DIY Discovery Bottles
Our DIY Under the Sea Discovery bottles are not only great fun for children to play with, they are also an interesting way for children to learn more about the properties of water and to relate this to a marine environment and the world around them. These discovery bottles are also be a great conversation starter for all sorts of Under the Sea ideas from floating and sinking to how waves are made and surface tension.

You will need:

To make the sensory bottles, you can add any combination of ingredients that you like. Filling the bottle about two thirds full will allow for movement when the bottle is tipped. A small piece of the Tinti bath water colour table will colour the water. Sequins and glitter will add sparkle, fish will float and move about in the tube and shells and counters will sink to the bottom of the tube but move when the tube is shaken. Baby oil creates an interesting effect when added with glitter, floating and creating a layer on the surface of the water.

Top Tips

  1. Don’t add too much to your discovery bottle as it will make it difficult to see the different elements.
  2. Ensure that the lids are securely fastened onto the sensory tubes before giving to the children. We did this by wrapping in a paper towel and shaking to ensure that they are water tight.

Possible Ideas to Explore and Discuss:

Floating and sinking

Discover which objects, materials and liquids float or sink. Discuss why some objects or materials sink or float and why. Discuss the damage caused by oil spills in the ocean.


Holding the sensory bottle side ways and tipping from side to side can create waves in the bottle. Children can discuss what waves are and how they are made.

Surface tension

Observe the surface of the water in the tube and discuss surface tension.


Observe and discuss how and why light reflects from some materials e.g. glitter and sequins and shines through some materials e.g water.

Have you had a go at making discovery bottles? What did the children learn, discover and discuss?

For more fun ideas and activities visit our Under the Sea page.

Follow The Consortium Education’s board Under the Sea on Pinterest.