Homemade "I Spy in a Bottle" Toy

 photo IMG_0075_zpszaeacuy0.jpgI am a big fan of do it yourself, especially when it comes to toys and other fun games. In addition to that, I also enjoy finding uses for things that would otherwise be thrown out.

Therefore, when I was at my friend Z's house, and saw what she called an "I Spy in a Bottle" game, I thought it was a super cool idea and decided to make one for our family as well.

So, to do this, what you first need to do is get a large plastic bottle with a wide mouth, or a large plastic jar, made from clear plastic. Yes, I said plastic, because this will be a game for kids, and as much as I'd like to think my kids wouldn't break a toy made from glass, I know its inevitable.
Alright- who am I kidding? I'd be the one to break it, since I break all the glass things in my house. Erm...

So, either way- start by getting your plastic jars/bottles. Since most of the things in my house actually don't come in plastic containers- they usually come in glass jars or plastic bags or whatnot, since we're not buying lots of processed foods/condiments, this was actually the part that was the hardest for me to do. I actually got my jar from my friend- it used to contain cookies.

Oh- another important thing to note- you probably want something with a screw top. Because things that aren't screwed tightly but just snap on... also tend to snap off/come off easily if dropped or even played with, and you and I both know that that would just be an inevitable mess. So avoid by using screw top...

Once you have the container/jar/bottle (or even before) start collecting little items, ideally garbage or things that wouldn't otherwise have any use, and fill up your jar/bottle.

I actually did this over the course of a few months- whenever I'd be cleaning my house and come across a little "something" that I had no place to put it, into the jar it went.

Write down every item in the container on a piece of paper.

Examples of things in my jar: 
Snail shells
Hair clips
Pony tail holders
Bottle covers (various colors)
Soda can tabs
A bubble wand
A barbie shoe
Broken earrings
A Rummikub piece that we found outside
Outdated unusable coins
A broken necklace

I have 60 items in total in my jar.

Once the jar is about 1/3 of the way full (or less if you want, but 1/3 full makes it more challenging), you want to fill the jar the rest of the way with rice.

I used white rice for this that I bought on sale from a super cheap store for only 35 cents a pound. No need to use expensive high quality rice, since you won't be eating it- so the cheaper it comes, the better. You can color your rice by mixing it with some food coloring and a drop of rubbing alcohol, spreading it out and leaving it to dry, but I didn't bother. Leave an inch or so empty on the top, so that the rice can move around.

Cover the container, and ideally seal it shut with hot glue. 

Shake up, so that the items in the container get mixed up with the rice.

To play- look at your list and find an item. 

Now go find it! You'll need to shake and shake and shake and shake until you find the item. The smaller the item is, the harder it'll be to find. I made sure to put in varying sizes of items so there are different "levels" depending on how much patience you have.

 photo IMG_0077_zpsh9kvnjnn.jpg
I spy with my little eye... blue, orange, and yellow bottle caps, a
metal button, a pink pony tail holder, a chess piece, a red bead, etc...

This is a perfect toy for traveling (but not only), as it is entertaining and easily transportable.

Have fun!

Have you ever heard of an "I Spy in a Bottle" game before? Have you made one? Does this look like something your kids (or even you) would enjoy playing with? Do you think you'll make one?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. What a fantastic idea - I think I'll make one for my granddaughter.

  2. this is great!
    Is there anything nonedible we could use, instead of rice?

  3. Isn't it heavy for them to shake around with all that rice?

    1. My kids are strong. But this container is large. Feel free to make it with a smaller bottle if you dont want it heavy.

  4. That's a great idea! This could make a great gift for my niece and nephew for Christmas (they'll be 4 and 2). Glad I saw this now...I have months to collect items!

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