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Frugal DIY Fun: Toddler Exploring Set

Craft Supplies

“Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music.” – William Stafford

I’m a crafty girl – I love glitter and rhinestones, Mod Podge and Tacky Glue, pretty papers and ribbons…. and I have so much fun sharing my love of all things creative with the kiddo’s in my life. And, crafting with kids has helped me see new things – kids are so fascinated with new textures, shapes, sounds, and colors. That led to the creation of our Toddler Exploring Set – a super easy DIY idea, made from totally inexpensive materials. Even if you’re not usually much of a DIY’er, you can do this. So… Let’s get started! {You might remember me mentioning these Exploring Sets earlier this year in 65 Fun Fall Ideas for Kids – we love making new sets!}

Shaker Bottles

“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for.” – Jerry Seinfeld

You probably already have most of the supplies you’ll need – But one thing that you will need to get in advance is a set of empty water bottles. We used the mini ones – they’re easiest for tiny toddler hands. You’ll also need a good glue {I used Quick Dry Tacky Glue}, so that you can glue each bottle closed. You also might want to get a small shoe box, or cute basket, for your little one to carry their new Exploring Set around in – they love that. Now – the fun part! Read through the list and find some fun ideas to try. All of the bottles are really simple to make, and will totally delight your little one. Enjoy!

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” – Walt Streightiff

  • Sound Bottles: In the Red bottle above, I used white beans mixed with some fun red glitter – these are nice and noisy when you shake ’em! You can also use things like rice, popcorn kernels, or jingle bells. Kids love discovering the different sounds.
  • Bubble Bottles: Fill half full of water, add a little bit of dish soap, and a squirt or two of food coloring. Your little one will love seeing a plain bottle of water turn into a bubble party when they shake it up!
  • Discovery Bottle: Fill a bottle half way with sand or rice, and add a few tiny toys too. Kids will learn that the toys are there even when they can’t see them – and will love learning how to find them again!
  • Glow Bottle: Fill a bottle with glow in the dark stickers or glow sticks. Show your kiddo how different it looks when they crawl underneath their blanket – what a surprise!
  • Silly Bottle: One of our favorites is to fill a bottle up with little Glitter Pom Poms – these are the cutest thing, and Abby loves them! They look super cute in the bottles, and have such bright and vibrant colors!
  • Snow Globe Bottles: Fill bottles with a mixture of water and glycerin, add food coloring if desired, throw in a pinch {or more, you can never have too much!} of glitter, and add some fun little toys or trees. So much fun!
  • Slow-Down Bottle: Fill a bottle 2/3 full of clear corn syrup, then add sequins, or tiny toys. As they tilt the bottle, they can relax and slow down while they watch the toys sloooowly slide to the side.
  • Nature Bottle: These ones are more temporary – grab a tiny branch off of an evergreen tree, some fall leaves, dandelion flowers, acorns – whatever is in season. Your little one will delight in getting to really look at these things up close – you’ll delight in knowing that they won’t EAT them while they have them up close!

Big Kid Options

  • Magnet Bottle: Fill a bottle with rice or sand, and add a few metallic items, like pennies, old game pieces, etc. Then – let them use a big magnet against the outside of the bottle to ‘magically’ pull those hidden items into view!
  • Guessing Bottle: Fill a bottle up with tiny pebbles – or something fun like Jelly Beans! – and have your kids guess how many are inside. Don’t glue the top on this one, since you’ll then want to dump it out, count it together, and see how close they were. Our boys love to challenge each other.


Do you have any fun ideas to add?

There are so many different variations you can use – and I’d love to hear your creative ideas! We love to make new bottles all the time, and sometimes it’s hard to keep coming up with great ideas – so I look forward to what you guys come up with. Keep it crafty!


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