I've never been a big fan of Jello, the taste of it anyway, which is why Aurora and Gray have never even seen the stuff before. So, when I made up a bin full of green "slime" as Aurora called it, and shoved some snakes and frogs in it, she was convinced it was completely inedible! This may have been the first actually tasty (if you think Jello is tasty) sensory bin I've made for the kids, but it took quite a bit of coaxing to get them to try a bite of the Jello pond!
Beyond this being both an educational activity and a snack, it was a really neat sensory experience. The kids have played in flubber, oobleck, and lots of doughs, but nothing is quite the same as a bin full of Jello! I used 1 box of lime Jello and 1 box (4 packets) of Knott's Gelatin with six cups of water (3 hot, 3 cold). This filled up the bottom of the bin quite nicely and the Jello that the kids did eventually eat was less sugary than the normal recipe!
We added some snakes, frogs, fish and bugs from our Safari toobs, although, I think toob would be excellent for this bin if you wanted to introduce children to the life cycle of a frog: Safari Ltd Life Cycle of a Frog.
They tentatively approached the gelatinous pool, prodding and experiencing a great deal of surface tension. Eventually their caution gave way to grabbing whole handfuls of the green goo and squishing it between their fingers!
They were excited to see some of the imprints left behind by the animals that had sat in the Jello while it hardened, the snake especially left a nice squiggly impression.
And, eventually they got around to taste testing it. They're both very good about not eating items from the sensory bin, so I'm sure it was a total shock to them that I was trying to put chunks of green goo in their mouths!
We had a great morning learning about the pond habitat. We talked about which animals eat each other (for some reason, this is Aurora's favorite animal topic), so that of course led to role playing frogs catching bugs with their tongues, and then the frog would see a snake and would hop on the lily pad to get away!
This was a super easy bin to throw together, I didn't even bother putting the Jello in the fridge, it solidified in about 20 minutes sitting on the counter, so not a lot of prep time involved! If you're looking for a fun weekend activity for the kids, I definitely recommend taking a dip in a Jello pond!
For more amazing play ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.