Thursday, February 23, 2012

DIY: I Spy Bags and Discovery Bottle, Part 1

I saw an I Spy bag in a fun educational store near us. When I looked at the price I gasped! $18! Especially because many of the objects in the bags were things I could find around our house! I really couldn't justify paying that and figured I could definitely make something similar. Searching Pinterest for "I Spy" or "Discovery bottle" will get you many options.

I happened to be in Dollar Tree today and they have zippered pencil bags with a vinyl window in them. PERFECT!!! For only $1! When I finished at Dollar Tree, I headed to the grocery store and picked up some rice for $1.39. I searched around our house and found a TON of little items I could put in I Spy bags or bottles.
I decided to do a green bag with a bit of a St. Patrick's theme, an ocean themed bag, and a warm colored I Spy bottle. I still have items set aside for a cool colored bottle and a rainbow themed bottle (Part 2 of this post).

For the ocean themed bag, I added some blue food coloring to the rice:
I took photos like this of the items in each bag. I broke them down into smaller groups to make it easier for my son. So I have a larger photo of all the items (to make it harder when he gets older) and then will print these as cards for him to use with the bags.
For the last bottle I made today, I used dry great northern beans. I actually sort of like how this works a little better than the rice. The objects seems to flow in and out more smoothly. And the bottle with beans seemed to appeal to my 2-year old more. Maybe the added sensory experience of the noise of the beans when you shake it helped hold his attention a bit more. My 6 and 8 year olds seemed to like these as well. You could make the experience a little more advanced for them by telling them to look for something that starts with an "l" in the bag (ie: ladybug).

I haven't done it yet, but I plan to hot glue the lid of this bottle and I saw a tip here that you can hot glue the zipper of the pencil bag. I was trying to think of a way I could secure the zipper. I do sort of want to reuse the bags if I can so I may test the glue on one bag and see if I can peel it off again to re-do the bag.
I'm definitely looking forward to making some more discovery bags and bottles! Maybe some involving liquid. And I found enough items today to put together a halloween discovery bag this fall. I didn't buy the black pencil bag. I may have to go back and get one. ;-)

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