Baby X loves to explore things. He's very methodical and will spend a lot of time quietly inspecting, so I knew that Discovery Bottles would be a big hit for him. Discovery Bottles are a great way for a baby or a toddler to safely explore materials that might be a choking hazard (or otherwise unsafe for little ones). And as a bonus, we find that Discovery Bottles make great decorations! You can see our Discovery Bottles on display in our Playroom here. :)
For our bottles, we used VOSS water bottles, both because the bottles are pretty and because they are BPA free, that way should X want to lick/mouth them, I didn't feel like I needed to discourage him. Though VOSS is supposedly carried by most of the big grocery store chains, I couldn't find any in our local grocery stores. I eventually found them at a nearby Whole Foods, but you might want to call around before venturing out as I guess they are a bit more of a specialty item than you would expect. I think they run around $1.50 a bottle, but luckily Whole Foods was running a sale on them, and since I purchased several at once they gave me a case discount as well!
Like many preschoolers I know, S does not drink enough water. She's always eager to make things for her brother and to do new "projects" with Mama, so I exploited that by telling her we had to drink up the water in each bottle before we could make each Discovery Bottle. She was very well hydrated for a few weeks there, hahaha.
There are so many things you can put into Discovery Bottles - the sky is the limit! You can also choose to display your items just by themselves (in air), or you can add water, baby oil, hair gel, or some other substrate. The thicker the filler material, the more slowly things move - making it an interesting thing for babies to investigate. If you are filling the bottles with a liquid, I would strongly suggest permanently sealing them somehow. For us, using a hot glue gun on low and putting a bead of glue around the bottom of where the cap meets the bottle worked well. As with everything else, always supervise your baby's play, just to be safe.
S making the first Discovery Bottle - rainbow feathers (purchased at Michaels)
Giving sis a big thank you smile!
Investigating. He liked slowly rolling it to see all the different colored feathers; he also enjoyed "drumming" on it and hearing the soft flutter the feathers made as they jumped.
Another Discovery Bottle - this one is ocean themed - water, sand, and small shells (sand and shells purchased at Michaels)
I just love this photo - he really does concentrate and notice all the little details in the bottles. The shells make a really soft clinking noise as you roll the bottle, and of course if you shake it up, it's fun to watch the shells and sand settle to the bottom as he's doing here.
For another bottle, S had decided she wanted to do floating sequins and I found this pack of cool looking multi-colored butterflies that met her standards. We decided to suspend them in baby oil to make them look like they were floating/flying. As S was adding the butterflies, she pointed out that if we bent the wings they would look more like they were flying. What a smart girl! Why didn't I think of that? :) She ultimately decided to fold the wings of about half, and leave the other half of the butterflies flat.
Presenting to little X.
If you have an older sibling making Discovery Bottles, it's fun for them to get to play with the extra materials. Here we took the extra feathers, sand, and shells and made a crazy world for S's plastic guys. She really wanted to make an actual ocean in there, so she dug a "pit" that we filled with water. The tray she's playing in is one of our favorite reusable play items - a disposable turkey basting pan. I got it at the grocery store for around $2 and we use it for lots of our small world play. It comes with a clear plastic top, so you can always seal things in there if you don't want small hands getting in there while you aren't using it.
Another shot of S's crazy ocean world.
Because making the Discovery Bottles was dependent on S finishing the water, we averaged about one a day over around 2 weeks. I always have S present the item she's made to X, and when he'd see her coming with one he'd start giggling and flapping his arms. He just loves his Discovery Bottles!
In addition to the Discovery Bottles seen here, I sent S on a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt and we created a set of Rainbow Discovery Bottles which you can see here!
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.
You are a genius! I seriously love every thing on your blog! My oldest and I want to make one of these for her little sister!ReplyDelete
Hahahaha! Thank you! Yes, they are so fun! And there are endless awesome possibilities. Particularly when you use the VOSS bottles, almost anything you put in there looks amazing!Delete
We had Voss water in the gift baskets for the out of town guests at our wedding, I love how they look! We'll have to get some tomorrow. I think this will be a good activity while we're all sick with yucky colds.Delete
Sounds like a great plan; hope you all are feeling better ASAP!Delete
Hi--I'm not sure I'm posting this question in the proper place :( but I wanted to ask about the Voss water bottles. Are you using the plastic bottles or the glass bottles? Also, what size? When I look on Amazon they have all sorts of different types, sizes, some clear plastic, some not, etc. Any info. you have would be great! Thanks. TerriDelete
Sure! You can ask that question here! I know they offer so many bottles it's way confusing! The VOSS "still" water bottles that are 16.9 oz *should* be plastic, as that is what we bought. It's possible they may now make them in glass, though. I would go by the weight of the listing if you are able to compare two of them - or contact the person selling them directly to clarify. In a store, you'll want to look for the "still" water, as that one is the plastic variety (in our experience). I hope that helps!!! :)Delete
I am so thrilled on what I found on your site..I did find the recipes for my 7month old..You have a lot of great ideas I love your website and I will be visiting a lot...Delete
So glad to hear it!!! And thank you!!! :) :) :)Delete
I have a child with special needs (DS + Autism) and I'm always looking for cool sensory games + toys that I can make at home. Like every other child, she gets bored easily + likes to be surprised with new projects and things to do. :) I plan to make this today! THANK YOU for sharing!ReplyDelete
Katie - Oh, I bet these will be a big hit then! She's so lucky to have such a dedicated mama! Have you also seen our Super Easy Sensory Plays? If not, here's a link to one of them - they seem like something she might enjoy if she loves sensory play - http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/03/super-easy-sensory-play-soap-foam.html. Thank you for visiting and commenting!Delete
Just found your blog and I love this! I have a couple silly questions...did you use glass or plastic bottles? The only VOSS bottles I can find are glass and though they seem pretty strong, I'm not sure they will stand the test of toddlers. =) Also, what did you use to remove the branding from the bottles? I have a couple ideas in mind, but thought I'd check with the expert first. ;-) Thanks!ReplyDelete
Hi Danielle! Thank you so much! The VOSS "still" water bottles that are 16.9 oz *should* be plastic. I know they make a couple different versions, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were some that were glass. Glass would make me nervous, too! I'd keep calling around to see if you can find the plastic kind - if you go to the VOSS website they list all their retailers - that's how I ultimately found them. Though Whole Foods seems to be working for most people if you have a branch near you.Delete
To remove the branding, I peeled and then used the sticky part of the removed sticker to "blot" at the remaining glue and it picked it right off. It was surprisingly fast and easy! Hope that helps!
Thanks, I'll keep looking for the plastic ones! The glass bottle that I have has the decal-like branding and will need to either be etched off or chemically removed. Plastic sounds much better! Thanks!Delete
No problem! I hope you find a place near you that carries them!Delete
You can also remove the sticky residue with equal parts vegetable oil and baking soda. It works great! - AgnesDelete
Oh, that is such a great tip, Agnes! I have never tried that, but we are often trying to get labels off of this or that. Totally using that next time! Thank you!!!Delete
I found a pack of 6 bottles for $6 at TJ Maxx - just thought I'd share in case others were looking! Thanks for the fun ideas, I look forward to doing this soon! - SarahReplyDelete
That's awesome, Sarah! What a deal and I would never have thought to check there. Thank you for sharing the tip!Delete
I have also heard that you can get the sticky residue off with peanut butter. I haven't tried it yet but the next time I have a sticky bottle that will be the first thing I try. Just rub it on and wait a few minutes before cleaning it off.ReplyDelete
Ooh, I hadn't heard of peanut butter - but don't you use it to get gum out of hair? I think so. So probably it would work really well here too!Delete
I only just found your blog, but I have found it really fun to read!ReplyDelete
I was wondering how long does X stay interested in a bottle? I still think they are a great idea - I could see me keeping it in the car for those times when bub is getting tired/frustrated at being restrained
Oh - using them in the car is SO clever, KJ! X still uses them. His favorite by far was the colored turkey feathers, but he and his sister still get them all down and play with them frequently. Now that he's older he loves to use them as colorful maracas, hahahaha!Delete
I LOVE everything on your blog! I have 3 kids and I am like "why didn't I think of that!!!???" Thanks for all the ideas!!ReplyDelete
Hahahaha - thank you so much! :)Delete
I love your discovery bottles so we tried our first one this week, the ocean themed one. I used sand from our sandbox, and I'm guessing that wasn't the best idea because it takes forever to clear up to see the shells. The water looks really dirty, and stays dirty, for a while before you can see the shells again. I'm going to try to open it and try again :/ReplyDelete
Ergh. Yes! Play sand has a lot of dust. You may have success rinsing it several times before adding it to the bottle. We used craft sand for ours so it didn't have that fine dust. But I *think* if you rinse play sand enough times it should work.Delete
what did you use in your bottles? Water ?oil? Did you use equal parts?ReplyDelete
I used all water in the beach bottler and all baby oil in the butterfly bottle. The others are just air. I hope that helps!Delete
These activities are so great! My baby is still a wee bun in the oven but I can't wait to make some of these projects when he's big enough! And, your babies are ADORABLE also by the way :) Thanks for sharing your creative ideas!ReplyDelete
Congrats on your pregnancy! And thank you so much! :) :) :)Delete
Do you seal them somehow? I'm concerned my determined little toddler would open the bottles up. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Yep, superglue works really well. :)Delete
Hi Asia! Where do you buy these bottles?ReplyDelete
You can buy them on Amazon and at some grocery stores (but call first, because they're sometimes not carried in every branch of a chain, etc, etc). We recently spotted them at our local Target, so I'd check there too. I hope you can find some because they are the prettiest bottles!!!Delete
I got so excited about finding these water bottles on Amazon that I didn't realize I ordered the small ones. I guess it can still work though.ReplyDelete