Most preschool teachers I know LOVE discovery bottles! We like to find all kinds of ways to make them engaging and interesting for children to explore. We search for interesting objects to put in them. We search Pinterest to get new ideas. We hoard (ah, I mean, COLLECT) and save our empty water bottles for when we are ready to make our next batch.
So, last week, I thought it would be fun to get the children to make discovery bottles for their classroom. Engaging children in the process of making colorful collage discovery bottles is a good activity for learning colors and a great opportunity to practice sorting.
First, I collected enough clean (and emptied) water bottles for each child. Then I gathered a variety of small collage items – small enough to fit into the opening of a water bottle.
When we were ready to sort, I set out pieces of colored construction paper (representing the colors of the collage materials) onto tables.
Each child had a small container filled with a selection of the collage items and they went around the room and matched each item to a colored paper. Using the colored construction paper was helpful for our young preschoolers to see if their color matches as they sorted.
After all items have been sorted, each child chose a color and filled a bottle with only items of that color. We talked about the different shades of the colors (i.e.. some items are light blue, some are a darker blue … but ALL the items are blue).
Once filled, we put the caps on and placed them in our science area for future exploration. You can choose to hot glue the caps so the bottles can’t be opened again – but you can also choose not to (since there is nothing liquid or messy in them), and allow children to try to empty and refill bottles.
To add additional challenge to this activity … instead of using colored paper for the sorting process, have white paper with the color words written on them. This will reinforce the color sight words as the children match their colored items to the correct color word.
When children make the discovery bottles themselves, they take more ownership and interest in them. They can talk about what they filled their bottle with, how the items felt, and what the bottle sounds like when they shake it!