Rainstick in a bottle

Tis the season of lots of rain and with all that rain, we were inspired to make our own rainstick in a bottle…

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Miss Lauren came up with this brilliant and simple idea for the children to make. She wanted the children to explore the weather with all their senses and the rainstick in a bottle invited the children to listen to the ‘rain’ and to look at the ‘rain’ as it flowed through their ‘clouds’.

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

I love the rainstick in a bottle because it includes time in sensory play, as well as invites creativity along with further discussion about the weather.

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Miss Lauren saved up plastic bottles for the children to use. I think the bottles were Sparkling Water bottles but I am not for sure. To make the rainstick in a bottle, the children began by filling their bottles with cotton ball clouds. It is better to not pack the bottle full of cotton balls but to fill it lightly so that the rain can trickle down to the bottle of the bottle.

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Once the children added their clouds, they were ready to add the rain. The children could use the funnel to add rain to their bottles or just use their hands and sprinkle the rain right over the rice tub.

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Miss Lauren added colored rice for the rain. She placed the rice in a baggie with blue liquid watercolor then kneaded the bag till all the rice turned the desired color of blue. Then she spread the rice out on a tray and left it to dry overnight.

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

As you can see, not every child followed the order that I described above when making their rainsticks in a bottle but it didn’t really matter…

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

All that mattered was adding a little of both cotton and rice. We didn’t worry about amounts as the children could test it out to see if they liked the amounts they added to their bottle. If not, just pour some out and start again!

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Once the bottle had the desired amount of clouds and rain, its time to put on the lid and watch the rain flow through the clouds as they turned the bottle slowly up then down…

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Oh, and don’t forget to add your name!

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

The rainstick in a bottle center remained open through out the morning so the children would have plenty of time to create their rainstick…

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

This was an activity that the children enjoyed exploring and it was fun watching them enjoy the process!

Rainstick in a bottle by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Exploring Raindrops and Clouds by Teach Preschool

Rainy Day Drawing Cube on Preschool Spot!

For more great spring idea see Spring on Pinterest – click here!

By | March 16th, 2016|Categories: Discovery Bottles, DIY, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

The rainbow center

With spring coming around the corner and all the crazy weather we have been having, it has naturally been a great opportunity to explore rainbows. Last week, we invited the children to explore the colors of the rainbow in our rainbow center…

The Rainbow Center by Teach Preschool

 

We have a bookshelf that always seemed to stump us as to what to do with it until we decided just to make it a “thematic center.” Each week we change the items on the center to reflect something the children are interested in or at other times, we build the shelf around a unit/theme we are talking about…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

The rainbow center was fairly simple in set up. The biggest attraction were the colorful discovery bottles…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

The discovery bottles are plastic Voss Bottles we purchased from Boxed.Com. Each bottle has it’s own ingredients inside but most of them contain colored water and glitter. Some of them also have baby oil and beads in them. Once the bottles are ready to go, we hot glue them closed…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

The rainbow center also included a set of rainbow puppets for the children to play with and to perhaps invite a little more conversation about color…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

This rainbow discovery bottle was a little different in that it didn’t shake up or move any but it did provide a beautiful look at the colors of a rainbow. This bottle was filled with hair gel from the Dollar Tree. You can see a complete tutorial on how to make this bottle over at Preschool Inspirations!

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

I would have liked to have added a few prisms and other rainbow gadgets but we will continue to build our collection of rainbow things for next time…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

Every time we put together this center, it is always interesting to see what the children will do with the items we provide. Most of the items are homemade but sometimes, we go out and buy something simple and cool to add to the center too.

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

One thing to keep in mind is that we intentionally keep the center simple in design. In other words, we don’t overload the center with things as it makes it harder for the children to really explore and find things…

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

We used the clear plastic Voss Bottles as magnifiers for the children to roll across the rainbows laying flat on the shelf. The rainbows will turn over as you roll the bottle across…

The Rainbow Center by Teach Preschool

Our rainbow center worked out nicely for the week. It gave the children lots of opportunity to explore and talk about all the colors of the rainbow!

The rainbow center by Teach Preschool

 

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

How to Flip a Rainbow by Lemon Lime Adventures

DIY Rainbow Glasses by Kid’s Stuff World

Rainbow Slime by Teach Preschool

12 Rainbows to Create and Explore by Teach Preschool

To see more ideas for Rainbows on Pinterest – click here!

Put your favorite children’s book in a discovery bottle!

I am joining a few of my fellow bloggers today to bring you some new ideas for making Affordable and Amazing Discovery Bottles!

Discovery Bottles

I have been making a new collection of discovery bottles this year which I call Literacy Discovery Bottles. I consider this set of discovery bottles amazing in that they are a fun way to extend a favorite children’s book in the classroom. They are affordable in that you can use simple toys or items you have around the classroom or house to make your own set of bottles.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Rather than telling you how to make a discovery bottle, I will just give you a few examples of the literacy discovery bottles I have made so that you can get the idea and then head off to choose your own favorite books to bottle up!

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

For each literacy discovery bottle I have made, I simply looked around for a few small objects that represent an idea, character, or object from a book we have read in class. After reading Elmer, for example, I added a few colorful square blocks that I had on hand. This set of small blocks have always reminded me of the colors and squares in Elmer’s patchwork coat. I also added a small toy elephant to the bottle.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Ingredients

For each of my literacy discovery bottles, I used Voss plastic water bottles and I rotated only four liquid ingredients in each of my bottles – water, baby oil, a drop of dish soap, and/or food color. Although I like the objects to move around in unusual ways in the bottles, where possible, I mostly wanted the focus to be on the objects and the story the objects remind the children of. My Elmer the Elephant Discovery bottle is filled with water only.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

While reading Elmer to the children, the children passed the Elmer Discovery Bottle around the circle. The child holding the discovery bottle sat quietly and moved Elmer and his colorful blocks up and down the bottle as I read a page in our book.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

When I turned to read a new page of the book, the bottle was passed to the next child for his or her turn to move the bottle. Often times, discovery bottles (with glitter and oil) are also referred to as “calming bottles” because the glitter slowly makes its way from one end to the other end of the bottle. I will say that the children enjoyed slowly watching the blocks drift up and down the bottle and it made for a very calming read-aloud experience too…

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

I don’t just use my literacy discovery bottles in circletime. In fact, I often will introduce the bottle to the children after reading our book and then leave it sitting on a shelf by or near the book somewhere in the classroom. The goal is to invite the children to explore the bottles anytime they like and for the bottles to remind the children of the books we have read or to inspire the children to talk about the stories or even retell the stories in their own words.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Following are a few examples of favorite books I have read this year in my classroom or at home with my grandson along with the literacy bottles I have made to go with each book…

Stick and Stone by Tom Lichtenheld 

Inside the bottle: A Stick and a Stone and Water (with a touch of Dawn soap to represent the ocean bubbles).

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Buskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

Inside the bottle: A toy construction truck and an orange work zone cone, rocks, water, and a touch of blue food color (I need to add a few stars). The construction truck moves the rocks around the bottle.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

The Mixed-Up Chameleon By Eric Carle

Inside the bottle: water, baby oil, red food color, a toy chameleon and a toy fly. The chameleon can’t eat the fly no matter which way you turn the bottle. This bottle dropped just right one day and the lid broke. The middle part of the lid is still in tact and it doesn’t leak so the kids just move the broken ring of the lid out of the way until I have a chance to replace the entire lid.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Dinosaur Farm By Frann Preston-Gannon

Inside the bottle: Baby oil, a toy tractor and a couple of toy dinosaurs.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

These are just a few of the many different Literacy Discovery Bottles I have sitting around my classroom. I would really like to make a bottle to go with every one of my favorite books! I am sure you will be able to come up with some great ideas for your favorite books too!

The Grouchy Ladybug By Eric Carle

Inside the bottle: lady bug buttons, baby oil, water, and a stick.

Children's Literacy in a bottle!

Now be sure to check out the links below for more Affordable and Amazing discovery bottles

Magic Two Ingredient Sensory Bottle | Preschool Inspirations

Suspended Beads Dollar Tree Discovery Bottle | Fun at Home with Kids

Weighted Discovery Bottles | Play to Learn Preschool

Marble Color Mixing Discovery Bottle | Still Playing School

Beaded Names Discovery Bottle | Stay At Home Educator

Available on Amazon

Simple child made discovery bottles

I love to keep a broad selection of discovery bottles in my outdoor classroom. They add color to the room and they naturally invite my students to pick them up for play and exploration. My students enjoy making their own discovery bottles too only their version is a little more simple than the ones they find sitting around the window sill of my outdoor classroom…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool.jpg

I collect a lot of different shapes and sizes of clear plastic bottles all throughout the school year. I keep them in large plastic ziplock bags by type or size so when I need a set, I can easily find a matching set with lids ready to go…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

Some of the bottles I collect require me to remove the sticky residue off the bottle left by the label and others I collect have a nice label that slips right off the bottle. So naturally, I pay attention to which kinds of bottle I collect because taking the sticky residue off lots of bottles takes time and can be a pain to deal with. The bottles shown above and below still had some sticky left along one side of them so my students thought it was pretty cool to stick the bottles together! But usually, I take the time to remove all the sticky…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

Once I have a set of bottles (enough for each child to have one of his or her own) then I set them out for the children to make their own discovery bottles along with the supplies they will need…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

The two types of discovery bottles I am sharing today include a yarn discovery bottle and a bug discovery bottle…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

In both cases, the focus for my students was on the process of filling their bottles. For the yarn discovery bottle, the children had to select the colors of yarn they liked, cut it into a variety of lengths, and drop it down into the bottles until they had the amount of yarn they desired for their bottles…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

For the bug discovery bottle, I set out lots of bugs from the Dollar store. The children were invited to choose one or two of their favorite bugs from around the classroom and drop them into a bottle.  The challenge was to squeeze the bugs so they would fit into the skinny opening of the bottle. There was some trial and error in the process as not every bug was squeezable enough to fit into the bottles so the children had to keep looking until they could find bugs that would work…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

In every discovery bottle we make, the children spend time making choices about the items they will add to their discovery bottles or the amount of items they will add. They also use fine motor skills to put the items in their bottles and have to follow a few steps to complete their discovery bottles…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

For almost every discovery bottle the children make, they complete their bottles by adding water to them.  In our outdoor classroom, fresh water is available in a bucket for the children to fill up their bottles. In our indoor classroom, the children simply go to the sink and fill their bottles up with water..

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

My students love making their own discovery bottles even if all we use is water to complete them. I save the more elaborate discovery bottles that have oil and food color and all the other more messy ingredients either for a special discovery bottle project or for the bottles I make and keep around the classroom…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

Here are the classroom bug discovery bottles that I made with 3/4 baby oil, 1/4 colored water, and a few bugs. The lids are hot glued in place so the bottles can’t be opened.  I do not glue the lids on our kid-made water-filled discovery bottles…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool.jpg

In the end, the children spend time looking through their bottles and noticing the small details about the items they put in them and how the items move in the water. The process involves a variety of skills from pouring water into a small opening, squeezing objects to fit into the bottles, and making decisions about what to put in the bottles. The process is somewhat an expression of art and science as the children create something beautiful while at the same time explore the flow of their objects in the water…

Kid made discovery bottles by Teach Preschool

So there is my very long explanation of a very simple child-made discovery bottle. Gather your bottles, a variety of materials (can be small toys or even items from nature) that the children can cut, squeeze, or somehow else fit inside them, and let the children add water!

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Rubber loom bands in a discovery bottle

Last week I shared with you how we used rubber loom bands to make our own musical instruments. Well, I collected way more loom bands than I needed for that particular process so while home on spring break, my grandson and I came up with a way to use up some of those loom bands…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

This really couldn’t be more simple but my grandson enjoyed the process and loved making his own discovery bottle all by himself.  He started by putting a few loom bands in an empty water bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

Using his fingers to pick up the rubber bands and dropping them through the neck of the water bottle was great fine motor control and skill building material for my grandson…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

Oh but after about two minutes of picking up rubber bands and poking them into the bottle just a few at a time, my grandson decided he had a better idea and grabbed a big bunch of rubber bands to put inside the bottle instead…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

But he started to figure out that in order to fill up his bottle with these rubber bands, he was going to have to be more patient… eventually…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

So he went back and forth between trying to fit big handfuls of rubber bands into the bottle and just a few at a time into the bottle until he was happy with the amount of rubber bands he had in his bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

And then he was off to fill his bottle with water (which was actually his favorite part of this process)…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles2026

I made sure the lid was hot glued to the bottle nice and tight then my grandson was off to explore his very first, very own, made all by himself, discovery bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

My grandson ended up making two rubber loom band discovery bottles and I made one (so we had an extra for my younger grandson after naptime)…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

The brightly colored rubber loom bands look great in the water and they do a terrific job of floating slowly around the water as you move it back and forth. I think a taller bottle would look awesome and it just so happens that I still have a few left over to make one more discovery bottle to keep in the classroom…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles2042

Available on Amazon

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: Discovery Bottles, DIY|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Earth day discovery bottles

We made these beautiful Earth day discovery bottles (also called glitter globes) earlier in the school year but I saved the photos to share with you during our Earth day unit. And besides, as you know, it doesn’t have to be Earth day to celebrate the earth…

Earth Day Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

To make the Earth day discovery bottles (or glitter globes), we gathered:

  • One empty water bottle per child (A baby food jar would work too)
  • Silver glitter (fine glitter really works best)
  • Plastic yellow gems (stars)
  • Plastic blue beads (earth)
  • Small pitchers of water
  • Blue food color

The bottles we used are called Aqua Pod water bottles which you can view here too!

The children began by adding their own water to their bottles...

The children began by adding their own glitter to their bottles…

The children began by adding their own water to their bottles...

Then the children added one blue bead and one yellow star gem…

The children began by adding their own water to their bottles...

And next, the children added water to their bottles and a few drops of blue food color…

The children began by adding their own water to their bottles...

Once all the ingredients were added, the children added the lid to the bottle on top which the teachers hot glued in place later on…

Earth Day Discovery Bottle by Teach Preschool

Thank you to Mrs. Lois, one of our really cool grandmas, for planning this activity for us!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

 ABC’s of Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

Earth Suncatcher Craft by Learn, Create, Love

Earth day Globes by Housing a Forest

By | April 19th, 2013|Categories: Discovery Bottles|Tags: , , |1 Comment

A pine needle in a bottle

There is just something about pinecones and pine needles that are so inviting and so beautiful. I wanted my students to take a closer look at the pine needles so I made up a few pine needle discovery bottles to add to our classroom collection…

I only added water and pine needles to the bottles and I hot glued the lids closed.  As the children looked through the bottles, the pine needles were magnified by the curves of the bottles which really gives a fun perspective of the pine needles…

I am always collecting different sizes and shapes of water bottles so I invited the children to make their own pine needle discovery bottles too…

They started by adding a one or more pine needle branches to their water bottle and then filling up the bottle with water almost to the top…

Once the water was added, the children added a few pinches or spoon fulls of glitter to their bottle…

Then the children brought the bottles over to me and I added hot glue to the inside of their lids and put them on the bottles…

These were pretty tall bottles and perhaps a bit on the heavy side too:)   But the children loved them and enjoyed shaking the glitter with both hands and watching the glitter land all around their pine needles…

The children took their pine needle discovery bottles home at the end of the day and I set mine back up on our discovery shelf…

Available on Amazon

By | December 11th, 2012|Categories: Discovery Bottles|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Pumpkin head discovery bottles

We read the wonderful children’s book titled “Pumpkin Heads” by Wendell Minor. This is a beautifully illustrated book with easy to read print that shares different pumpkins faces one might find in obvious and unusual places…

The children loved this book and it sparked some wonderful conversation and vocabulary words about emotions, pumpkins, pumpkin patch, and more. After we finished reading the book, I invited the children to show me their happy, sad, surprised, mad, scared, and silly faces…

Then the children were off to make their own pumpkin head discovery bottles…

To make the pumpkin head discovery bottles, we used a little silver glitter, some orange food color, water, and a few drops of glycerin (which I am not sure if the glycerin is really necessary).

Each child started by drawing a pumpkin face on their empty water bottle…

Then the children put a little bit of food color and glycerin in the bottom of their bottles…

And then the children filled up their bottles with water and finished up by adding some glitter on top of the water…

Then the children put the lid back onto their bottles and shook their bottles until all the ingredients were mixed together…

I hot glued the lids onto the bottles for the children so they could take them home without spilling them…

And although the bottles looked great as is, I did something I almost never do – I added a length of green yarn around the “stem” of the pumpkin heads as a finishing touch instead of having the children do it.  We kind of ran out of time…

We set the pumpkin heads up by our light table so the children can explore them another tomorrow.  And then the children will take their pumpkin heads home…

Simpy Beautiful!

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PS…

The plastic water bottles we collected and used are called Aqua Pod!  They do not have a label on them that leave a sticky residue which is wonderful. They are not super thick but we love them and have been using them for lots of different activities which I will be sharing soon!  These bottles are available at grocery stores like Marsh and Meijer.

Nuts about acorns in preschool | Lois Ehlert

As I have mentioned before, there are tons of acorns laying around the grounds of our preschool which means we have lots of squirrels too…

As part of our ongoing study of acorns and squirrels, we read the book titled “Nuts to You” by Lois Ehlert…

Which led to a discussion about the squirrels that live in our trees and the acorns they eat and hide all around our preschool grounds…

After reading the book, I set out a pile of acorns and asked the children to guess (or estimate) how many acorns were in my pile. Once the children placed a guess, we spread the acorns out and counted them to see for sure how many acorns were in that pile…

And then I asked the children to estimate how many acorns they could hold in their hand then invited the children to place the acorns, one at a time, in their hand to count how many they could actually hold in their hand…

We discovered that because Mrs. Stewart’s hands were bigger, she could hold the most acorns in her hand…

Then the children went off to the tables to explore more with our collection of acorns.  At the discovery table, the children used some of the acorns to make acorn discovery shaker bottles…

The challenging part of this process was trying to figure out which acorns would fit into the small hole at the top of the bottle and which acorns would not…

The children had to dig through our acorn basket to find just the right acorns for their bottles and then through trial and error, discover which acorns would work.  The children discovered that some acorns would fit just fine but because of the acorn cap, the acorns would not go all the way into the bottle so they had to choose to either take off the cap or find another acorn…

Lots of thinking, manipulating, and problem solving involved in this hands-on process and once the children were done with their bottles, we made lots of noise shaking those bottles around the room…

Tomorrow I will share with you what may be our very last acorn activity but who knows? As long as there are acorns to be found laying on the ground we may just find another way to learn with them!

I will add this activity to all the other wonderful Lois Ehlert books and activities being shared by my fellow bloggers in the Virtual Book Club for Kids this week.  If you want to see all the other Lois Ehlert books with activities, then just click here and view the linky below the post…

VirtualBookClub

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The discovery of color in a bottle

I have been working on building a collection of discovery bottles to add to the shelf located just above my light table…

My husband built the shelf for me and although I can use it to display books or even artwork, I wanted to begin the year with setting out a variety of discovery bottles as I come up with them…

So far, all my discovery bottles have in them is baby oil and water and a few of them have beads. I hot glued the lids closed so the children can walk around them, shake them, and put them on the light table without the worry of water leaking out of the bottles…

I chose to focus first on just different colors as this is the beginning of our new school year and it gives me an opportunity to ask the children what color they have in the bottle they are exploring…

I like having the shelf as well to display them on. I like that the children have to look up and reach up to get them and to put them away. Just the act of reaching up brings in a little stretching in the indoor environment…

My students already know how to turn the light table on and off by themselves and it is a center that is available for their play anytime in our indoor classroom…

I am excited to get busy making more discovery bottles – now I just need to have a little more spare time! Of course, as we progress along in the school year, I will invite my students to help me make  their own discovery bottles to add to our collection…

Have you made any discovery bottles? I would love to hear what you have found to put inside your bottles!

Available on Amazon

A Must See Link to Grow On

Discover, Experiment, and Explore with Discovery Bottles By Ayn Colsh of Little Illuminations

By | September 7th, 2012|Categories: Discovery Bottles|Tags: , , |31 Comments