, or alongside each other & used to compare the seasons. They encourage observation skills, discovery, predictability, & offer an opportunity to investigate nature, colour, shape, & pattern. They can prompt a wealth of language, conversation & stories, & can be explored individually or with a group.

And the thing that I love most about these frugal, fun bottles is that children of all ages can independently explore them. Fantastic!


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27 comments:

  1. Oh my word. These a gorgeous! What a lovely take on discovery bottles AND the 4 seasons. *love*.

    Maggy

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  2. These bottles are simply beautiful! Wow. Well done, mama.

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  3. P.S. I love how you had your child help with the project. My 9 month old and even my two year old would be of little use at this juncture! Always good to know your kids, right? :-)

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  4. Perfect!! Like sensory tubs in a bottle :-) And loving the teacher handwriting- we are recognisable a mile off aren't we?! haha. Really fun idea

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  5. What a great idea - I haven't heard of discovery bottles before but these are such a great way to experience the seasons. PS. Agree with Anna - spot the teacher from the handwriting - no where are my white board markers?

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  6. Those are the best discovery bottles I've come across. Nice job!

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  7. oh my goodness what a wonderful idea love them.

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  8. I love this idea! It's going to be done here--and soon!

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  9. This is an amazing idea!! How clever & they came out so gorgeous!
    I would love for you to link up to my TGIF LInky Party tomorrow - http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/search/label/Linkey%20Parties . Beth

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  10. So inspiring! I want to make a version of this too!

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  11. I still adore these. You are so creative!!!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy

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  12. oooh, I love these too! What a fab idea!

    Thanks for linking to Fun Sparks. xx

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  13. These are beautiful! I am in the process of making some demos for my kiddos and parents at work and these are great inspiration!Kristi

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  14. What a great idea! I love sensory bottles and it's such a great way to teach seasons. Perfect!

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  15. I especially love how the bottles included things the kids observed and found. If I do this with students at each season, they will see how much time is in each, and how all 4 make a year. This would also be a good project for a class science fair display. 100 Q (as in 10 q=thank you)

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  16. These are beautiful! I really like how you took a sensory tub idea, and let your child explore and touch and play for a bit... and then filled up a bottle with them, to keep forever. Whenever your daughter plays with the bottle, she will remember the feel of those items, too. And I appreciate the thought you put into each one as you chose the base substance and the add-ins. My favorite is the parsley--such a rich green summer color. Or maybe the seeds to represent spring. Or, okay, they're all awesome! :o) Found this activity from the spotlight on NTFFC and just pinned it!

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  17. There are so beautiful! My favorite is the Spring bottle :) So cute!

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  18. Followed a link from Pinterest. Now that I know how you made them, I'm even more impressed -- what a brilliant idea!

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  19. These are gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing them with our Spring Carnival. :) I've featured them here: http://sunnydaytodaymama.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-year-round-week-one-7-spring-ideas.html

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  20. Love this! What a fantastic idea. I'm going to add this one to our to do list.

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  21. These are beautiful--so beautiful in fact that I linked to them on my blog! Love your colors and gorgeous pictures!
    Ang
    http://www.themommytalks.com/fun-with-sensory-bottles/

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  22. Lovely, will put this on my to-do list. I have ideas for discovery bottles, one day I will take the leap and make one!

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  23. Oh, I do love these! We've made many discovery bottles over the years, but I've never thought to do seasonal ones!

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  24. Followed a link from Pinterest - These are fantastic idea!

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  25. Unas botellas geniales.
    Gracias por compartir.

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  26. Just wondering, when you said add the liquid, what liquid did you use for each bottle? Thanks. Love sensory/discovery bottles!

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    1. Hi, these Sensory Bottles are all dry & don't have any liquid added :-)

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