Bottle Babies – inexpensive, open-ended loose parts make a great addition to an indoor or outdoor play space.
I first learned about Bottle Babies over at Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School. Inexpensive, easy and fun to make, bottle babies are a wonderful, open-ended addition to any play-area, providing countless opportunities for creative and imaginative play.
What are loose parts?
If you’ve never heard of “loose parts” in a play space, I highly recommend reading Lesley’s post titled MOVEABLE FEAST: The Beauty of Loose Parts. In it, Lesley describes the benefits of providing open-ended, moveable, and somewhat random materials for children to play with, and how these loose parts spark a child’s imagination in ways that factory-manufactured toys cannot.
You’ll also want to visit Lesley’s gallery of photos to see dozens of examples of children at play with various open-ended objects at Takoma Park. Take the time to click through the photos to see the looks of determination on the childrens’ faces as they construct, create, collaborate and problem solve when playing with the loose parts in the classroom and in the playground. Lesley’s post and her photos can help us to better understand how essential this kind of play is for young children.
What the heck IS a bottle baby?
Because another blogging friend of mine recently made her bottle babies and wrote a wonderful post about them, I’m going to send you to her for the details. Cathy from Pre-School Play will tell you what the overall purpose and benefits of the bottle baby are and what the name “bottle baby” is meant to suggest to a child.
Meanwhile, I’m going to take the easy road here, and just share the photos of the Hooligans making and playing with ours.
Making our bottle babies:
**I should mention that we added the baby oil to one bottle, and it didn’t really do much, other than make the inside of the bottle look greasy, so I personally wouldn’t bother with it again.
Cups and funnels make filling the bottles fun, and they’re great for developing hand/eye co-ordination. Adding food colouring can provide a lesson in colour mixing, and fine motor skills are tested when the children fill their bottles with their collection of small objects.
Playing with our bottle babies:
cups and funnels make filling the bottles fun, and they’re great for developing hand/eye co-ordination. Adding food colouring can provide a lesson in colour mixing, and fine motor skills are tested when the children fill their bottles with their collection of small objects.
Aren’t they neat? The Hooligans have been hauling, heaving, carrying, pushing and sliding their bottle babies around for days. They love ‘em! And I’m betting your little ones will too!
I’m editing this post to say that our bottle babies survived the winter in one piece, and 10 months later, the hooligans are still playing with them! If you leave a little space in the top of the bottle to allow for expansion when the water freezes, yours just may make it through a long, cold winter as well!