Making an autumn nature bottle

I love the changing of the seasons. Winter to spring is my absolute favourite, for obvious reasons. But even when it means the end of our virtually non-existent summer, a drawing in of the evenings and a drop in temperature, I still get a tingle of excitement. Autumn does also mean beautiful colours, Bonfire Night and the faint jingle of Christmas bells in the air, after all.

ToddlerGirl knows nothing of all this yet, of course, but I have decided to start introducing the idea of the seasons to her in our play activities. We have been reading the picture book ‘Autumn’ so a tramp through some local woods at the weekend, ToddlerGirl encased in her waterproof all in one and wellies, seemed like a good opportunity to bring some of the elements from the book alive. It was a bit muddy and tough to navigate with a fairly newly walking toddler but ToddlerGirl really enjoyed exploring. There were lots of new things for her to discover: different colours and textures of the fallen leaves on the ground, some squelchy muddy puddles and loads of acorn cups! We spent some time looking at these in particular, which she found very interesting, especially the cups that still had their prickly coating. There weren’t many acorns around as the squirrels have obviously been doing a good job of hiding these away, but we did find a couple, including a few half eaten ones.

I brought a little selection of these goodies home with us so we could examine them a bit further. ToddlerGirl is a bit young to display these in an open container, mainly because she will just try to eat them. So I decided to make an autumn nature discovery bottle instead. Into a clean, clear plastic bottle went:

  • A handful of red and yellow dried leaves
  • A few acorn cups with their prickly cases on, some fresh and green, some more weathered
  • An acorn
  • A small twig
  • A few fabric flowers in autumnal colours
  • A couple of sparkly green and gold sequins shaped like leaves

I screwed the top on tightly (this is enough to foil ToddlerGirl but you can also glue the cap to be sure no little fingers can get inside) and tied a pretty green ribbon round the neck of the bottle.

When I first gave it to A, she didn’t actually seem that interested in it, giving it a cursory shake before discarding it. Humph. But I’ve left it out in our living room and she has returned to it a few times now. It’s been shaken a lot of course and all the different textures and weights combine to make a great sound. In quieter moments, we’ve also sat and looked inside carefully, with ToddlerGirl pointing and exclaiming when she spots one of the items. I love the fact that, when it is shaken, different objects come into view and ToddlerGirl seems to be taken with that too. Another game that I hadn’t anticipated is taking the bottle and putting it carefully upright on a surface, removing it and then replacing it; this absorbed her for a good ten minutes or so earlier!

I also made a watery discovery bottle loosely themed for the autumn, with some orange food colouring in the water, some sequins shaped like leaves and stars and some glitter. Lovely!

There are some more ideas for autumnal sensory bottles here and a great Halloween one here.

What would you put in your autumn bottle?

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