Bottle Babies : Open-ended Resources

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 I was recently invited to join an on-line group of early years professionals from around the world.  The group is truely inspirational, sharing my passion for early years and providing the best possible care and education for little ones.

One idea that was recently introduced by Lesley from Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School was ‘bottle babies’ (The Out-of-sync Child Has Fun).   Although this idea was designed for children with sensory processing disorders, they can  be a useful resource for all children.  As they are an open-ended resource, they do not have a specific purpose or function, freeing the children up to use their creativity and imagination as they incorporate them into their play.  My interpretation from the discussions is that bottle babies, as well as supporting imaginative play and creativity, support the children in developing their gross and fine motor skills through handling the bottles, which are quite heavy (2 litre bottles are recommended). The name ‘bottle baby’ helps the children to adopt a caring attitude and behaviour towards the bottles.


In order to create a sense of ownership, I was keen to involve the children in making the bottles (another idea suggested within the group!)  As my children are all currently under 2, I decided to opt for 1.5 litre bottles.  We also used diluted food colouring and an assortment of resources such as sequins, glitter, glitter stands etc to fill the bottles.  I hadn’t been particularly organised with this activity and had to settle for what I could find in the garage.


I got my son to ‘test out’ creating the bottle babies first, before letting the little ones loose on the activity!  We used the hose pipe to fill the bottles, added diluted food colouring.


Added glitter.

And gave the bottles a good shake.Success!


We didn’t let the rain get in the way of our bottle baby making!
The little ones only needed a little direction with this activity and were able to do almost all of it on their own.  Getting the water from the hose pipe into the bottles did prove a bit tricky.


But with perseverance they managed it!


Next they added food colouring, listening to and following the instruction to ‘just add a little bit at a time’.


Next they selected what they would like to add to their bottle, sequin stars were chosen to add to this one.


It proved to be a very popular activity and the children had to wait patiently for their turn with the hose pipe.  It was so popular that the 6 bottles I had put aside weren’t enough and I had to search for more!


Yellow this time!

Glitter proved to be very popular and looked fantastic in the bottles.


Giving it a good shake!


Bottle baby production fully underway.  The only one we didn’t like was the black one.  Lucky my son made this one and was happy to empty it out and have another go!


We did eventually run out of bottles, but I think the children would have been happy to carry on making them for much longer!


Our finished bottle babies, all ready for play next week!



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