At about 6 months, a baby learns to make a mental image of something she cannot see. You can help your baby practice this new skill by making a Peek-a-Boo bottle. When your baby points out half a ladybug, can she imagine the whole ladybug in her head? Does she shake the bottle so more sand falls away to check whether she was right? You can name the items in the Peek-a-Boo bottle and help her build new vocabulary, too.
An older child can use the Peek-a-Boo bottle as a guessing game or an I-spy game.
Gather together these ingredients:
- clean, empty plastic bottle with a tight-fitting lid
- salt or clean sand (you can also substitute another small-sized grain, such as rice or couscous)
- colorful electric tape and a little glue
- small treasures (ex: tiny plastic toy animals, small shells, a shiny stone, a penny, tiny spruce cone, a paper clip)
Whatever treasures you choose, keep in mind:
- They must be able to fit through the bottle's mouth.
- The more colorful they are, the more interesting they will be to your baby.
- Unusual shapes will also spark interest.
- Be prepared to name what you put into the bottle.
- Fill the bottle about 3/4 full with the sand or salt.
- Add the treasures.
- Screw lid on tight. (You may want to put a little glue around the lip to secure it, but that's optional.)
- Put about three layers of electric tape around the lid to keep it closed.
- Write down what you've put in the bottle on an index card to refer to later. It may come in handy.
Even with the glue and the three layers of electric tape, be careful with this toy. If the bottle were to open, the small items could pose a choking hazard for children under the age of three. It is a wonderful toy, however, to look at with a baby on your lap and the toy on hers.