Skip to Content

DIY I-Spy Bottle to Make for Kids

DIY I-Spy Bottle to Make for Kids

I Spy bottles are so much fun and are easy to make. It is a great way to strengthen important skills such as visual discrimination and vocabulary. It’s like a treasure hunt in a bottle.

This I-Spy Bottle is a great activity for long car rides or road trips. All you need is an empty water bottle, plain or colored rice, and a few small items you probably already have on hand.

Make Your Own I-Spy Bottle for Kids

I-Spy Bottle


  1. Take the label off of a water bottle.
  2. Gather small objects or small toys from around the house. If you want to make a themed I Spy bottle you can find unique items at the dollar store.
  3. Start by layering rice and small pieces until the bottle was a little more than 1/2 full.
  4. Use a hot glue gun to add a little hot glue to the cap if you are worried about your child taking it off and emptying the contents of the bottle.
  5. I used 6 objects; a sticker, game piece, crayon, small pom pom, paper clip, and a key.
  6. Before I put them inside the bottle, I put the objects on our copier.
  7. Then, I attached the picture of them to the front of the bottle with packaging tape.
  8. For older children, a list of things would work instead of pictures and it could be a laminated card tied around the top instead of taped on.
  9. The goal of the activity is for your child to move the rice around in the bottle to find the objects shown or listed.

At first, B was really concerned about getting his toys out of there instead of finding the objects. After a few more exposures, he really enjoyed it. He liked to race his dad and see who could find the objects first.

More I-Spy Bottle Ideas

This is a great project to do with your children. Gather different items together and layer them into the different bottles.

  • Find Letters – Add small alphabet beads or stickers to rice.
  • Search for Numbers – Number beads or stickers would work for this bottle.
  • Hunt for Colors – All of the objects included could be one color or put make it a rainbow bottle with each of the different colors of the rainbow.
  • Animal Hunt – Use animal beads from a craft store to find in the bottle.
  • Letter Sounds – Find objects that all start with the same letter to go into one bottle.
  • Find all of the items (without a list) and guess what they have in common. This is a challenge that older kids will love!
  • Is it magnetic? Layer magnetic and non magnetic items in rice using a magnet to pull them to the top.
  • Book Theme – Add objects that all go with your favorite book like Goodnight Moon.
  • Holiday I Spy Bottle – Different holiday color themes or themed decorations would make this I-Spy bottle a hit.

This is a fun game for kids of all ages. It can be a fun quiet time activity or a game for children to play in pairs as they race to find the list of items.

I Spy Water Bag

Make an I Spy Water Bag for a different sensory experience. 


I-Spy Window

Use the front of a pasta box to make an I Spy window. We’ve used this to hunt for colors, letters, and even words. 


Christmas Ornament I Spy


At Christmas time, try an ornament I Spy activity! It only takes a few minutes to set up and it is fun to play. You can even have your kids take pictures with the ipad and challenge each other. 



Thursday 28th of February 2013

Love this. Our chiropractor had one at the office and my 6yo LOVED it! Maybe I should make one...


Monday 28th of September 2009

Thanks for stopping by :-). I really need to make one of these I-Spy bottles!!

Tonya Lee

Monday 28th of September 2009

We just made one of these tonight and the twins loved it. We put it to good use tonight in a restaurant during a family dinner. I think the adults might have enjoyed it more!


Wednesday 23rd of September 2009

New idea to me! I have some pop bottles waiting around to be reused. I'll put this on my to do list. Thanks!

Nicole {tired, need sleep}

Wednesday 23rd of September 2009

I've been seeing this activity around a lot too - it's on my to-do-if-I-ever-find-the-time list. :) I really think M would enjoy it, although he may wonder about getting the things out of there too. Thanks for sharing!