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When the girls were younger we were all about sensory bottles. They are safe for little hands and still have so many benefits without the choking hazard! You can work on counting, vocabulary building, color recognition, and even science.
Bottle 1: clear water beads, sticky eyes, and water
this is a tricky bottle with a bit of science thrown in. The sticky eyes are not floating, but rather stuck between several clear water beads. Why can’t you see the water beads when submerged in water? They have the same refractive index as water; meaning light travels through the water and water beads at the same rate.
Bottle 2: plastic critters and water
this one is just some spooky fun plus you can talk about sinking and floating... as long as they don’t get all tangled
Bottle 3: green mesh tube
I like to make bottles of different weights so we can discuss which bottle is heavier or lighter. This bottle clearly serves as the lighter option. However, adding water to this bottle also magnifies the mesh tube in a really cool way too, so really you get some science either way.
For a slightly less spooky version opt for colorful halloween themed items like the ones we made last year. The colored spiders are great for color recognition and counting, while the styrofoam bones lend themselves perfectly to exploring objects that float. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find more of these awesome bones this year. The colored beads in rice are great for exploring sound, counting, color recognition, and vocabulary development.