Messy Play: Snakes in Jelly!

This is an example of some pure, joyful messy play! Rubber toy snakes set into green jelly to look like glorious slime, resulting in a morning of fun, investigation and PLAY!
First of all, we made the jelly together which was in itself a real hands-on learning experience. We talked about how the jelly felt rubbery and squishy when it was in the cubes and Cakie marvelled when it “disappeared” after adding the boiling water. I asked her to predict what would happen after we refrigerated it, but she couldn’t imagine it!  Great for questioning and thinking skills!

 After she has helped make the jelly I dropped in the rubber snakes secretly so that they would be a real surprise in the morning! They mainly sank to the bottom but as soon as the jelly began to solidify they became suspended exactly where they had fallen. I added a layer of glitter over the top, just for fun!

 The next morning she was delighted with the snakes and immediately plunged her hands in to find them all and start playing! She commented on how “wobbly” and “squiggly” the liquid had become and spent ages running it through her fingers and squeezing it through her fists!

She made up some wonderful stories about the snakes “swimming in their swimming pool together” and later added some plastic toy people to join in the game too. Great for language and literacy skills!

 Little Sister was curious too and was quite taken aback by the cold temperature and the strange feeling of the jelly mix.

 I saw a bag of toy eye-balls in the shop too which would be really disgusting in a big bowl of blackcurrant jelly! Ewww! The mind boggles at the possibilities :-)

Learning Links:

  • Science (KUW): investigating the change of materials from solid-liquid-solid, questioning and prediction skills
  • Literacy: vocabulary development e.g. squishy, solid, liquid, solidify etc, telling stories using a small works play set up and toys
  • Maths: talk about volume and capacity when making the jelly, measuring amounts
  • Sensory: investigate materials using a range of senses, discuss how things feel and smell
  • Creativity: storytelling, using toys and props to represent other things
Cakie: 37 months
Pop: 18 months


  1. says

    Oh wow, that looks amazingly fun! Did you play with it too? I’m not sure if I could have resisted! Haha. Thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    haha i love this – I have used jelly crytals in the water tray before but like the idea of the set jelly AND I have eye balls already for my Hallowe’en witches brew!

  3. says

    Jennifer we followed the directions on the packer. It’s Jello in the USA so probably the same type of packet mixes exist? This came in squidgy cubes which we had to dissolve in boiling water, then leave to set in the fridge overnight.

  4. says

    What an appealing sensory experience! I would love to do this with our kids at school. I’m thinking we could throw in the plastic spiders the kids are fascinated with right now.

  5. says

    Love it! Just makes you want to dig right in. I really like how you post the learning links for your activities for those of us trying to promote play and may need learning justified (sad but true). You are a marvelous teacher and mom. I voted for you on Circle of Moms Top 25 blogs.