Panda Bear Discovery Bottle for Family Dinner Book Club

Make an easy panda bear discovery bottle for this month's Family Dinner Book Club craft.

It's the first day of the month (and the first day of the year!) which means that it's time for one of my favorite activities - the Family Dinner Book Club. I'm so excited to be starting my second year co-hosting this awesome club with Jodie from Growing Book by Book and Sarah of Chef Sarah Elizabeth. Last year was an amazing experience for my family, and I've loved seeing all of your dinners and crafts too! If you are returning for another year, welcome back, and if you are new, I'm so excited to share this family project with you.

Make a panda bear discovery bottle for this month's Family Dinner Book Club! This fun I Spy activity is also perfect for learning about pandas or a panda theme unit - it's super easy to make and lots of fun!

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Family Dinner Book Club

Family Dinner Book Club is a wonderful way for families to connect over good books, easy crafts, and delicious food. It's simple - every month, we share a book with activities & conversation starters from Growing Book by Book, a themed menu from Chef Sarah Elizabeth, and an easy craft from me. This year, I'm super excited that we're going "around the world" and each month's book with showcase a different country.

January's Book: The Year of the Panda

Our Family Dinner Book Club pick for January is Miriam Schlein's The Year of the Panda. This book takes us to China, where a young boy named Lu Yi finds an orphaned baby panda. As he cares for it, he learns more about the plight of the panda and what the government is doing to save them. It's a wonderful short novel for young animal lovers.
Inspired by The Year of the Panda, we decided to make one of our favorite crafts: a panda themed discovery bottle.
Love discovery bottles? Check out all of ours here!

Panda Bear Discovery Bottle

This discovery bottle is so easy to make that your kids can help, and it makes a wonderful activity too! It will keep them occupied playing "I Spy" while they wait for dinner to be ready, or any time they need a quiet activity. Here's what you need.

  • Clean, empty bottle. I use VOSS bottles because of their smooth sides. 
  • Colored Rice (we used this method from Little Bins for Little Hands to dye our rice). How much you'll need depends on the size of your bottle - I used approximately 2 cups for a large VOSS bottle.
  • Miniature Pandas - mine came from this Toob.
  • Small craft dowels
  • Brown Marker
  • Glue (optional if you want to seal the bottle closed)
Start by dyeing your rice with green food coloring and letting it dry completely. Then take 2 small dowels and cut them to fit inside your bottle. Use a brown marker to draw lines on them to resemble bamboo.

Drop the dowels inside your bottle, then begin to fill it with rice. Add in your pandas as you go, leaving about 1-2" of empty space at the top of the bottle so that the contents can move freely inside. My boys loved helping with this step!

When you are finished, you can seal the bottle with glue if you'd like. Now you're ready to explore your own panda habitat!

See it in action here!

My boys were fascinated moving the bottle around and discovering all of the pandas inside. You can have your kids play I-Spy, and see how many different pandas they see. You can try to get the pandas to land on the "bamboo" too!

And finally, you can use your bottle as a table decoration for your Family Dinner Book Club meal. Find the menu for your meal now from Chef Sarah Elizabeth, and don't forget to get your conversation starters and service projects here from Growing Book by Book.

And drop by our Facebook page to share photos of your Family Dinner Book Club projects, or tag me @sunnydayfamily on Instagram too!

Be sure to check out last year's Family Dinner Book Club crafts for more inspiration!

More Panda Favorites

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