treasure in a bottle

This is an easy project that entertains kids longer than you would think possible.

You will need a clear bottle. I used a 2 liter soda bottle that I bought for the single reason of using it for this project. My kids rarely get to have soda, so that was also a treat.

Fill the bottle 2/3 of the way full with birdseed or rice. (I chose birdseed because I can reuse it to feed to the birds, unlike the rice. You will be tempted to fill it more than 2/3, I know I was. But don’t do it. It makes it impossible for the birdseed to really move inside the bottle and for the “treasures” to get lost and found inside.

What lurks beneath the bird seed?

Go around the house and find little things to put inside the bottle. Basically anything that will fit through the small hole on the top of the bottle is good.

I put inside:

diaper pin
barbie shoe
wooden bead
plastic ring
crayon nub

as well as a few tiny random toy pieces I found lying around the house.

Screw the lid on tight.

The give the bottle to them and let them shake, roll, and smack it to find the little “treasures”

Oh, look, a barbie shoe

More fun than you would think possible.

15 Responses to “treasure in a bottle”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    If you do not want them to drink the soda, pop a mentos in there, or a spoonful of salt, and watch it explode with bubbles! It works better if it is a diet soda. I put it in the bathtub to reduce clean-up.

  2. Lisa Says:

    You just keep getting more and more BRILLIANT!!!
    I was at…someplace…and almost paid a WHOLE bunch of money for a toy exactly like this one, never once thinking that I could just make one myself! (Only the other one didn’t have birdseed, it was plastic beads and it cost $15, I think.)
    P.S. I bought a huge bag of rice yesterday and it’s sitting in my kitchen, all waiting to be colored!

  3. jodi Says:

    Wow! That’s too easy. Why didn’t I think of it? We just finished a bottle of juice so I’ll get that out of the recycle bin and actually recycle it myself as a toy! Thanks for the great ideas this month!!!

  4. Steph Says:

    I am SO doing this for my Pre-K classroom!

  5. Crissy Says:

    My kids’ pediatrician has one of these, only it has little miniature things … like a tiny pencil, a bird, etc. I guess you could find them at a store like Hobby Lobby? Then there’s a label on the outside with a list of things to find, like those “I Spy” books. Brilliant! (Thanks, Chris!)

  6. dan Says:

    why can’t you feed rice to birds?

  7. sandra Says:

    I am so totally not kidding when I tell you I love you.

  8. Beth Says:

    What a terrific idea, and I love Stephanie’s suggestion above of using a diet soda/mentos experiment first with the bottle.

  9. Crissy Says:

    I did this with my kids today. Hobby Lobby has a small assortment of fun miniatures - we got records (although my kids didn’t know what they were), tiny silverware and dice from the dollhouse section. From the scrapbooking section, we got birthday candles, dog bones and snowflakes. We also pu in googley eyes, teeny jingle bells, a screw, a mini baby bottle (from the cake decorating section), piece of ricrac, a safety pin, and a penny. My son wasn’t even able to part with two legos for the bottle, so we did without. Don’t forget a funnel to make pouring the birdseed easy!!! (Learned this the hard way.)

  10. Lisa Says:

    I would imagine you could also do a “travel sized” version for the car with a 20 oz. (or 1 liter) bottle to take on trips! (I’m going to try this on our next car trip here in about three weeks, so I’ll let you know if it works out!)

  11. beth Says:

    it is also good with gallon-sized ziploc (really well sealed and taped). As a bonus, the child gets some tactile sensory input.

  12. Jennifer at Says:

    I’ve been doing the kid thing a long time and this is an absolutely amazing idea that I’ve never heard of in over twenty years of working with children!

    Off the drain the ginger ale down the sink….

  13. peepnroosmom Says:

    I know this may be a little late, but I made these for my preschoolers. They LOVE them. One little girl even brought her mom in to show her. Cool!

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