Who doesn’t love jelly? It’s squishy, it’s weird, it wobbles. There’s so much to love and from a sensory point of view it’s a fantastic activity for babies and toddlers.
Of course, normal jelly (i.e. jelly crystals in a box) is FULL of sugar, which might make it a less than suitable sensory snack for babies and toddlers. I wanted to create a simple jelly-based sensory activity that was taste safe but which wouldn’t leave my child bouncing off the walls, and I ended up with this.
In older kids it could be an interesting exploration of primary colours and mixing of colours, but for Oscar (13 months during this activity) it was just a general sensory activity that he had a ball with. As well as squishing and poking (hand eye coordination!), he also practiced spooning and mixing.
We did this indoors as we were in the middle of a week of phenomenally wet weather and going a bit stir crazy, but I would probably recommend this as an outdoor activity, so you can just hose everything off (including the baby) afterwards! At the very least lay a mat/towel/tarp down under your play space, which I did not do and later had many regrets about!!
Primary Colour Jelly Recipe
Making primary colour jelly for this sensory activity could not be easier!
All you need to do is get some gelatine, food colouring, water (hot and cold) and containers. I had three colours, so I used three containers.
Pour out some boiling water and then add some food colouring to get your desired colours. Mix the gelatine into the boiling water until fully dissolved. The amount of gelatine you use will depend on how hard you want your jelly to be. Use the instructions that come with the brand of gelatine you are using. Generally this will be a teaspoon per ml ration. Dissolve the gelatine in half of the liquid listed and then once full dissolved top up the remainder with cold water.
Pop your colours into the fridge to set overnight/for several hours. I threw this together in the evening and we were using it the following morning.
Set your sensory play area (we use a FLISAT table with TROFAST tubs from Ikea) up with the jelly cut into cubes and some spoons, scoops, or similar.
Let your toddler loose! They can safely taste/mouth the coloured jelly, but it won’t taste very good. Oscar had a few tries of it and then realised it definitely wasn’t for eating, after which he had a great time playing with it!