Our I Spy sensory tubs are a huge hit with James and they keep him happily occupied for quite a while, so I wanted to find a way to bring a smaller version of them on our recent trip to NYC.
I've seen I Spy bottles all over the blogworld, so I decided to make a few. James LOVED them and while we were in the airport he would exclaim things like, "I spy an apple! I spy a lion!", which made all the older ladies in the area smile and chuckle. :) One mom actually stopped to ask where I purchased it and was excited when she realized she could make her own!
Once I got started making these, I found I had a hard time stopping! I made this months of the year/holiday themed bottle and created a bingo card to go along with it.
When James finds the object he's looking for, he places a marker on the card.
Here's an ABC bottle. This one is a lot of fun because James has to find the letters in alphabetical order. I made a check list for him to tick off as he found each letter. I laminated this so he can reuse it.
Want to make your own? Here's how:
Find a bottle:
A quick idea is an empty water bottle. Personally, I always prefer glass over plastic (I just think it feels nicer), so I went on a hunt through the grocery store to find a lightweight, cylindrical bottle. Since I wanted this to be easy to travel with, I didn't want anything too long or wide (keep in mind the tiny hands that are playing with this) and I found spice and condiment jars to be the perfect thing. (Incidentally, the food items didn't go to waste, I simply transferred them to another container.)
Think of a theme:
Halloween bottle. Seasonal bottles could be fun, too - you could fill a bottle with sand and shells for summer, or perhaps some brown rice with different colored flowers and bugs to simulate a spring garden.
Find the objects:
Anything hard and small will work - beads, marbles, buttons. Keep in mind, the smaller the bottle, the smaller (and fewer) your objects need to be and vice-versa. The buttons in the above photos work really well in these bottles and can be found here or at most craft or scrapbooking stores and come in a wide variety of themes. You could print tiny photos (a family members bottle would be neat!) or use stickers (stuck back to back) and then laminate them so they're a bit more firm. Things like pom-poms and other fabric items aren't ideal as they do not move fluidly and tend to clog up the bottle.
Find a filler:
I found rice to be the best medium because it's lightweight, it moves easily around your objects and it doesn't stick to them, either. Small pasta or colored salt or sand could work, too. This is a great way to repurpose anything you've used in the past - for example, the rainbow rice in the photo below is from our rainbow theme last year!
Put it all together:
I've tried this a few ways and I found what worked best was to alternate adding objects and the filler, a little at a time. Fill the bottle until your container is about 2/3 full (you want to leave room for everything to move around). Finally, use a hot glue gun to seal the cap to the bottle. Note: if you want to make a bingo card, be sure to take photos of the objects before you put them in your bottle.
~Thank you for your comments!~