our everyday life

How to Make Science Bottles for Preschool Children

by Erica Loop

Science bottles are easy exploration activities that are just as portable as they are educational. Preschoolers can explore liquids, solids and anything in between using these sensory science items. Instead of buying ready-made science bottles, you can make your own for your child. As an added bonus, crafting your own science bottles for preschool children means that you can tailor the contents to your little learner's interests. Reuse old plastic water bottles, recycling them into an educational -- and entertaining -- activity that 3- to 5-year-olds are sure to enjoy.

Liquid Bottles

Wash and dry your plastic water, or other drink, bottles. Take the caps off and set them aside for later.

Fill a bottle halfway up with water. Add two or three pinches of metallic glitter and a pinch of shining sequins to the water. When the bottle is ready to go, your preschooler can enjoy the glittery effect or hold it up to the light to see how reflection works. If you notice the glitter or sequins clumping together, add a squirt of baby oil to the bottle.

Fill another bottle with water and cooking oil to make a density experiment bottle. Add a drop or two of food coloring to mix with the water.

Secure the cap on each bottle top securely. Dot glue around the bottom of the bottle cap to create a seal with the glue gun. Wait for the glue to cool and dry. Add a layer of duct tape over the entire cap to make the seal extra tight. Give your preschooler the bottles. She can shake them back and forth, watching the water flow and the pieces inside move through the waves.

Solid Science Bottles

Wash and dry the plastic water bottles. Select solid -- or semi-solid -- objects to put in the bottles.

Gather dirt or soil, rocks and pebbles, small-sized pine cones, tiny twigs and leaves to create a nature science exploration bottle. Fill the bottle halfway up with soil. Insert the other natural materials into the bottle. Close the cap on the top tightly.

Add soil and plastic toy insects or animals to another bottle to create a bio bottle. You could also use corn syrup as an ooey, gooey medium. Just fill the bottle partially up with this slow-moving substance, then drop in plastic animals or insects. Mix the plastic toys around to coat them with the syrup. Secure the cap on the top to close the bio bottle.

Seal the solid bottles together in the same way that you did with the liquid ones. Dot glue, with the hot glue gun, around the top. Finish the science bottles with a layer of duct tape at the top around the cap.

Items you will need
  • Clear plastic water bottles
  • Glue gun
  • Duct tape
  • Water or other liquids
  • Glitter and sequins
  • Cooking oil
  • Food coloring
  • Soil
  • Natural objects such as pebbles, small pine cones and twigs
  • Corn syrup
  • Clear hair gel
  • Baby oil
  • Small-sized plastic animal or insect toys

Tips

  • Make a super-sized science bottle. Use a 2-liter soda bottle instead of a water bottle to create a larger project.
  • Brainstorm other science bottle ideas with your preschooler. Ask her for ideas on what she may like to use. If the ideas are reasonable, give them a try.
  • Instead of only using water, try other colored liquids such as juice.

Warnings

  • Never allow your preschooler near the hot glue gun. Only you, or another adult, should use this potentially hazardous craft item.
  • Don't touch the glue until you are sure that it is cool. Sit the bottle aside for 10 or 15 minutes to allow the glue to cool.
  • Avoid any items that may pose a choking hazard for your child.
  • If you use fruit juice or another beverage to add color, throw away the bottle before the contents go bad.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images