How to Make an "I Spy" Bottle
Word of caution
This toy is NOT for young children. Even though it is sealed, the seal can break and there are many small items that represent a choking hazard.
How many of us have been in a pediatrician's waiting room playing with one of those I Spy bead filled toys to pass the time? I know I have. They drive me crazy because I can never find that one last item on the list.
I Spy games have been around as long as I can remember. Go into any area where children play and chances are you'll hear them saying "I spy with my little eye..." Bookstores have whole sections dedicated to I Spy books and games.
One of the most popular I Spy toys is the bead and toy filled bottle that you have to shake to find various trinkets. They are a fun and interactive way to play. Sometimes no matter how much you shake, twist and turn the bottle, you just can't seem to spy all the things on the list. That's what makes them so much fun, especially for people who love a challenge.
Try making your own I Spy bottle. It will save you a lot of money, and it's a really fun way to spend an afternoon with a child. All you need are a few items that you probably have around the house already.
Supplies needed for your I Spy bottle
- Clean, dry, clear plastic bottle, with top (any size, but I use a 2 liter soda bottle so I can get in lots of things)
- Uncooked rice (amount depends on size of bottle)
- Assortment of small items/toys
- Pen and paper
- Super glue
- Clear packing tape
*For some reason I can never find my funnels. I probably have about 5 of them around the house, but they are hiding. So instead of going out and buying yet another one, I made one with a piece of scrapbook paper and some tape. Just roll it up so that one end will fit in the bottle and tape to secure (see inset photo above).
Fillers for your I Spy bottle
Having an eleven year old around the house makes it easy to find little items to put into the bottle. Look around and you'll be surprised at what you can find. Choose a mixture of all sorts of items to make it more interesting. For a twist, try making a themed bottle.
Note: Be careful what items you choose to put in your bottle. If you are making this toy for a younger child, do not use sharp items. Remember that this toy is not designed for really young children, as the items inside can present a choking hazard.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
I Spy bottle filler ideas
Start filling the I Spy bottle
I usually layer the rice and the toys when filling the bottle, but it really doesn't matter. Just make sure to leave some space at the top so everything can mix around easily.
Some items may not fit perfectly, but soft plastic pieces can be manipulated to fit.
You can see that the bottle in the picture above was still damp. I dried it as much as I could but, in this case, the rice absorbed all of the water residue. It is always better to wait until the bottle is completely dry before adding items.
Filling the bottle
While you are filling the bottle, make sure to write down what you put in. Believe me when I say that it will be hard to remember everything if you don't. Just keep a running list and then type it up on the computer for a label.
I Spy list and label
Once you've typed up the label, use clear packing tape to carefully tape it to the bottle. Make sure that it is completely covered, and that all edges are taped down. This will ensure that the label doesn't get torn off.
Almost finished - Here's the bottle with label taped on
What do you think about I Spy bottles?
The final step
When you are happy with the bottle, it's time to glue the top on. This is an important step because you don't want to discover lots of little toys and rice scattered all over the floor. That would not be fun to clean up.
Remember that glue is not a guarantee that the bottle won't open. Because of the choking hazards never give this toy to a young child.
To glue the cap on, use a strong glue, like super glue or a hot glue gun, and spread the glue around the rim of the bottle and the inside of the cap. Screw it on tightly and let it sit for a few hours to dry.
Now your I Spy bottle is ready to be played with. Have fun and good luck finding everything on the list!
Making your own I Spy bottle is easy
© 2013 Claudia Mitchell