Step 1: Rubber Ducky's Not the One
Pushed underwater to make bubbles, used as a boat, used to sink other boats, filled with cold water and emptied on some unfortunate sibling's head, squeezed to squirt water or simply used for good old fashion clobbering and splashing -- the fun is endless!
Plus, you never need to clean those nasty black mildew spots. Recycle, and replace it with a fresh one. Did I say one? Fill the tub!
Step 2: Construction
Step 3: Shovel and Bucket
Step 4: Dress Them Up
Step 5: Bowling "lite"
10 (or 6) empty liter-sized plastic bottles
1 tennis ball
One hallway, preferably unencumbered with priceless, fragile artifacts
Patient and understanding downstairs neighbors
Take turns rolling the ball to knock over the "pins". Keeping score is optional. Game ends when neighbors bang their ceiling with a broomstick.
Step 6: Music
Using different types of beans isn't just to look pretty -- it affects your sound. For better musical control put lentils in one bottle, Fava beans in another, white beans in a third, maybe some rice or popcorn in the last one and start a band.
Step 7: The Little Fish That Got Away
Empty plastic bottle with cap
2 Paper clips
2 rubber bands
Make a small hole in the bottom of your bottle. I used a screw and screwdriver which worked well. Push one of the rubber bands through the hole. Hook a paperclip to it from the outside to hold it. Catch it from the inside with the other paperclip and hitch it to a second rubber band (you may not have to do that if your elastic is long enough, or your bottle small enough). Make another hole on the cap and bend the second paperclip in half so it holds the elastic in the middle. Push the two ends through the inside of the cap. Screw the cap on and attach your fish. You may want to make them with duck tape... my paper fish didn't hold on very well when I wound up the rubber band (by twisting the fish backwards) and then gave them a little push to start swimming. Oh well. This toy isn't meant to last, but it can start an interesting conversation on the food chain.
Step 8: Make a Night Light
Step 9: Dogs Like 'em Too
Step 10: Volcano
What you'll need:
3 cups of lint (the stuff you're supposed to take off your dryer filter)
2 cups of water
2/3 cups (non-self-rising) flour
One SHORT bottle (or your volcano will be more like a high rise)
red food coloring
detergent (such as dishwashing liquid)
Put lint and water in large saucepan. Stir to get it all wet, then add flour. Mix well to get rid of lumps and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till mixture holds together and forms peaks. Pour out onto several layers of newspaper to cool. Use this like paper mache pulp to shape and sculpt your volcano around the empty bottle. You can wrap newspaper around the bottle to make a more natural-looking grade for your hill.
This is the hard part: let dry for 3-5 days.
Fill the bottle most of the way with warm water. Add a few drops of red food coloring, 6 drops of detergent (liquid dishwashing soap) and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Stir as best you can. Add white vinegar and watch it bubble. Then watch your kids wander off and loose interest before you can explain about the acid (vinegar) reacting to the base (baking soda), creating a gas called carbon dioxide. Clean up.
Note: you can skip the whole volcano set-up, pour your baking soda and vinegar in an empty bottle and be done with this in a few minutes -- it's more fun anyway if you put it in a small bottle with a non screw-on cap (such as a milk container) shake it and watch it pop (OUTSIDE -- and omit the food coloring water and detergent) or you can skip the chemistry lesson and just have fun with the modeling material. If you press this into a mold you will get a smooth, hard finish. Shaped over an armature the result will be hard and durable too, but rough. If you want to keep your work for more than a few months I'd recommend adding a few drops of wintergreen oil, peppermint oil or powdered alum (sometimes used as a canker sore remedy) as a preservative.
Step 11: Sand Bottles
All you need to do this is an empty (preferably small) bottle, colored sand from a craft store and lots of patience -- that's the part I lack.
Step 12: Spin the Bottle
Let's say we sit a half dozen seven year olds in a circle, they take turns spinning the bottle and whomever the bottle is pointing at when it stops has to trade a Pokemon card with the spinner -- or is challenged to a Yugi-oh duel.
I summon you, Double Headed Dimensional Alchemist!
Or a group of moms waiting for a birthday party to end spin the bottle to pass time and must recount birthing stories in graphic detail, leaving the outnumbered father(s) nauseated and resentful at being so explicitly excluded. No, that's not nice.