I-SPY bottle

I’ve seen these types of bottles in the stores retailing for $20.

For a few pennies, I’ve made my own.

Materials Needed:

Uncooked white rice
uncooked colored rice (recipe to follow)
Washed empty peanut butter jar
Small toys, screws, coins, buttons, beads, small safety pins.
Super glue
Rubbing alcohol


1. Dye some white rice with food coloring (our colors are really muted because we still have the rice we made last year).

To make colored rice you can use this recipe:

  1. Use about 2-4 drops of one food coloring to 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol,
  2. Mix in about a half cup of rice into a baggie, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Repeat for as many colors as you like, we just stuck to yellow, blue, green and red.
  4. Lay them out on paper towel to dry (the alcohol will evaporate) to dry (preferably overnight).
  5. You can check out this post of how it looks when it’s done.

If you feel like it, you can double the recipe and use the extra for sensory tubs.
2. While you are waiting for the rice to dry, collect small items from around the house. Write down on a list for readers, or photocopy or take a picture of what you are putting inside the container for pre-readers.

We used beads, dried shaped pasta, fake gems, shaped buttons, letter beads of the children’s first initials, coins, small screws, small polished stones, small barbie toys. Try to choose items that are brightly colored. This is a great way to use orphan small toys that you can’t find the partners for.


3. When the colored rice is completely dry, mix the colored rice with the white rice. I just eye-balled it, you can use any ratio you want, or even all colored rice to make things really challenging.


4. Layer the toys and the small items in the clean peanut butter jar (if you put them all in at once, it won’t mix well).

5. Glue on the lid with superglue, tie on the list and you’re done.


This is great for older kids, babies, toddlers and preschoolers (since the lid is glued shut) and it makes a wonderful inexpensive gift

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2 Responses to I-SPY bottle

  1. MaryAnne says:

    I keep meaning to make one of these for my kids – I love the idea of adding in some colored rice to brighten things up!

  2. growinginpeace says:

    Thanks MaryAnne. It is a fun and neat thing to do and the kids enjoy it!

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