Getting messy is a hallmark of childhood, but did you know it’s also really good for kids? Exposing kids to lots of different sensory experiences and textures early in their lives helps develop their tactile system, which is important for the development of body awareness, hand skills, and even healthy eating habits. This means sensory play is both fun and educational!
We recently had fun during our first wet sensory play experience with some good ol’ fashioned Jello! After several hours of waiting for that gelatinous goodness to solidify, I sat my little one down in the bath tub with a bowl of black cherry Jello and a few spoons and let him go to town.
Here are a few tips for facilitating your own Jello sensory play experience:
1. Because Jello must be refrigerated for several hours before it’s ready, it is REALLY cold when it’s time to play. Give it some time on the counter after it’s hardened so your little one won’t feel like they’re plunging their hand into a bucket of ice water when they’re supposed to be having fun.
2. If your child is hesitant about touching the slimy stuff once it’s available, try giving them a “tool” such as a spoon or other utensil. This will provide some distance between them and the messy medium and will give them time to get comfortable with it.
3. If your child doesn’t warm up to it, that’s fine. Don’t force it. Put the bowl back in the fridge and try again another day.
4. If your child is all about sensory play, then try hiding things or playing with toys in the Jello. It could be bath toys, plastic letters, or other small toys that can be easily washed. Follow your child’s lead and encourage their imagination.
5. DO NOT allow kids to stand up in the tub after they’ve been playing with the Jello. It is super slippery and the last thing you need is a fun-time-turned-accident. Closely supervise during this experience.
6. Maybe try to avoid using Jello that is also the same color as blood. Like I said, I used black cherry flavor, and I didn’t realize how bad the color was until my baby started smearing it all over himself. Yeah. Looked like he was on the set of some sort of slasher movie. Not cool.
7. Wash all surfaces that have been covered in Jello so they aren’t sticky or slimy anymore…including baby!
What are some other fun ways you can play with Jello? Please share in the comment box below!