Saturday, November 3, 2012

DIY jellyfish in a bottle

Not only is this a cool and virtually free DIY toy, it's a great learning tool, too! This DIY jellyfish is such a hit with my daughter. Not only is she having fun tipping the bottle upside down and back again to watch the handmade jellyfish float up and down, she learned a bit about jellyfish, too. I sat her in front of a short video about jellyfish that I found on YouTube and let her have the bottle and we both learned some interesting things about those cute, but sometimes incredibly dangerous little jellies.

This craft can be a bit of a trial and error but it's well worth it the end, especially if your kids learn some fun stuff from it! (My daughter is also getting a bit of a workout considering I chose a rather large water bottle that's a little heavy now and she refuses to put the thing down! :P)

You will need:
- a tall and smooth plastic water bottle (Note that if you pull any labels off of the bottle and there's sticky glue left on the the bottle itself, you can rub something oily like olive oil, baby oil or spray Pam over it, let it sit for a minute and then rub it off easily!)
- one drop of blue food coloring
- a transparent grocery bag
- thread
- scissors

1. Lay your grocery sack flat and if it has any handles, cut them off. Then cut it at it's sides and bottom so that you have one (a single layer) sheet of plastic either square or rectangular, it doesn't matter.

2. Pick the plastic sheet up from it's center and tie a string around it about an inch from the point. Don't tie it too tight because you're going to have to put a little bit of water in it. This is the jellyfish's head. Here's a picture of what you should have so far:

3. All of the plastic below the head needs to be cut into thin strips, those will be his tentacles. They don't have to be perfect, and they should be different lengths. Also, this is important... don't make too many tentacles. I did, and I had to get the jelly out of the bottle once I had him in there because it was a ball of crazy in there, it was a big mess. About ten tentacles should be enough, but use your judgment considering not all plastic bags are the same and some are a lot more flimsy than others. (The flimsier the bag, the less tentacles you'll want.) So, just cut off the excess plastic when you have the tentacles you want.

4. Now you'll want to add some water to the jellyfish's head. Fill it about three-fourths of the way up, leaving a little air bubble to allow the jelly to both float and sink. Another place I initially messed up. I only had about half water and the jelly moved way too fast and stuck itself to the top/bottom of my bottle. Remember, a small air bubble, so that it sinks around, but will eventually float it's way up. Tie your string in a tight knot.

5. Add your drop of blue coloring to your water. If it's too dark, just hold the bottle under a water faucet and run water into it until the color thins out to the desired color of blue.

6. Stuff your little jellyfish into the bottle and seal it up. You can glue the lid on to be sure your child can't get the lid off, if you'd like, and you're all done!

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