Using things you have in the house for learning and play is the way to go when purchasing items is expensive and excessive. We made this Dominoes Math Discovery Bottle for some sensory math practice this past week using a few items that we had on hand. The nice thing about this sensory discovery bottle is that you can use different materials based on what you’ve got. There is no need to purchase specific items for this math activity. AND, once the learning and discovery is done, you can re-use the liquid inside. Read on to see how!
We are including affiliate links in this post just in case you decide you need or want to get the items that we’re sharing. This post is part of our month-long Learning with Free Materials series where we are sharing learning ideas for homeschoolers and school-extension activities using items that are free or mostly free (i.e. CHEAP or you already have in the home), and is part of the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips as we blog along with other bloggers with learning at home tips and tools.
What is a sensory bottle?
Sensory bottles, or discovery bottles are a calming bottle designed to allow a child to focus and re-group. This math sensory bottle is sure to provide a calming effect as your child does a little math, too. You can read more about how to make a discovery bottle.
Start with any brand of body wash. Don’t worry about waste, you’ll use it again after this activity has been done again and again. For the math portion of our discovery bottle, we used
mini dominoes. You’ll want the to be plastic for the discovery bottle material. Other options to use in a math discovery bottle are foam craft sticks
that you cut into rectangles and draw dots just like dominoes onto each side, or making your own dominoes with craft sticks like Mommy Needs a Coffee Break did.
Find a clear plastic bottle with a lid. A wide-lipped opening would work better, but any recycled plastic jar would do. Pour the body wash into the jar. Fill the rest of the jar with water. Add the dominoes and fill the water to the very top so that there are no air bubbles. Exact measurements of soap/water ratio are not needed. The soap gives the water a great bubbly consistency and will “float” the dominoes when shaken. Give your discovery bottle a good shake and swirl and watch the dominoes fall and float to the bottom.
First Grade and Kindergarten Math with a Discovery Bottle
Now for the light part of our light discovery bottle: We pulled out a small flashlight and watched the bubbles float as the dominoes sank through the soap and water mixture. This added sensory component made our discovery bottle extra fun and even more of a discovery! We tried to follow the falling dominoes with the light and name the number by quickly counting the number of dots. My oldest daughter was challenged to quickly add up the total number of dots on the spotted domino.
A skill that is done in Kindergarten math is identifying a number based on dots seen on a dice or domino. This skill is important in number identification and processing for math. My soon-to-be Kindergartner tried to name the numbers that he saw by counting the dots.
Re-use this bottle! Once the kids have used this discovery bottle for addition, subtraction, and calming sensory input, re-use the soapy water. Add it to a recycled foam soap dispenser
like we did in our foam fine motor workout sensory bin, or just use the soap and water mixture in a recycled soap dispenser at your sink for hand washing. The body wash will provide a great scent and you’ll have clean hands, too.
We’ve joined other bloggers in a monthly Discovery Bottles Blog Hop. You can see all of this month’s light inspired discovery bottles below: