ABC’s of Discovery Bottles (F – J)

Discovery Bottles F - J by Teach Preschool

F is for fine motor skills and Fireworks and Fairies

A wonderful part of a child-made discovery bottle is the fine motor work that can happen as young children use their fingers to put items in their bottles.  Set out empty water bottles and small objects like pompoms or cotton balls and let your students use their fingers to fill up the bottles then perhaps a set of tweezers to try and pull the objects back out of the bottles. Your students will be discovering what happens as they squish up the pompoms to go into the bottle versus what happens when they let go and try to take the pompom out.  The pompom is much more difficult to pull out then to push in and great for working with tweezers and fine motor skills…

Pompom play with Tweezers

Click here to read more about Fireworks in a Bottle by No Twiddle Twaddle

Click photo to read “Fireworks in a Bottle” by No Twiddle Twaddle

Click here to read "Fairy Garden Discovery Bottle" by Here Come the Girls

Click photo to read “Fairy Garden Discovery Bottle” by Here Come the Girls

G is for Glitter, Glue and Glow

There are different kinds of glitter that can be used in a discovery bottle. One type of glitter is the standard glitter used in most classrooms but this glitter is heavy and sinks quickly down to the bottom of a discovery bottle no matter what kind of liquid is in the bottle.  A second type is a very fine glitter available in small bottles in the craft section at Walmart or in other craft stores.

Click the Photo to view the Glitter (Sparkle) Bottle by My Bodies and I.

Click the Photo to read “Glitter (Sparkle) Bottle” by My Bodies and I

The glitter used in the bottle below is a fine glitter – it was hard to get a good photo but fine glitter really shimmers and flows slowly and brilliantly throughout the discovery bottle.   The bottle you see below has water, fine glitter, and glitter glue to help slow the movement in the bottle…

Glitter Glue Discovery Bottle

See this wonderful posts on how to make a Glitter Glue bottle also known as the Relax or Calming bottle by My Crazy Blessed Life.

Click the photo to view how to make a glowing discovery bottle by Growing a Jeweled Rose

Click the photo to view how to make a glowing discovery bottle by Growing a Jeweled Rose

H is for Hot Glue 

If I use a liquid in my discovery bottle, I almost always hot glue the lid closed. The best way to hot glue a lid closed is to put the hot glue into the lid and then screw the lid onto the bottle. For non-liquid filled discovery bottles, the decision of whether to hot glue the lid on or not is based on how I think the bottle will be used in the classroom or how old the child is that will be playing with the bottle.  Before hot gluing a lid onto a bottle, make sure you are actually ready to permanently close the bottle up because I will tell you from personal experience that it is almost impossible to get that lid off!

Discovery Bottles F - J by Teach Preschool

I is for I Spy

A popular use of discovery bottles is to make them into I Spy games….

I Spy Discovery Bottle  by Teach Preschool

Some folks fill the bottles with colored or plain rice and then add a variety of objects to the rice for the children to shake around and find. Others just fill their bottles with objects (no rice) and invite the children to see what they can spy (find).

Click photo to view the I Spy Discovery Bottle by Domestic Goddesque

Click photo to view “I Spy Discovery Bottle” by Domestic Goddesque

Adding the rice or other fine materials like beans, seeds, or confetti invites the children to shake the bottle and see what new object or color or shape will pop up!

I Spy Colors Discovery Bottle

J is for Jar

Remember, you don’t have to exclusively use a water bottle for a discovery bottle. For older children, you can also use a jar. Perhaps the jar might be best as a table top discovery bottle but a jar will work too…

Discovery Jars by Teach Preschool

Come back tomorrow for more tips and examples of discovery bottles or hop on over the the ABC’s of Discovery Bottles landing page!

More ABC’s…


Be sure to check out the ABC’s of School Activities by my fellow bloggers (shown below)


By |2013-01-08T06:00:25+00:00January 8th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Love the hot glue tip, Deborah. Thank you!

  2. Rebecca January 13, 2013 at 2:27 am - Reply

    Thanks for ink jinx my fairy bottle!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      ink jinx? Is that a good or bad thing:)

      • Rebecca January 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

        Tee hee! Must have forgotten to spell check!

  3. Morgan January 14, 2013 at 12:19 am - Reply

    How do you color rice or can you buy it somewhere already colored? I love that! My son is starting a homeschool preschool curriculum in the fall so we are turning our spare room into a full blown classroom! I love your website as it has given me so many affordable options compared to the education stores!

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok