This is something that I have planned for a while, but has taken me much longer to pull together due to one or two issues, despite it being really straightforward and only needing a few items.
I had initially planned it as a post Bank Holiday task. Something to ease me back in after a weekend of Bank Holiday ‘stuff’. But one day merged into another as they do and before I knew it I blinked and it was the weekend again.
Anyway, onwards! My plan was to make some jelly fish that can be played with in water. I had seen them on the Internet and knew that the kids would enjoy the tactile nature of the jelly. I figured that they could use nets and pretend to catch them and just generally enjoy handling the jelly and moving them from one container to another.
As I said, I had planned for them to be fish-shaped jelly, but I couldn’t find that ice cube mould! (I know it’s in a cupboard somewhere, but isn’t everything?!) So I did some stars and skulls and cross bones, figuring that they could be star fish and pirate related. But I couldn’t get them out of the moulds! I ran the mould under a hot tap, but it was too hot and melted the jelly. (So avoid doing that!) I ended up just with old school ice cube trays, which actually made very pleasing shapes, and the fact that they weren’t a specific shape didn’t bother the kids at all. (It was just me and my aesthetics and photo opportunities that were troubled!)
So, I used all eight sheets of gelatine but used less water than was suggested on the packaging, just over a litre, or four cups. I added my usual food colouring to them and popped them in the fridge over night. Once I had them out of the tray, by using warm water rather than hot to help them on their way, I used the same set up as I did back when Eric was washing his vehicles. So the plastic sheet, then the large plastic tray and finally a clear plastic box which normally holds magazines to give a fish tank feel, although I guess the fish idea had gone out of the window by this point!
I filled the clear plastic container with water and plopped the jelly shapes in. I really should know by now that I don’t really need to think these things through too much. The children just use their imagination and go with it, and that gives the best results. So I just gave them a few props, a couple of little nets, some scoops, the fail safe teapot and a few other pots and they were away. Eric enjoyed gathering them up and putting them in the teapot, whereas Mabel was more vocal in what she was doing, giving me a running commentary, and went with the catching them in the nets and chasing them round the water. “This is cool!” she said as she played.
It didn’t last as long as I had hoped, as the jelly fell apart quite easily. Although that didn’t stop them playing with it. But they enjoyed it for a good while and it gave another dimension to what was turning into a wet Saturday stuck indoors. Next time I think I will make the jelly more concentrated and harder to break up, and I also think I will try it in the bath, so it doesn’t matter how broken up it gets or where it goes. Plus, if they are already up playing in the bath, it’s much easier to just transform it into bath time!