Discovery Bottle: A great way to calm down, relax, and occupy the mind! - Dragons and Dragonflies

Discovery Bottle

A soothing discovery bottle is a great addition to a Calm Down Box, or can be used alone.  They are a great tool for children who are upset or frustrated and need a bit of time alone to help regulate their emotions.  Watching all of the small items swirl around and all the glitter slowly settle to the bottom is a soothing, relaxing experience.  Discovering all of the small items in the bottle, and finding favourite objects is a great distraction.  Once calm, they are better able to reflect on their emotions, talk about the issue, and move on with the day with a fresh start.

If enough glitter is used, these bottles can be used as a “timer” for a time-out.  Children are then asked to stay in one spot until all of the glitter has settled to the bottom.  There are many tutorials on the Internet that will guide you through the process of making a specific Time Out Glitter Bottle.  Our bottle is a little bit different in style and purpose.

The focus of our bottles was not to serve as a timer, but more as a distraction tool.  My children love to read the “I Spy” books so they served as my inspiration for these bottles.  I wanted more active interaction with the bottles than just watching glitter settle.  When the children are focused on examining what is in the bottle and turning it around to find specific objects, their mind  is occupied and they have a chance to calm down and relax.

Our Discovery Bottle is kept inside of a Calm Down Box, to be used only when needed.  It is a tool – not a toy.   I do not want the novelty of the Discovery Bottle to wear off, or the children to be bored with it, so I do not allow it to be kept out and used on a regular basis, “just for fun.”  It is easily accessible to the children to use as a tool when needed.

Alternatively, the bottles can be used as a Toy or Activity instead of as a tool.  It may be fun to include a list of all the objects in the bottle and challenge your child to find them all.  Children could also play “I Spy,” with the bottle, taking turns to name an object for the other to find.

Discovery Bottle: A great way to calm down, relax, and occupy the mind! - Dragons and Dragonflies

Making a Discovery Bottle:

  • Find a clear, 1L plastic bottle.
  • Fill the bottle with water.  You want to leave room for water displacement when you add objects.
  • Use liquid food colouring to colour the water, if desired.  As the purpose of this bottle is to see and discover things inside, use food colouring sparingly as you do not want the water to be too dark.
  • Add glitter!  The finer the glitter is, the longer it will take to settle.
  • Collect things to add to your bottle!  This is great fun for children to be involved in.  Mine ran all around the house looking for small objects to put into the bottle.  Try to include a mix of things that will float and sink, but nothing that will affect the water quality (my son wanted to add Cheerios).
  • Glue the lid closed.  We used hot glue all around the lid, but super glue may work as well.

Ideas of Things to Include:

regular dice, foam dice, foam craft letters, elastics, plastic animals and dinosaurs, marbles, small shape erasers, bits of yarn, pompoms, Lego bricks, peeled crayons, plastic beads, buttons, sequins, small letter magnets, coins, pen lids, pebbles, etc.

The possibilities of things to add is endless…  Let me know what different things you decided to add! 🙂

Discovery Bottle: A great way to calm down, relax, and occupy the mind! - Dragons and Dragonflies