The wonders of bright and colorful gelatin

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on March 25, 2012

in Gelatin Square Water Play, Science and Nature, Sensory Play, Warm and Cold

Gelatin  squares create a fascinating and interesting exploration in color and texture through water play, science, and discovery…

The gelatin squares are cool and rubbery to the touch and because there is no sugar involved, they are not sticky….

To make gelatin squares, I followed the directions on the box of Knox Gelatine but reduced the amount of water so that the gelatin would be more play friendly. For each color, I used…
  • 1 package of Knox original unflavored Gelatine
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • Food color

After mixing all the ingredients, following the directions on the Knox Gelatine box, I poured each color into an ice tray and refrigerated it for almost 2 weeks.  In the future, I think I will just pour each color into a cake pan and refrigerate then cut them into squares so it is easier to remove them from the pan. Removing them from the ice trays was a bit challenging….

I let the children help me remove the Gelatin squares from the ice trays and play with them as they went along.  The children loved feeling the texture and trying to stack up the squares as we took them out of the trays…

As you can see, some of the squares didn’t come out all that perfect but most of them did.  Some of the children used plastic knives to slice the squares.  We explored the squares in many ways so I wasn’t worried about making perfect squares for this process…

And some of the children made shapes on the table with the gelatin squares…

Although we stacked the squares together, they did not stick together. After exploring all the squares on the table for a bit, I set out a tub of COLD water and invited the children to explore the gelatin squares in the water.  They LOVED this and while playing in the water, the children made the observation that the gelatin squares were not changing the color of the water…

The children used their hands to explore the squares in the water and they also used plastic strainers (which I saved from frozen steamer dinner trays) to pick up the squares from the water.

The cold water did start to turn slightly green from the squares of gelatin but the children wanted to explore more color melting so we added a second tub of warm water. The children wondered if hot water would melt the gelatin faster so after we had played with the squares in cold water for awhile, I set out a second tub of very warm water (almost hot) for the children to see what would happen to the squares…

And we saw an immediate reaction to the warm water. The colors began to bleed out into the water as the gelatin squares started to melt…

Obviously we were not going to be using the gelatin squares for more than one day of exploration but it was all worthwhile and because it was such an interesting material to explore – I will gladly make more squares for future play…

As the gelatin squares were added to the warm water tub, theycontinued to melt until our warm water tub turned to a dark green…

This process provided a rich experience in language, science, fine motor development, and play. If you wanted to make the process last longer, then wait to add the warm water and just let the children explore the gelatin squares in several tubs of cold water….

In the end, our warm water tub turned a dark green from all the colors mixed together.  I also think we could have set out several tubs of warm water and had the children sort the gelatin squares by color into the different warm water tubs before mixing all the colors together….

Lots of opportunity to change this process up for future play and discovery!

 

Links to grow on…

Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub from No Time for Flashcards

Sensory Play with Jelly from Learning 4 Kids

Books available on Amazon…


This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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