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  • Gina

Let's Make an I-Spy Bottle!

Our I-Spy bottle is perfect for learning, motor skills & play! In this BLOG post I will teach you what they are, how to make them & the benefits of using them.

Head to our Instagram page to see more ways to learn & play at home or in the classroom! We love to see you play & share the joy of hands-on crafts & activities at home. Be sure to tag @aplayfilledlife on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of our ideas!!

XO Gina


  • Plastic bottle with a cap

  • Un-cooked rice (you can dye it- directions HERE or leave it white)

  • Letter beads

How- to: 

  1. Sort out the alphabet beads, making sure to have at least one of each letter. Depending on the size of your jar, you can add a few of each!

  2. Pour in the rice, filling the jar to just below the cap. You want space the letter beads & the rice to move around.

  3. Secure the cap. If you do not have a self-sealing bottle/cap & you are concerned about it being opened, you can put a thin layer of hot glue around the rim, then twist the cap on tight.

  4. Shake it up well & you are ready to learn & play!

What is a phonics?

Phonics is the understanding that spoken sounds (phonemes) can be represented by written letters (graphemes). Phonics connects the ability to hear & produce the individual sounds in words to written language. It is the basis for decoding.

How should you use the I-Spy bottle?

  • Use the bottle as a sensory tool. Shake, twist & move it around. Observe the colors, sounds & how all the letters look.

  • Practice identifying letter names. Move the I-Spy bottle around & point to each letter as you say its name. Add in the sounds, as well, as you play!

  • Write down the lowercase letters on a piece of paper. Point out a lowercase letter on the paper & have the child find the uppercase match in the bottle.

  • Point out a letter in the I-Spy bottle & brainstorm words that have the same beginning sound.

What are the benefits? 

  • Hands-on learning activities provide children with an opportunity to make connections to what they are learning.

  • As they strengthen letter-sound correspondence, they are increasing their fluency, which leads to them being stronger readers.

  • Activities like this are fun, portable & engaging for kids! They can be differentiated in so many ways!

  • Sensory bottles can also be calming! Incorporating mindfulness activities into your daily learning routine can help to increase focus, attention & academic success.


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