Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Explore the colors of the rainbow with discovery bottles

By Laura Eldredge

With St. Patrick's Day and Spring right around the corner, many classrooms will focus on fun activities having to do with RAINBOWS!  Let's take an old favorite in the preschool classroom - Discovery Bottles - and do a little color learning and rainbow fun.

Instead of pre-making the discovery bottles for our class to use, a few weeks, we had the children to make discovery bottles for their classroom.   Engaging children in the process of making colorful collage discovery bottles is a good activity for learning colors and a great opportunity to practice sorting.

First, I collected enough clean (and emptied) water bottles for each child. Then I gathered a variety of small collage items - small enough to fit into the opening of a water bottle.

When we were ready to sort, I set out pieces of colored construction paper (representing the colors of the collage materials) onto tables.

Each child had a small container filled with a selection of the collage items and they went around the room and matched each item to a colored paper. Using the colored construction paper was helpful for our young preschoolers to see if their color matches as they sorted.

After all items have been sorted, each child chose a color and filled a bottle with only items of that color. We talked about the different shades of the colors (i.e.. some items are light blue, some are a darker blue ... but ALL the items are blue).
Once filled, we put the caps on and placed them in our science area for future exploration. You can choose to hot glue the caps so the bottles can't be opened again - but you can also choose not to (since there is nothing liquid or messy in them), and allow children to try to empty and refill bottles.


Another option is to make rainbow bottles is to use liquid (this will require more teacher/parent assistance).  First, fill the bottles almost all the way with water. Then add a few drops of food coloring into each bottle so that you have 1 bottle for each color in a rainbow.  As an option, you can also have a little less water and instead add some cooking oil before adding the food coloring (for a different look).

 Hot glue the lids onto the bottles, so they won't spill as the children play.   Put the bottles out for children to explore along with some books about colors.

Laura Eldredge is a teacher and curriculum coordinator at a NAEYC accredited early childhood program in Connecticut. She also co-founded the website
The SEEDS Network, as a way to provide early childhood professionals with ideas and resources that support them in their quest to provide quality care and education to our youngest learners. She blogs at www.theseedsblog.com.

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