Frozen Jello Sensory Play

Create a wonderfully fun material for summer sensory play by freezing jello/jelly with sparkles mixed through! It is also a fantastic, hands-on science investigation for watching changes in state of materials and experimenting with how to make substances melt.Frozen sparkle jello sensory play collage


In a brief period of warmish weather recently we set up a fun science investigation for messy, sensory play in the garden! Using some strawberry flavoured powdered jelly(o) mixes, we followed the directions on the packet and made up a large bowl full of jello in liquid form. They sprinkled in a generous amount of confetti glitter and stirred it through, then we left it to set overnight.Sparkly jelloWhen it had set we removed it from the bowl and tipped it into a large plastic bag, mixing it with wooden spoons to make a lovely jumbled mess! Then we popped the plastic bag into the freezer overnight and the kids couldn’t wait to see how it had transformed by the next day. Cutting and sculpting frozen jello

The jello had set into a large, rounded block with the sparkles shining through and the girls immediately set about trying to break it apart and make it defrost. Using plastic knives and forks and a blunt pizza cutter, they were able to slice through it and divide it into chunks, and it felt a little like a frozen watermelon in its consistency! Thick and crumbly ice chips, which started to thaw at the edges and become malleable again.Spraying frozen jello

To help speed up the defrosting process they grabbed some water bottles and sprayed the frozen jello ice all over, instantly helping it to thaw out a little and turning the top most layer into a gloriously squidgy consistency that felt SO good to touch and squeeze through fingers! Cakie had remembered defrosting frozen flowers and toys from ice last summer using the spray bottles and set this experiment into motion using her previous experience and knowledge gained. “The water helps it turn slushy, look!”Defrosting frozen jello

After a whole afternoon of being left outside it slowly warmed and thawed all the way through, back to a completely jelly like substance. The girls were able to witness and experiment with one material changing its state 4 times, with real hands-on investigative skills! They witnessed:

powder -> liquid

liquid -> malleable solid

malleable solid -> frozen solid

frozen solid -> malleable solid

That’s a lot of scientific discovery mixed in with good, old-fashioned sensory and messy play. Win win!

Squishing hands in defrosted jello

What they are learning as they play:

science: observing change in the state of materials, defrosting ice, investigative and predictive skills

sensory: exploring a range of state of materials using all of the senses

literacy: using new vocabulary

Cakie: 4. 8

Pop: 3.2

Bean: 15 mos

You might also like to browse the Science and Discovery Play archives!

Like the idea of defrosting things? Here is a fun summer ice activity for you!

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  1. says

    This is PERFECT! R was looking through a Star Wars cook book (what else!) today and wanted to make a frozen berry granita so he could use it in a sensory tub with his Star Wars figures…um, no! I talked him round to just plain crushed ice but THIS is exactly what he wants. Brilliant. Thank you!