Many months ago we were visiting the Children’s Museum here in Seattle. As we explored the “birth to 3 year old” designated area that includes all sorts of amazing puzzles, climbing stairs and slides, mirrors and water play activities, we discovered these wonderful “sight and sound bottles”.
I had been making our own “discovery bottles” for a few months at that point but these bottles launched my inspiration. We use recycled bottles.
Honestly, I searched for the tubes online but failed to find exactly what I was looking for that didn’t already include the contents in the tubes and that wasn’t more money than I wanted to spend. So, we’re sticking with our recycled bottles.
The Best Discovery Bottles
These bottles are great because you can make a bunch from stuff throughout your house, store them away and keep life interesting by pulling out a few every now and then. Also, they give a great sight and sound sensory experience. Beyond that experience, however, there are science lessons on separation, gravity, density, sinking and floating, etc.
Here is a list of the bottles we’ve prepared over the last six months or so. I have two very active, curious boys who are always screwing and unscrewing things, which is great but not for this everyday sight and sound exercise.
So, mainly for my sanity, I tape down the caps of the bottles. If my boys really want to screw off the caps, we switch activities to one that allows them to explore this developmental desire, setting our sight and sound discovery bottles aside.
Materials to Include in Sensory Bottles
- pom poms
- corn kernals
- rice (colorful rice is GREAT!)
- the list goes on…open your cabinets and go crazy!
Pom Poms & Beads
I originally just had beads in the bottle. I added pom poms to mitigate the sound. It didn’t really work but the colorful pom poms are a lot of fun for our baby.
Colorful Wires and Pipe Cleaners
This bottle is a little random. The bottle I used is one we use for batter to make fun pancakes. It is not see through so that adds to the sensory experience. As you can see there is a small opening (for the batter to come out) on the cap.
My toddler uses this hole to thread colorful wires (we had some wire lying around from an art box I purchased a long time ag0) and pipe cleaners into the bottle. Great for fine motor skill development. The bottle makes a cool sound when shaken too.
Corn Kernels, Gems & Jewels
Pretty straightforward. I added “gems” that I purchased from a pet store and “jewels” I purchased from Amazon. You can pick up minerals and great rocks at pet stores to include in sensory bottles and tubs. Great sound and sight discovery.
Shampoo, Magnetic Marbles & Mini Dinosaurs
Yes, kind of random but these cute little dinosaurs were irresistibly colorful so I had to include them. So, this bottle is shampoo which makes for a great, slowed down sight sensory discovery. You can introduce science terms about density, etc to explain the “liquid”.
We have a magnetic wand that when placed against the bottle attracts the marbles. Lots of fun. I bought all these materials at Amazon. The shampoo we already owned (phew!).
Salt & Kidney Beans
Seriously? Does it get any easier than this bottle? Sand is another great option but salt is ready and available. We happen to have kidney beans but add lots of colorful beans…
We had left over water beads. from an amazing sensory tub. So I created a bottle. Colorful and the texture makes for interesting movement. No overt sound, a little “glub” “glub” but that gave us something to talk about…
…Plus we used a bottle with different bumps and curve, which made the experience even better. Tough to see the beautiful color of the beads in this photo. So, trust me on that one.
Glitter, Water, & Oil
This one is your snow globe. Add water and oil, then some colorful, wonderful glitter and voila!
Bouncy Eye Balls
This one we did for Halloween. We used a big lemonade bottle to get the great effect of the sound and feeling of bouncy balls.
We also have a number of “quiet bottles” that are quite colorful.Â We’ve add feathers and pom poms to these bottles.
I use smaller bottles and preferably no liquid to make simple on the go portable travel sight and sound discovery bottles.
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