For today’s sensory activity, I wanted to do an arctic, icy, polar theme with loads of things to explore. We are a bit hectic here this week as we are in the middle of redecorating and I had been rushing round to a couple of appointments so I didn’t get any chance to plan it, just pulled together whatever suitable things we had.
As the weather is finally getting nicer, we are able to play out in the garden after school. This gives a great chance to do some more messy activities. The activity we did today – Sensory play with rice and lentils – I wouldn’t have wanted to do inside the house, as it can be a bit hard to keep it all contained.
But out in the garden without needing to worry about mess, the boys had a lot of fun!
I first heard about GelliBaff when they came to Playfest recently to support red nose day, by providing the Jelly for people do something funny and raise money. It’s a great material for sensory play and we were lucky enough to win a pack by participating in the Playfest discussions, and with all the kids at home for the school holidays – Messy play with GelliBaff seemed like a fun activity to keep them busy for a while!
GelliBaff is designed to go in the bath, but rather than filling a whole bath and putting the kids in it I decided to put some of in a baby bath and let the children play like that. They are used to doing messy play with their hands in trays, or the baby bath which I always use at home, so they didn’t hesitate too much. This would be a better option for any children who are unsure about the texture.
We had the “lava red” colour as you can see above. I would say it looked more of a pinky purple to me, but it was quite a nice colour.
It’s very easy to make, just add the gelli powder under running water and mix it until you are happy with the consistency. It can be made thicker or more watery, according to whatever you prefer.
Adding toys to it definitely helped to keep the children’s interest on the activity for longer. The tipper truck was a really good one, as they can fill it up with the GelliBaff and empty it to cover and bury the vehicles and any characters that have been placed inside. Having a tool like a plastic spanner or wrench was also good for them to use to dig out the buried vehicles and “rescue” them.
We also decided to pour glitter into it just to add a bit of sparkle, then use the empty glitter containers to do filling and pouring with the Gelli.
This was all very easy to prepare and quite easy to tidy away afterwards. It washes off hands and toys very easily. I purposely made sure they only chose hard plastic toys which are easy to wipe down, but none of the toys have been discoloured or marked in any way by being played with inside the GelliBaff. Some of it was dropped onto the floor, thanks to my youngest – but it was quite easy to clean off and didn’t leave any marks.
I had been wanting to do this outside, but as the weather hasn’t been too good we just did it indoors and it was fine. As messy play goes its not too bad at all in terms of tidying up. To dissolve the GelliBaff you add a 2nd powder and then add water and mix until it becomes thinner, then it is fine to go down the drain.
The feel of the GelliBaff is quite slimy and gloopy but its not unpleasant and all of the children were quite happy to play in it. My 3 year old normally loves all the messy play and sensory things so I thought he would be the most keen, but actually the other 2 spent more time in it and he was slightly unsure although he did join in and play for a while.
It kept all of the children entertained and next time I will probably try and find different toys to put into it to mix it up a bit and make it different. All sorts of different play scenes could be created, like getting the blue gelli baff and putting artic creatures inside it to make a kind of slimy polar world or the green with space ships, astronauts and space creatures!
It’s definitely a good one to have in the cupboard to add variety to your messy play 🙂
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