My son, Bhoom, has recently become interested in shaking things in water bottles. The other day, I was searching for something to put in a water bottle for him to shake for fun. I saw a plastic grocery bag lying around (as I’m sure you have in your home!) and thought of this idea.

After a few trials (and of course a few errors), the little jellyfish came to life! When Bhoom first saw it, his jaw dropped to the ground. Hopefully your child will enjoy this project as much as mine did.


  • plastic grocery bag
  • water bottle
  • thread or string
  • food coloring
  • scissors


  1. jellyfish steps 1Flatten the bag and cut off the handle and the bottom part (see picture 1).
  2. Cut along both sides (see picture 2) to split into two plastic sheets (we only used one of them.)
  3. From the center of the plastic sheet, fold it like a tiny balloon to make the head part and tie it with the thread—not too tight (see picture 3). You must leave a little hole in order to pour some water into the head part (see pictures 7-8).
  4. Once you've secured the head, the remaining plastic will be the jellyfish's tentacles. Cut from the edge up to the head, roughly, to make about eight to ten tentacles (see picture 4).
  5. For each tentacle, cut again into three or four small strings (see picture 5) and cut off the remaining part.
  6. jellyfish steps 2Trim to make random long and short tentacles (see picture 6). When finished, you'll get something like this (the pile on the left is all the spare pieces we cut off).
  7. Put some water into the head part so that it can sink, but leave some air inside to allow it to float.
  8. Fill up your water bottle. Then put your jellyfish in the bottle, along with a few drops of blue food coloring. Screw on the cap and shake lightly.

    Then your jellyfish craft is finished. Don't forget to make sure the cap is properly closed and tight before you give it to children! Encourage your kids Bhoomto turn it upside down—they'll be surprised to see it move every time they turn the bottle. Bhoom spent some time trying to confuse the jellyfish by turning the bottle back and forth very fast.

    Young kids like Bhoom will exercise their hand and arm muscles whenever they flip, rotate or turn the bottle. They can also learn about the relationship between the direction of the bottle and the movement of the jellyfish. For older kids, you can ask them questions about why the jellyfish always floats up to the water surface and discuss the differences between a real jellyfish and the one in the bottle.

Suchada (Sue) is a graphic designer, writer, blogger and mother who enjoys sharing her experiences on her blog, Bhoomplay. Initially intended to document her son’s growth, Sue’s blog has taken off as she inspires other mothers to enjoy meaningful and creative craft-time with their kids.

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  • guest

    Good points, thanks!  The “downloadable booklet” link does not work…

  • Food_Safety_Attorneys

    Our attorneys recently won $4.5 million for a young woman who got an E. coli infection from eating undercooked tenderized steak. Her E. coli developed into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which caused kidney failure. The lesson here is that all food served to children should be cooked well to kill any pathogens.

  • J-noh

    Perfect time to try this craft since kids are on spring break!

  • omgpop2153

    this is an awesome project to do

  • FunKid

    Had troubles makeing it. JellyFish Did Not Move The Way I Imagined -_-



    • Ur mum

      Did you do it after school? It’s been 3 years, Amie.

  • Angelcris Emnace Sadili

    You have a long instructions. It would be better for the reader to make it short.

  • Doctor Who

    I am not sure if this is worth it. It sounds like kids can do better things with their time and skills.

  • Guest Ninomills

    Great idea for a sensory activity. My child has SPD and loves the calm of the little jelly fish “swimming” around. Very calming and neat discovery bottle. Might try adding this to our timeout basket. Did have some trouble getting it to move. Will try adding more water, think ours had too much air. Think we may experiment and try adding glitter glue or corn syrup to slow the movement down. Great idea thanks for posting!

  • apirl flores

    i love this for his school project.

  • poop

    this did not work for me. and I tried everthing.

  • Yvonne Greene

    I would extend the lesson and teach them that trash such as plastic bags finds itself into our waterways as pollution where it can entangle wildlife (if that’s all then they’re lucky but more than like will die from it) or they can mistake it for food whereas they die from starvation or suffocation. (Lots of photos on Texas Parks and Wildlife site of this very problem). Then I would extend it even further buy teaching them the importance of the environment, picking up trash and using (or making) reusable grocery bags to combat this very problem.

    • Kirsten McGovern

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this. I want to use this at my nature center to show how turtles (and other sea creatures) can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish that they eat. I’m excited to try it!

  • Alison Ashley Formento

    I absolutely love this project and it’s a perfect share for teachers who do activities with my book THESE SEAS COUNT! (Albert Whitman & Co. 2012) In the book, the kids are cleaning a dirty beach and I love finding ways to repurpose items in a useful or artistic way, especially plastics which are harmful to our oceans and seas.

  • lolnan

    Tried different bottles and bags, just didn’t work for me. My grandchildren were disappointed.

  • Steven Lee

    Although you don’t want to get in the habit of forcing your kids to eat foods they don’t like or make them “clean” their plates, there are lots of healthy foods kids like. Parents often overlook these healthy foods and go straight to what they think are more “kid-friendly foods,” such as hot dogs, pizza, french fries, chicken nuggets, juice and soda.

  • Sarah Jane Fretwell

    I just made this and had trouble keeping water inside the jellyfish head so i stuffed some of the left over plastic wet inside and re-closed it and that has worked for me. Although I do think my jellyfish was too big for the bottle so i transferred it to a 2L bottle and that has worked better.

  • guest

    To all the people having problems keeping air in your bag, why don’t u try a small balloon or water balloon and then tie the bag over that… this project is way to cool to just rule out all possibilities… just saying. I’m for sure going to make some amazing jelly’s with this idea, add some LED’s to the equation and we got ourselves a spectacular sight.

  • Lynda Roberson

    Children learn what they live so if you don’t introduce unhealthy choices, they won’t make them.

  • simple knit & crochet

    This my point… “A recent study found that young children’s food tastes are significantly related to foods that their mothers liked and disliked.”

  • spanglernest

    All of the above are great points to encourage healthy eating in kids. It is important to start the process and encouragement early on! I am a third year medical student at UNC School of Medicine and have written an interactive children’s book, Where is Henry? Where is Henry? incorporates the importance of daily physical activity, nutrition education, and literacy within the classroom/family setting. Where is Henry? Is geared towards kindergarten to third grade students and their families, providing a mechanism for nutrition education during routine reading time (with a twist!). You might be wondering—what exactly is an interactive children’s book? Where is Henry? allows students to interact with the story, performing exercises while the story is being read. Learn more about the Where is Henry? at

  • Brooklyn

    These are really good choices

  • Emile Janson

    Thanks for the tips, its really useful for all the moms out there and its really very important to develop healthy eating habits for the kids. Here are some healthy ideas for kids which will help to develop a healthier lifestyle.

  • Jen Hajime

    Amazingly sincere and helpful information prepared in bitesize pieces. I’ll be using and linking to this article as I write my own healthy eating for kids guide. Thanks PBS!
    Sustainable and rent free in NYC

  • Mrs. Long

    I have tried this multiple times, multiple ways. Not working. At all. Even with no air at all in the top of the jellyfish, it still floats to the top and just looks like a plastic bag. Glad I made several attempts before trying it with my class. We will not be attempting this. After reading the other reviews, sounds like I’m not the only one who has had problems.