Do you have any old baby bottles hanging around?
I happen to have a massive collection of four ounce bottles from my twins’ NICU days. The hospital discarded them after one use, and the crafty mama in me just couldn’t stand seeing them go to waste so I saved them on their way to the trash. However, even if I didn’t, we have a bunch of baby bottles shoved in a cabinet- mostly free samples from registry gift bags and the like. How many of you have the same stash? Or a pile of bottles your toddler has grown out of? Let’s face it, baby bottles are not something that people really want second hand!
So why not turn them into some cool rattles and glitter jars in an exciting rainbow of colors? These little jars are the perfect size for toddler hands and they look adorable!
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-Baby bottles with screw on lids (6 per set if you want to do all the colors). If you don’t have used ones to upcycle, this is the brand I used, but any small recycled bottle would work. If you want slightly larger bottles, Voss Water bottles are the gold standard in the sensory bottle world.
-Clear liquid hand soap- get the cheapest refill bottle you can find!
-Colored glitter- I got a set of little packages at Walmart but this set would work too!
-dry white rice
-dry white beans
–Gorilla glue (or other super glue)
–Colored Sharpies (optional)
To make the glitter jars,
start by lining up your six bottles;
Fill them a little less than halfway with the hand soap.
Then add the same amount of water, leaving a little empty space at the top.
Drop in about one drop of food coloring per ounce
(I used more than that but mine came out too dark.) You can adjust if it doesn’t seem like enough. You may need a little extra with light colors like yellow and green.
Then the fun part- add some colored glitter to each jar!
Once you are satisfied, it’s time to glue on the lids!
Start at the top of the threads on the jar and spread the glue around one full circle, then stop. I used Gorilla glue, which expands when it sets, so I didn’t want it puffing out from the bottom of the lid.
Screw the lids on tightly and they’re almost ready!
Optional last step- color the bottle caps with sharpie!
It made them look a lot more exciting, but whether you want to skip this step depends on the style of bottle you’re using and whether you think your child is going to mouth them- I’m guessing you don’t want them sucking on permanent marker! As always, you should decide what’s safe for your child.
Here is the finished product;
To make the rice and bean shakers:
first, dye the rice and beans rainbow colors. I used the method from Asia Citro’s seriously life changing book, 150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids. You can also go to her website, “Fun at Home with Kids” to find the same tutorials for dyeing rice and beans online.
Once the rice and/or beans have dried, pour each color into its own bottle. I filled the bottles with rice about three quarters of the way, and the ones with beans about halfway, so there would be room for them to shake and rattle!
Once again, glue the lids shut and color if desired.
And voila! Your rattles are ready to go!
These things are super fun and there are a million ways to use them! Every toddler that visits to my house gravitates towards them immediately.
Here are some of the possible uses;
-With very young babies, you can shake a rattle as you move it around so they can practice tracking objects with their eyes
-Shake them along with favorite songs
-Use them to talk about colors and sounds, compare the rice and the bean shakers to discuss “little” and “big”
-Build towers with them to see how high they can go!
-Investigate them on a light table
-Have your child shake the glitter jars when they’re upset and watch the glitter swirl as they calm down
-Play a game where you toss a blanket over the pile of shakers and secretly gather one up. Hand the bunched up blanket to your toddler and let them delight in unfolding it to discover which color you picked!
What other uses can you think of?
What kind of recycled bottles would you use to make some rainbow rattles or glitter jars? Leave a comment and let me know!
Looking for another easy sensory activity for babies and toddlers? Make sure to check out my DIY Sensory Play Box for Babies or my Squishy, Colorful Sensory Board! These bottles also look awesome on my EASY DIY 2-in-1 Light Table and Sensory Bin!
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