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How To Make an "I Spy" Bottle

Do you want an activity that will entertain your kids for a while and keep them quiet?  Make an “I Spy” bottle!  It’s super simple to make, and is good for kids of all ages (my husband loves it as much as my 2 and 5 year old!)  Use the “I Spy” bottle for long car rides, laying low when your kids are sick, or keeping your little monsters busy when you need to clean.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bunch of objects that are small enough to fit into a water bottle.
  • An empty, completely dry water bottle without the label.
  • Paper and pen
  • Funnel (or a piece of paper to roll into a funnel)
  • White rice
  • Glue
  • String, yarn, or ribbon
  • Clear contact paper or laminating paper (optional)

Now how to make it:

Step 1) Have your kids help you hunt all over the house, garage, and outside for things to put in your bottle.  Make sure to write on your paper everything you collect.  Coins, nails/screws, Barbie or Polly Pocket accessories, Legos, hair stuff, rocks, office supplies….anything goes (as long as it is something that can’t rot)!

Step 2)  Pour some rice in the bottom of the bottle.  Then put a few objects on top of the rice.

Step 3)  Pour rice over those objects and continue to layer rice and objects until your bottle is near full.  Make sure you end with rice.

Step 4)  Glue the top onto the bottle.  I learned this the hard way when my girls decided it would be fun to open the bottle and rice went everywhere!

Step 5)  Laminate (optional) your paper with the objects written on them, punch a hole in the corner and tie it to the top of the bottle.

You’re done!  Shake the bottle a little then have your kids try to find everything on the paper!  It’s harder than it looks for some objects (the penny, nickel, and dime are always really hard to find in ours!).

*A funny little side note:  I ended up having to re-do our first “I Spy” bottle because the girls found a “worm” in it while searching for objects.  I was so grossed out!  I thought the worm came in the rice (it looked like a piece of rice that was moving!).  I swore I was never going to buy cheap rice again because it had worms in it.
A few days later, Tottie and I were outside playing with a dish full of acorns we had collected.  Tottie emptied the dish and at the bottom were a bunch of “worms” that looked like the one in our “I Spy” bottle!  I then realized that the acorns had holes in them.  Sure enough, the acorn we put in our “I Spy” bottle had a hole it in.  The “worm” was an acorn weevil and it came from the acorn, not the rice.  Thank God!  I can now eat rice again!

Have you ever tried to make an “I Spy” bottle?  What type of stuff did you put in it?  If you haven’t made one yet, do you think your kids would like it?


  1. I just made this for a long car trip and the kids loved the idea

  2. We had some small dinosaur toys, dice, beads, foam shapes and a couple small pictures cut out from a colouring book!! I loved… I mean, the kids loved making this craft!

  3. LeslieAK says

    This is awesome!

    Since my grandson can’t read yet, I think I’ll take a picture of all the items all laid out (similar to how you have them in your picture) and laminate that to use as the ‘list.’

    Thank you for the inspiration! :o)

  4. Great idea and just what I was looking for. I have a 2 yr. old granddaughter and 5 yr. old grandson. They have more toys then I can count and they are always bored. lol.

  5. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] 1. Make an Eye Spy Bottle – Eye Spy is a great game to keep your kids entertained on the go while also boosting their cognitive thinking as they work to identify objects. Here are easy instructions from Toys in the Dryer. […]