In honor of children’s book week, I’ve got a craft based on Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick’s I Spy books. The craft itself isn’t unique (I’ve seen in everywhere on Pinterest), but I thought it’d be fun to try making one of my own!
Clear bottle or jar with lid or cap
Assorted miniature items
- You will want to clean out your bottle or jar a couple days ahead of time to give it a chance to dry. I recommend plastic since the toy is for children and plastic is more durable. However, glass does look prettier, so it’s really up to you. I used a Pepsi bottle because it was clear and didn’t have extra indentations on it.
- There are a lot of great ways to find miniature items. Keep in mind you want them to fit through the neck of the bottle! I found alphabet beads and pony beads at the craft store, which is where I got fun shapes/items like a turtle, dog, cat, fish, etc. I also had pieces from disassembled jewelry I found at a rummage sale (that’s where the peppers came from), as well as some fun shaped buttons. You could also use objects like pencil toppers.
- Choose everything you are going to put in the bottle (sans rice) and lay it out nicely. Take a picture. If you are giving this to a child who can’t read, they will want a picture of items they can find in the bottle. If the child can read you can reference the picture to type up a list of what is in the bottle.
- Stick a funnel in the top of your bottle. If you don’t have a funnel, you can cut the lid off of a soda bottle and use that. I taped mine on so I didn’t have to hold it.
- Pour a little bit of rice (3/4-1 inch) into the bottle.
- Add a couple of trinkets/miniatures.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the bottle is filled, doing your best to space the miniatures throughout the bottle.
- Place the cap on the bottle and try shaking it to see if you can uncover any items. If this is difficult, pour out a little rice to allow the objects to move more freely. Repeat until the bottle is fun to play with.
- I highly suggest gluing the cap on. Because mine was going to a house with toddlers, I wanted to ensure that the cap couldn’t come off and the choking hazards (the miniatures) would not become available.
- Print out your picture of the items, or list of the items, and include it with the I Spy bottle.
Older children may want to find specific items in the jar (find all the letters in their name, find the alphabet in order, find the orange dog, etc.), and younger children may just want to shake it to see what they uncover. Either way it should be a good boredom buster. It’s also a fun activity to match with the I Spy books. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like reading them! (My favorite was I Spy School Days [affiliate link])
Have you made an I Spy bottle? How did it go? What kind of objects did you use?