Beach Bottle

Purpose:      observation
                    sink and float

Materials:     plastic bottle
                    blue food coloring
                    small shells
                    small balloon, permanent marker

Directions:    Put 3/4 cup of sand in the bottom of the bottle.  (Rinse the sand out until the water is clear.)  Fill the bottle almost to the top with water.  Add a drop of blue food coloring and the shells.  To make a fish, blow a little air in the balloon and knot it.  Draw on a face with a permanent marker and put it in the bottle.  Glue on the lid. 

Variations:     Put a small plastic scuba diver, boat, or other
                      appropriate toys in the beach bottle.
                      Collect sand from different beaches and label.

Muddy Water Bottle

Purpose:       observation

Materials:      plastic bottle

Directions:    Put 1/2 cup of dirt in the bottom of the bottle.  Fill 2/3 full with water. Glue on the lid.  Children can shake up the bottle and observe the dirt as it settles to the bottom. 

Variations:   Fill the bottles with sand, peat moss, potting soil, gravel and other types of dirt.  Compare what happens when you shake the different bottles.  Which one settles first?  Which one is the slowest to settle?
                    Let the children write relatives in other parts of the United States asking them for a bag of dirt.  Make bottles with the different soil samples and label.

Wave Bottle

Purpose:     observation

Materials:    plastic bottle
                   food coloring
                   baby oil

Directions:    Fill the bottle 2/3 full with water.  Add several drops of food coloring.  Fill the bottle to the top with baby oil, and then glue on the lid.  Slowly move the bottle on its side to create waves.  Shake the bottle up and then observe as the oil and water separate.

Variations:     Use vegetable oil and blue food coloring.
                      Add glitter or small plastic toys.