Discovery Bottles

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We’ve had our discovery bottles for well over 2 years and they are really lasting well.  I’ve recently added a few more so thought I would share with you what ours are filled with.  These are so easy to make.  All you need it empty clear plastic bottles with lids, a glue gun and whatever you can find to fill them with.  When I first started making these I didn’t have a glue gun so experimented with different sorts of glue and basically for the best results you need a glue gun. These are really cheap, I picked up mine for £5 in Wilkinson and wouldn’t be without it now.

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This one is my favourite! Glycerine and glitter – it is much more effective than it looks in the picture and very relaxing (probably why I like it:))
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Hair Gel and Marbles

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Marbles in Shampoo. Good for comparing with the Marbles in Hair Gel, to see the the different ways the marbles behave in each.

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Animals hidden in shredded paper. Lots of twisting and turning of the bottle required to get the animals to appear.

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Good old glitter in distilled water (snow storms). Quick dramatic results when shook, that can be repeated again soon after.  I used glitter strands in this one

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Car in rice. We use this one to learn about the different parts of a car.  Can you see the wheels / windows / lights / mirrors etc.
Coloured water and oil – I think I need a fish in this one!  I stupidly said to my son the other day ‘look the two liquids don’t mix together’ to which he responded by vigorously shaking the bottle until they did!  After a while they did seperate again!

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This one contains blue food colouring, washing up liquid and water.  Shaking creates fantastic blue bubbles which turn white before popping.

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Giraffe in tiny bits of black plastic.  This one makes a lovely sound as you twist and turn the bottle, trying to find the giraffe.
Coloured sand and perspex numbers. (The sand was coloured with grated green chalk).

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Artificial flower fragranced with oil.  Encourages the use of other senses in exploring the bottles.  You could have a set of discovery boxes that focus entirely on smells.

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Cut up pipe cleaners.  Use magnetic wands to draw the pipe cleaners up the side of the bottle.

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Jumping beans – again can be explored with a magnetic wand.

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Paper clips in de-stilled water to demonstrate that magnetism also works in water.

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We don’t have these out all the time but they are always popular when we do.

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All the children enjoy exploring them,

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Twisting and turning

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And even developing their social skills!

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I had the interests of the children that I cared for at the time in mind when I created these, so may need to add a few more to reflect current interests.
Irresistible Ideas for Play-based Learning provide one way of extending discovery bottle for older children here with their eye-spy bottles.

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