Water bottles are more than just an easy way to stay hydrated––they make for a great baby toy, too! From a crinkly musical instrument to a sensory-inspired experience, these upcycle ideas turn this ordinary household product into plenty of entertainment for baby. Read on for nine fabulous ways to get all those bottles upcycled and into an eco-friendly toy for your little.
Exploring Hot & Cold
Let you little one experience the difference between hot (but not too hot) and cold with just a few water bottles. Fill one with ice and the other with warm tap water and let the exploring begin. This idea from Mama Papa Bubba is a cinch to pull off, especially considering you probably have a zillion water bottles already lying around!
Glitter Sensory Bottle
Perfect for both big kids and baby, these glitter sensory bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands are beyond easy to make. Simple ingredients include water, glue and glitter and provide your little with a beautiful visual experience.
Water Bottle Water Fountain
Perfect for hot weather or even bath time, this water bottle water fountain from Toddler Approved is an easy peasy activity that baby will love! Simple decorate a water bottle in colorful tape, then poke a few holes before filling with water. When you squeeze, the fun begins!
I Spy Bottles
Road trips just got much quieter. "I Spy" bottles made from recycled plastic bottles are able to provide hours of entertainment for babies of all ages. Simply fill the bottle with dried rice and a bunch of small trinkets or knickknacks — Amy from Mama Librarian used pom poms, charms, buttons and crayons. Little babies (still working on dexterity) will just roll the bottle around, but bigger tots can use the bottle to learn new words and colors.
Tummy Time Bottle
Kick tummy time up a notch with this easy-to-make sensory toy. Simply fill a plastic, screw-top bottle with water and tchotchkes (glitter, buttons, shells, etc.). Baby can roll the bottle and reach for it; or, you can shake it around for them while they coo and ahh. If you plan on using the bottle for more than the day, take a cue from Hello Bee by hot gluing the cap shut.
Bottle Cap Snake
Collect a slew of plastic caps — the more, the merrier — and file down any rough edges before cleaning thoroughly. Next, use a screw driver or nail and hammer to poke a hole through each bottle cap. String together with ribbon, and if you're feeling adventurous, draw a cute little snake face (like the folks behind Krokotak did) on the front cap with a baby-safe permanent marker.
Put It In/Take It Out Bottle
Coffee drinker? Upcycle that old creamer bottle into a cool fine motor tool for your bambino. After rinsing out the lidded bottle, grab a bunch of baby-friendly craft-things. Jaime of Hands On As We Grow used colored popsicle sticks, but depending on your little one's age and ability you can try pom poms or cut pieces of ribbon. Your kiddo will have a ball putting things into the bottle, closing the lid and dumping things out again. Bonus: He's also developing his fine motor skills.
Water Bottle Maracas
If your baby is into her rattle (because we all know those shakers are an acquired taste), then these DIY maracas will be a huge hit, too. Start with a clean water bottle (mini ones work great for this project) and fill with your chosen contents - sand, salt, pebbles, birdseed, rice, beans, small beads, large beads, dried pasta and the like. Follow the how-to instructions from Daria at Making Multicultural Music. Once you and baby like the sound, create the handle by wrapping toilet paper rolls around the lid of the bottle and securing with electrical tape.
Water Bottle Bowling Pins
Baby bowling? Why not! Clean and rinse six bottles, removing the outer wrapper from each. Pour a little bit of rice into each bottle, and use a hot glue gun to reseal the top. Paint or decorate the bottles as suggested on the blog Good to Know Family; you can even enlist the help of older babies by making it a finger painting project.
––Ayren Jackson-Cannady & Karly Wood