This past week was Vacation Bible School at our church, and I was supposed to be the co-director. I say “supposed to” because both my Monkey and my Peanut got horribly sick with some stomach bug, and I was at home with them for 3.5 of the 5 days of VBS. However, I did get to plan the crafts for the little guys, which was so much fun! Our theme was, “Catch the wave of God’s amazing love,” and one of the theme was, “God Calms.” The suggested activity was a calming bottle, and I decided to take it to the next level, and made a Glittery Ocean in a Bottle. I found so much amazing sensory bottle inspiration that I didn’t know where to stop, or start. When that happens, I started experimenting, until I created something that I find mesmerizing and calming. And so easy. It is perfect for summer, as it makes me think of the beach, sunshine and summer vacations with family. This week we’ve been on a road trip to the mountains, not the beach, but we’ve been enjoying our ocean in a bottle.
This is definitely a project for any kiddo that is three or older, and all you need are a few supplies, most of which you have around the house. The rest you can pick up at you local craft store. We used Powerade bottles, which has a stronger plastic than the really inexpensive water bottles, but you can use whatever you have around the house.
We found the inexpensive dyed seashells at the craft store, and we also put in a little sand from our sandbox (at least in our first bottle). The Monkey and I were trying to create an authentic beach experience at least at first. We didn’t add any sand in the second bottle because it didn’t mix as well with the water beads.
After the wheels, we added ultra fine translucent glitter to the bottle. We added about 2 tablespoons through a funnel. It really helps to do this before you add the water to add in mixing. In a separate container, we took about 12 ounces of very warm water, added about 2 drops of royal blue food coloring and one drop of green food coloring. You can experiment, but I didn’t want it to be too dark. Then with our funnel, we slowly added the warm tap water to the bottle.
The Monkey then added a bottle of glitter glue to the water. The glue that we added was from the children’s craft section of the craft store, and was called “Midnight”– it had the field of the ocean water with blue, turquoise, black and gold pieces of glitter. Once the glitter glue was in the bottle, we used a chop stick to mix it thoroughly with the water.
Then using a teaspoon, we added some dry water beads. You can find these in the floral section of your local craft store. Here are a hint– don’t let your enthusiastic preschooler add too many into your ocean in a bottle! The dry water beads expand a lot, and if you add too many, they will absorb all of the water and the “Ocean in a bottle” will disappear. All you need is 10-12 beads.
The water beads when expanded will take on the color of the water, because they absorbed it, and will basically disappear in the bottle. You’ll barely be able to see them, but they add to the “rolling” effects of the waves. The very last step is to fill the bottle to the very top of the neck with cooking oil. The oil and the water won’t mix so you’ll get wonderful waves.
However, the translucent glitter and the oil will blend, and it will make the waves shimmer. The water will also glimmer with all of the blue and translucent bits of glitter.
Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t really reflect how beautiful this bottle turned out being.
The effect is really so close to the look of the oceans on the Gulf of Mexico, that I can hardly believe it. We can all just shake and watch it, and relax. Perfect for the summer, and Vacation Bible School.
Looking for more awesome summer fun? Be sure to check out these awesome summer fun ideas over at Naptime Creations!
Underwater Limbo – 365 Days of Crafts
Red White and Blue Bark – The Chunky Chef
Pineapple Purse – Hey Let’s Make Stuff
Head over to Nap-Time Creations/Summer Fun