Message in a bottle… or maybe an ocean

This is a fun summer project to bring out the scientist in your munchkin!  What better way to understand what a wave looks like and how it moves than to create one yourself… in a bottle. And the best part is your toddler is perfectly capable of doing a lot of the work (as long as you work over the sink!)


All you need is an empty clear plastic bottle.

Enough oil to fill 2/3’s of that bottle (we used canola oil but I hear baby oil works even better because it’s clear)

Blue food coloring

Optional – sand, sea shaped beads or gliterry confetti


Super Glue


Step 1 – holding plastic bottle and funnel, have toddler fill 1/3 of the bottle with water.

Step 2 – add enough blue food coloring until your ocean water has arrived at desired color.

Step 3 – (optional) have toddler add sand, beads, confetti, etc.

Step 4 – holding bottle and funnel, have toddler pour the previously measured out oil into bottle.

Step 5 – ADULT ONLY – super glue cap shut!

Now, slowly tip the bottle from side to side to see that wave roll! Or if you are a toddler and can’t resist the urge to shake it like your life depends on it, feel free! And mommy, you pray (as I do) that the super glue will hold!

There are a couple of ways to add more dimensions to this project. One is to play the sound of waves crashing onto the beach. iTunes has a number of nature sounds that will fit the bill.

While Crowley plays with the bottle, I am reading him the Pig Kahuna by Jennifer Sattler. It’s a great little tale about waves, beach treasure and the courage to face your fears. If you want to see our complete Ocean reading list, click here.

Also, another awesome find is the website 2 Teaching Mommies. Click here for their FREE printables on the ocean. Everything from pre-writing worksheets with engaging graphics to practice measuring and recognizing letters. I LOVE these worksheets. And even better, so does Crowley!

Happy Ocean Making!


p.s. Tomorrow, I’ll have 10 cool projects to help you escape the heat with your kids and still have a great weekend.

No Responses to “Message in a bottle… or maybe an ocean”

  1. Robin

    Anna – these are all so wonderful! This year at the beach, we buried a treasure chest for Henry (now 5). My dad took him down to the ocean and when he wasn’t looking dropped a bottle with a map inside into the water. Henry saw it and freaked out – we helped him open it and followed the instructions on how to find where the X marked the spot (also a good counting exercise as there are many steps and twists and turns). He found the spot, dug it up, and was so excited he almost cried! Inside was a spy glass, eye patch, pirate flag, bandana, gold dablouns (sp?), and a pirate lego set. That felt like one of my “better mommy” days 🙂 Keep up the awesome work mamma!