Pediatrician developmental checklist – How to make Discovery Bottles

This week we went to a check up appointment for my 10 month old. At each appointment the pediatrician goes over his checklist of activities that my Sweet Pea should be able to accomplish.  Each activity corresponds to a developmental milestone.

When I sit the floor with Sweet Pea the “teacher” in me appears.  I love to watch her learn and discover new things. I like to invent new  experiences and opportunities for her to explore.  I am aware that as she explores the world around her she is building the foundation that will help her learn later.

Recently, several parents voiced their frustration with the pediatrician’s checklist.  “How am I supposed to know that my son needs to use his pincher fingers?”  “I didn’t know my daughter needs to look in a mirror.”  They went on to express the fear that their child may not reach mental goals properly simply because mom isn’t aware of upcoming milestones, their importance or how to design activities that will help.

I am going to help alleviate those fears.  I encourage you to subscribe to this website and check “Stages of Growth” for updates.  I will post a new activity each week that corresponds with developmental milestones.  While I’m putting these together, if your child is at an age that’s not represented – please send me an e-mail and I’ll try to answer all your questions.

Each activity will provide ways to help your child meet developmental milestones in a fun and engaging way and alleviate the checklist frustration. The activities are easy (and often cheap) to produce at home and will utilize easy to find items.  It’s fun and like finding buried treasure when you discover that a simple every day item can spark your child’s learning.

Discovery bottles are fun to watch even as adults.

  • You can shake the bottle for noise.
  • Items floating in the bottle can take on different shapes.
  • Holding the bottle creates a unique sensation.
  • The shapes move quickly when rolled on the floor.

Let’s get started.  You will need the following.

  • A clean clear bottle with a lid. I used an empty water bottle and removed the label which peeled right off.
  • A collection of small unique items.  You may find these around the house or at your local dollar store.  Look for items that can float in water.  Your child will be fascinated by the suspension.  Include some items that will sink to the bottom. This will give your child a sense of differences.
  • It’s important to give texture at both top and bottom.
  • Water to fill the bottle
  • Hot glue or some child safety device to keep the lid secure.


This one has blue garland and small wrapping bows floating in the top and dice rolling around in the bottom.


This one has multi colored pom-poms floating in the top and colored beads in the bottom. I only filled the bottle half full to give added dimension.


As an added measure of security I added hot glue around the top of the bottle to secure the lid. I wanted to make sure the bottle was safe for her and would not accidentally open.

I made these while Sweet Pea was taking her nap and placed them in the middle of the living room floor. They were the first thing she saw when she woke up. She crawled right to the bottles and began playing.  We had a lot of  fun rolling, shaking and looking at these bottles. She even pulled them into the kitchen and played while I made dinner.

If you have older children this would be a great activity to do together. Allow them to pick the items they want and use a funnel to place the items inside.   Making one of these bottles for older children can bring up a lot of scientific questions.  Why does this item sink and that one float?  Will the weight of the bottle change when something floats?  What happens when we hold it to the light?  Will the items fade in the water or will their color stay the same?  You can also put the bottle in front of the night light in their room to give them something to look at before going to sleep.

These bottles are a great activity to develop gross motor skills, colors, and of course curiosity! You can feel safe adding materials for discovery that you would not normally let them play with because they are safely stored in a bottle.

Here are some other items that can be used to make these bottles: 

  • Buttons
  • twisted pipe cleaners
  • marbles
  • beads
  • ribbon
  • yarn

Hope you have as much fun making these as we did!

Stay tuned next week for another activity!




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