Picture of Fun with bottles
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the many ways in which plastic bottles can be used as toys.
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Step 1: Rubber ducky's not the one

Picture of Rubber ducky's not the one
An empty bottle's much more fun!

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

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Safer and more suspenseful than a wood block tower, try finding out how many you can stack. You don't have to be a toddler to become engrossed in this game!

Step 3: Shovel and bucket

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All you need are three empty milk bottles (two half gallons and one gallon) and you're set for the sandbox. The plastic fruit and vegetable trays are great for sifting, too...

Step 4: Dress them up

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Little yogurt bottles make great dolls (or soldiers). If you eat a lot of them you can raise an army -- or make a chess set! I'll post more pictures as we consume the yogurts...

Step 5: Bowling "lite"

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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

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If you want more noise, put a few dried beans in an empty bottle, shake it hard and call it 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.
JodyDenny2 years ago
A little science lesson you can do with kids:

Fill about 1/3 with water.
Get a funnel and let the kids put about another 1/4 or more of plain old dirt fron the yard/beach/driveway/lawn...this can be really cool if the do one a day.

Now, get them to put the cap on and shake it up good. Over the next couple days, they will see that the dirt will filrter itself through the water in ascending order of fineness. Rocks on the bottom, silt on top.

THis looks cool, it cost nothing and kids think it's, they might just learn something on summer break this year!
Puzzledd4 years ago
Lots of fun, very creative and green. I find it hard to throw away bottles... or anything with potential. I don't think I could throw out a refrigerator box even now, and my baby is now over 20!

I like the little fishies idea ;) My pre-schoolers used to love bottles for water and sand play, bowling, collage constructions, shakers... this brings back memories. You can also use the cut-off bottom of a bottle for a sand mold, and blow across the top of a bottle as a "wind instrument".

For shakers, try glitter or confetti for a softer sound and to look pretty. If you're using them with littlies, please make sure you duct tape on the lids of shakers with beans etc in.

Thanks for the 'ible - cute toddler/pup pics too!

cindypsych5 years ago
My dog absolutely LOVES plastic bottles.  He'll carry empty 20 oz. bottles around all day and lie with them as if they were a toy.  He also loves chasing empty plastic milk gallons.  Once we had an empty room in our house (a roommate had just moved out and the new one hadn't moved in yet).  We also found ourselves with a few garbage bags full of plastic milk and soda bottles (hadn't been to the recycling center in far too long).  We'd been diligent about rinsing, so they were all clean.  So my husband decided to dump all the bottles in the empty room and bring the dog in.  He went bonkers!  Chasing and nosing and running around.  So much fun!
belsey (author)  cindypsych5 years ago
 That (and a big serving of chicken) would be my dog's idea of heaven!
lilyadog5 years ago
Never had any pup cut their gums on the plastic but we've always had smart dogs. One had a Goldren who could compleley chew up a cat food can and never cut her mouth. She stole the can!
lilyadog5 years ago
Our puppy loves plastic milk bottles or large pop bottles with a few kibbles inside. She has learned to screw off the cap and shake out the kibbles. But that was when she was two. As a puppy the thing just drove her nuts but she had fun!
swartley3ga5 years ago
a good quick spin to see who gets to be "it" for hide and seek or duck duck goose or tag seems age appropriate
inergy5 years ago
I want your doggie :)
:) Are you sure you want the neighbor kids going home telling their moms "I played spin the bottle at Bobby's house!!!"? Just a thought. Fun stuff - thanks.
What about cap gun? Nice easy fun instructable...
chuckr446 years ago
For Spin the Bottle, how about: - Recounting funny dating stories. - How did you get engaged? - Recounting funny kid stories? How many peas can fit up a 2 year old's nose? What happens when a baby eats a lot and the diaper can't hold it all? - Funniest thing your kid has said? - Farthest horizontal distance your baby has "burped up"?
belsey (author)  chuckr446 years ago
Those are good... and they reminded me of when I was a French teaching assistant trying to get students to talk: I asked them to tell about the most embarrassing thing which had ever happened to them. We heard some great stories, but EVERYBODY told of things which had happened to someone else, not themselves. Since my goal was conversation rather than humiliation I only corrected their grammar....
i love your works u r a great designer.
roosta6 years ago
take it away if they puncture the bottle too as the sharp edges around the hole can cut their gums, then you end up with dog blood on your carpet.
belsey (author)  roosta6 years ago
And since my dog can only be described as a drama queen (even though he's a boy...) I'm sure I'd also get some pretty loud yelping.
roosta6 years ago
nice picture of the bubbles. do yo still have that in full res? would make a good background for a phone or computer screen.
belsey (author)  roosta6 years ago
Send me a private message with you email and I can send you a copy.
stib6 years ago
Great 'ible They make good funnels for sand too. Just cut off the bottom and use the top half. Because they're a bit wider than most funnels the sand pours through without blocking. They're good for anything you need a funnel for actually.
belsey (author)  stib6 years ago
How could I have missed that one? I even had the piece right there (the other half of the patty cake mold). When the weather warms up maybe I'll go take another picture. Thanks for the comment!
bustedit6 years ago
I've always tapped a few holes in the bottle cap w a nail or small drill bit to make an ad-hoc 2 litre squirt gun (by just squeezing bottle), or could be used to water plants. I use one to rinse our shower stall of the spray-on cleaner.
Bobblob6 years ago
Clever, friendly, warmhearted and creative, very nice! Reminds me of the hours and hours I spend playing, as a kid, with "toys" made from cardboard boxes etc. My favorite was a "Jeep" that I could get inside, drew wheels on the outside too. Varooom!
belsey (author)  Bobblob6 years ago
Thanks! But don't get me started on all the fun things which can be made with cardboard boxes... getting rid of our refrigerator box after a few weeks in the middle of the living room was a traumatic experience....
Bobblob belsey6 years ago
Perhaps another fun Instructable? Go for it!