Yesterday we spent a wondeful day by the lake. When we got home, loaded with all the treasures a little boy can collect at the beach, Budster and I decided to create our own underwater world in a jar.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

About half an hour from where we live, there is a little provincial park on the lake. In the summer we often go there. It isn’t close to big cities, and it’s often deserted. Yesterday, when we arrived, there was another family there, but they soon left, and for a few hours, we had the whole beach to ourselves. We all had a great time. Budster threw rocks in the water, built sand castles, and splashed in the puddles until he was wet up to his knees. “No go home!” he was saying when we started collecting our bags.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

While looking down in the water, Budster managed to spot a lot of fancy beasties: he “saw” a snake, an octopus and a humpback whale. The truth was that we had not seen anything but seagulls, ducks and Devonian fossils, but it made me think that he wanted to add some inhabitants to the lake. When we came home with our pockets full of rocks, beach glass and shells, we used them to create a home for some of Budster’s marine creatures.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

Materials

– a bunch of mason jars (or any kind of jars with tight lids)

– rocks, shells, leaves and beach glass

– coloured water (you can use food colouring or watercolours)

– little plastic toys

– (optional) glitter

– (optional) submergible candles

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

Making Underwater I Spy Jars

To start, Budster filled the jars with rocks and seashells. There was just enough of them to cover the bottom of the jars. He chose one animal to add to every jar as well.  He had a couple of frogs, three fish, an octopus, a seahourse, a starfish, and a turtle to choose from.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

In the meantime, I mixed water with blue food colouring and added glitter to it. Budster filled his jars with the water. He really loves pouring liquids right now!

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

You can see that we used two different types of jars. Budster was very interested in matching the right lids to them, and I screwed the lids on.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

Playing with Underwater “I Spy” Jars

I showed Budster how to shake the jars to make the glitter float around, like in a snow globe. He was a fast learner, and for a while our little seas were storming hard.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

Budster has a collection of submersible LED candles to add to his Magnatiles constructions and water bins,  so we tossed a few in as the sun went down. Glitter, water and light gave the old mason jars quite a magical effect, so we just admired them for a while.

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

When Budster left the room, I switched the inhabitants of his jars and added new animals. After he came back, I asked him to find the animals in the jars and tell me who he saw there. He got all of them right, except for the parrot! Indeed, what would a parrot do underwater? Only a silly mommy would sneak it there!

Underwater I Spy Jars: let kids fill old mason jars with rocks and shells from the beach to turn them into underwater worlds and play I Spy games. A fun summer craft for kids of different ages!

Budster didn’t want to be separated from his jars even when it was time to take a bath, so from creating the underwater jars to playing with them, he enjoyed them for a long time!

This post is a part of Junk Play series, dedicated to creating toys from simple recyclable materials, like jars here. If you like to get more ideas from different bloggers, check Junk Play!

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