We love hands-on STEM activities for kids, but sometimes you need a quick science experiment for kids that is mess-free. When this is the case, we love using science discovery bottles to quickly learn about a concept with less mess.
You can re-use most of these over and over again and keep them in your science center for self-directed learning. There is a surprising number of things you can learn about with a discovery bottle, from weather to color mixing!
Try these fun bottles in your classroom or home today! After trying these ideas, use your imagination to create discovery bottles for all kinds of science themes! Try placing a plastic skeleton in a bottle when learning the names of bones, or try growing a water plant in a bottle to observe the growth of water plants up close! You could even make an ant farm discovery bottle with live ants. It’s the perfect addition to your spring STEM activities!
How to Make a Discovery Bottle
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You don’t have to follow the same formula to make your science discovery bottles, but we like to use plastic bottles with screw-on lids. Gluing the lids closed will help prevent unwanted spills and make the bottles reusable. We usually use Smart Water bottles for our discovery bottles, but another popular option is VOSS water bottles, or you can even find little plastic craft storage bottles that work great for this. Glass bottles will also work well for older kids, which provides greater visibility for some projects.
The shelf life for most discovery bottles is between one and six months, depending on what they are made of. Using distilled water will prolong the life of your bottles, but eventually, the materials will break down in your discovery bottles, particularly if you are using natural materials like wood or flowers in your bottles. Bottles with natural materials may have a shelf life of only a few days.
If you want your materials to be suspended in the container, a thicker liquid, like clear glue or corn syrup (and even clear hair gel!) can be used to keep materials suspended in the jar longer. Baby oil is also the preferred oil for jars using oil, as it is easier to see through than vegetable oil.
Creative and Educational Science Discovery Bottles
Try these creative ideas for science discovery bottles for quick science lessons in your classroom!
Everyday Science Discovery Bottles
Magnetic Discovery Bottle from Schooling a Monkey
Scented Discovery Bottles from Pre-K Pages
Magnetic Powder Discovery Bottle from Left Brain Craft Brain
Magnetic Wand Discovery Bottle from Preschool Inspirations
Galaxy Discovery Bottle from Kids Activities Blog
Sink or Float Discovery Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands
Lava Lamp Discovery Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands
Robot Discovery Bottle from Fun a Day
Animal Discovery Bottles
Turtle Discovery Bottle from Sunny Day Family
Diving Fish Discovery Bottle from Schooling a Monkey
Fossil Discovery Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands
Jellyfish Discovery Bottle from Schooling a Monkey
Specimen Discovery Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands
Color Mixing Discovery Bottles
Color Changing Bottles from Preschool Inspirations
Color Mixing Discovery Bottle from Play Trains
Marble Color Mixing Discovery Bottle from Still Playing School
Rainbow Discovery Bottle from Preschool Inspirations
Light Discovery Bottles
Light Discovery Bottle from Left Brain Craft Brain
Night and Day Discovery Bottles from Two Daloo
Glowing Discovery Bottle from Play Trains
Weather Science Discovery Bottles
Weather Discovery Bottles from Two-Daloo
Water Cycle Discovery Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands
Hurricane in a Jar from One Time Through
Ecosystem Discovery Bottles from Parenting Chaos
Tornado Discovery Bottle from Familylicious
Water Science Discovery Bottles
Oceans Discovery Bottle from Happy Hooligans
Absorption Discovery Bottles from Lemon Lime Adventures
Viscosity Discovery Bottles from Lemon Lime Adventures
Oceans Discovery Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands
Nature Discovery Bottles
Fresh Flower Discovery Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands
Nature Discovery Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands
Desert Flower Discovery Bottle from Preschool Inspirations
Pine Needle Discovery Bottle from Teach Preschool
Layers of the Earth Discovery Bottle from One Time Through
Fall Leaf Discovery Bottle from Kids Play Box
Growing a Plant in a Jar from Violet Paper Wings