Here are a few ideas for recycling 20 ounce water or soda bottles into classroom activities!
1. Mini Ocean Bottles – Fill the bottle halfway up with vegetable oil. Then finish filling the bottle with water. We suggest adding a few drops of food coloring to make it blue. When you shake the bottle slowly back and forth, it will simulate a wave, as the oil and water will not mix. You can even add a small plastic sea creature for added fun.
2. Bubble Bottles – Fill a bottle about a third full with water. Then add a generous amount of dish soap. Add a few drops of food coloring for added fun. When the children shake the bottle it will fill up with colorful sudsy bubbles.
3. Music Shaker Bottles – Add dried rice, beans or popcorn kernels to a bottle. Add some glitter or beads to add sparkle.
4. Sensory Bottles – Fill your bottle with water. Add a few drops of food coloring and lots of glitter. You can also add some beads, buttons, shells, etc. that will move around when the child shakes the bottle.
5. Sand Art Bottles – Have the children fill their bottle with layers of colorful sand.
6. Discovery Bottles – Make a variety of themed bottles for the children to compare and contrast. Some ideas could be feathers, jingle bells, buttons, beads, rice, dried beans, noodles, etc. Be creative.
7. Treasure Hunt or I Spy Bottles – Add dried rice or sand to a bottle as well as a collection of small, colorful items. For older children, make a list of the items to keep with the bottle so they can complete the treasure hunt. Younger children can play I spy, simply telling you what they see hiding within the bottle.
While these bottle activities are fun and educational, they are also great for helping to calm and sooth children experiencing high emotions, as well as children on the Autism Spectrum.
We would love to hear how else you can recycle plastic bottles into projects in your program.