Discovery bottles are great resources for preschoolers. They can create wonder, encourage conversation, build vocabulary, and develop visual skills. And they are great fun!
When you make your own bottles, you can create resources that are just what you want or need. Create bottles for specific themes or that meet your children’s interests. These discovery bottles are perfect for your science center or sensory area.
Baby Soda Discovery Bottles
I like to use baby soda bottles to create my discovery bottles. A baby soda bottle looks like a test tube and has a lid like a regular soda bottle. The bottle is made of thick plastic and does not break when dropped. (What is a baby soda bottle? It’s what companies use to make regular soda bottles; these tubes are heated and formed into bottle shapes.)
Using baby soda bottles are great for preschool classrooms:
- They are just the right size to fit a a child’s hand.
- They are not as heavy to carry or move when filled.
- They are easy to display in a basket on a shelf.
- They are easier to store since they take less room and are a simple shape.
- They last a long time.
You can use these great discovery bottles in your science center for observation or put them in your calm down center (or safe spot) for calming. Many of these bottles also work great on a light table.
Making Baby Soda Discovery Bottles
Watch this video to see some of the baby soda bottles I’ve made. Many are just fun to watch as you move them back and forth.
Discovery Bottle Ideas
- Water Beads + water
- Baby oil + shaped erasers – I used emoticon erasers
- Alphabet pasta – To color pasta, put it in a bag with food coloring and rubbing alcohol; shake; let dry. (Use this with a magnifying glass to find specific letters in the bottle.)
- Pearlized powder (1/4 t.) + food coloring + water
- Baby oil + food coloring + water
- Pink shampoo + wiggle eyes
- Iron filings (use with magnet wand)
- Pieces of pipe cleaners (chenille stems) (use with wand magnet)
- Craft sand + small letter beads
- Craft sand + small objects
- Loom bands
- Colored rice
- Small leaves for fall
- Letter bottles – small objects with same beginning letter sound
- Corn syrup + food coloring + glitter
Tips for Making and Using Bottles
- Don’t fill the bottles completely. Leave at least a small space at the top so liquid or materials will move back and forth.
- Glue lids onto the bottles. The lids are tight and difficult to remove but using glue will insure that the bottles are safe for young children. Use hot glue, epoxy glue, or E6000 glue.
- Liquids to use in discovery bottles: vegetable oil, mineral oil, baby oil, corn syrup, dish soap, shampoo, hair gel, water.
- Put several discovery bottles in a cubby tub. Set the tub on a shelf, a table, or the floor.
- Stand a few bottles on a shelf or table. They will stand on their lids.
Sources for Some Resources
Check your local dollar store or other discount stores for liquids and small objects for your discovery bottles.
More Science Ideas