The design and development of these potion bottles came to life because of my magical childhood memory of making rose petal perfume in my garden. I can still vividly recall the velvety petals and how they changed to be tinged with brown when they were swirled with a carefully chosen stick in a jam jar. Then eagerly presenting it to my Mum and her delight in my creating a unique, rose aroma perfume.
I want children to store such memories. These engaging faceted top potion bottles lend themselves to such treasures and so many potential learning opportunities.
Use them in the mud kitchen zone. Provide an additional array of materials in order to fill them. Imagine getting a sprig of parsley, a leaf of mint and mashing them with a pestle and mortar before carefully transferring this marvelous mixture into your potion bottle.
Carefully consider a medley of potential ingredients; what will you have in your mixture larder? Will there be aromatic spices and herbs, glitter, gravel, jewels and slime? Provide utensils to accompany the potion bottles, therefore enriching the experience and encouraging the use of fine motor skills. Add a range of potion making, messy play accessories such as:
Consider the size of the utensils and whether they vary. Are they tiny, minute, miniature or huge and heavy? Are they all one texture or varying in material and design?
Consider the skills you want children to experience and explore, then equip accordingly. Do you want them to…
Provide tags and writing materials in order to label the potion bottles. Perhaps their mixture is a powerful pretend potion for a princess or a soggy, squelchy slime for turning you green or perhaps invisible. Let imaginations soar! Consider the opportunities to enrich language.
Are the ingredients in the Potion Bottles…
Did the dry materials change when you added liquid and can they be changed back? This is great for scientific understanding and teaches children about such concepts as irreversible changes in a fun, play-based way.
What about mathematical literacy? How many small, long, thin leaves go in the blue bottle? These Messy Maths Measuring Bottles include marks to measure 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4’s full. Children can fill and empty whilst discussing the volume and weight of the bottle. There’s so much potential to learn about:
Potion bottles work brilliantly in the sand and water area, but the right catalysts and provocations are needed for quality learning to take place.
When making perfumes, consider what ingredients will make this more interesting. Perhaps a drop of bubble bath(hypoallergenic versions) will help to change the colour, texture and smell? Imagine a frothy, bubbling iridescent perfume no less!
Some children may simply enjoy using the bottles as receptacles to collect things in or as shakers. Align the bottles to stories such as Professor Puffendorf’s Secret Potion or Potion Commotion. Perhaps set a challenge and ask them to make a mixture for a specific task, e.g. to add a touch of magic. You want the children to imagine, explore and investigate, utilising their senses and having great, memorable experiences.
Try using the potion bottles on rainy days to collect droplets or for pouring into puddles. Use with snow and ice. Add a droplet of paint then drip it onto the snow. Add a sprinkle of glitter and make the experience more magical. What happens to the snow in the bottle when it melts? Create Pirate themed role play areas, using the bottles for Pirate potions and brews. Collect treasure in them, add sand or create a message in a bottle. Bury treasure in sand, asking children to find it and collect it up in their bottles. How many coins or jewels can they find?
There are so many things you can use the bottles for. The children will be the architects of their own play and follow their interests. You can, however, help create the sparks that ignite the learning. Set the scene and ensure there are carefully chosen accessories readily available and safe.
With thanks the Catherine Clark for writing this post. Catherine has worked in Early Years Education for many years. She is the in-house educationalist at TTS, consulting and advising on how children learn. Catherine has developed numerous award-winning products at TTS and is passionate about children having enriched, exciting learning opportunities.