Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ocean in a Jar

We recently returned home from a lovely vacation in Costa Rica.  Of course Sophie thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the pool and exploring the beach.  During her numerous beach expeditions she managed to acquire quite the collection of seashells, which I know we were not supposed to bring home with us, but really how many people break that rule?  Yes I know that statement means that I will one day be hypocritical when I tell my teenage daughter that “Just because so and so does it, doesn’t mean you should too.”  Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Anyways, we arrived home with this little collection of seashells and rocks that were Sophie’s newest cherished possession.  Well now what?  I tried to picture myself dusting around these troublesome treasures on her bookshelf and occasionally stepping on one that has tumbled to the floor in Sophie’s hasty book selection for bedtime.  Nope, just couldn’t do it.  Luckily I stumbled across this brilliant idea in my twitter feed to create an Ocean in a Bottle

So here is Sophie’s little ocean…

Word to the wise:  The Ocean in a Bottle directions that I found suggest that you should mix vegetable oil with water to make your little ocean.  Well when I read that I thought it was a little odd considering that vegetable oil and water are known to separate and not mix, but I thought I’d be trusting (gullible, clueless, whatever you want to call it).  Perhaps the food colouring magically bonds the water to the vegetable oil… Nope, I ended up with an ugly mess.  I tried shaking it really hard, but then I ended up with a bunch of nasty looking oil droplets floating in the water that quickly rose to the top to separate into a particularly ugly yellow layer of oil.

So here's what we used:

- Jar with a lid
- Aquarium sand
- Shells & Rocks
- Water
- Blue food colouring - 1 drop
- Hot glue gun
- Ribbon

You could really add everything in whatever order you want to, but here's what we did:

Put enough sand to fill the jar about 1/8 full.
Top up with water, leaving some room at the top for air.

Add the food colouring and give it a little shake.
Plunk the seashells and rocks in (Sophie's favorite part of course).

Screw the lid on very tight and run a bead of hot glue along the edge of the lid. (Note: I tried gluing the lid on as was also suggested in the directions I found, but it ended up leaving gaps in the seal so it leaked)
Tie some ribbon around the lid to add pizzazz and hide the glue. 

There you have it.  Now instead of having a dozen or so seashells to dust and threaten my poor defenseless feet, we have a beautiful little world of wonder to shake, explore and as things go with toddlers, eventually forget about.

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