Play with Gelatin | from 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids

Play with Gelatin | from 150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids

Have you ever found yourself so busy that you’ve lost track of the things that keep you sane? A couple weeks ago I was preparing for a keynote talk in the little bits of free time that crop into my week. Preparing for this talk was an amazing experience for a few reasons:

  1. I had the chance to speak with 250 undergraduate education students about the importance of arts education
  2. It helped me hone in on my point of view on this beloved topic (Cliff Note version — Because artists think like inventors, an arts education has the capacity to build innovators). Hopefully I’ll have more for you about the keynote soon.

The talk was a success, but the hardest part about this busy time is that I put so many things on the back burner, including all of the fun activities that this blog is built upon. My kids are now largely self-sufficient when it comes to making and inventing, but they also love to spend time tinkering with me.

And so, within minutes after coming home from the talk, my 4-year old and I pulled out 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (affiliate) and got busy making up a big batch of colorful gelatin. Why?

So that we could play with gelatin, of course!

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids is a wonderful recipe and activity book that’s filled with “the very best and easiest playtime activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com“. The author, Asia Citro, is an experience teacher with a strong science and education background, who is here to make parenting a little easier and a lot more fun with her new book. She also happens to be a friend of mine, and I think she’s even more rad now that I have my hands on her amazing book.

To give you a sense of what’s inside, the book includes…

  • 5 Slime recipes
  • 13 Dough recipes
  • 9 Paint recipes
  • 17 Activity ideas for small world play
  • 16 Simple Sensory Activities (the project I’m sharing today is from this category)
  • 18 Do it yourself Toys
  • Asia offers tons of suggested variations for many of the activities. For the gelatin project alone, she offers six variations including fizzing gelatin and frozen reusable gelatin)

Play with Gelatin | from 150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids

How to Make Gelatin

(Note: This post contains affiliate links)

My older daughter and I made this recipe a few years ago, with a slightly different twist that was built around injecting clear Jell-o with colored water, and it was fun to revisit this with my little one (who’s growing way too fast, by the way!).

  1. Pour one cup of cold water into a mixing bowl
  2. Sprinkle 4 packets of Knox Gelatine over the cold water. Let it rest for one minute.
  3. Add 3 cups of hot water to the bowl and stir until the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Mix food coloring or liquid watercolors into the gelatin mixture.
  5. Coat another mixing bowl with cooking spray or oil.
  6. Add plastic (washable) toys.
  7. Pour the gelatin mixture over the toys.
  8. Place in the fridge for about 3 hours, or until it sets.

Play with Gelatin | from 150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids

How to Play with Gelatin

  1. Remove gelatin from the mold. I ran a dull knife around the edges to help release the gelatin.
  2. Plop it onto a tray
  3. Excavate your toys
  4. Play with gelatin
  5. Melt it all down an refrigerate again for more gelatin play.

The last time I shared this project some readers found it ironic that we submerged toy animals in gelatin. I know, I thought about that too. If you’re not comfortable working with animal-based gelatin, this vegan jelly seems like a great option.

Play with Gelatin | from 150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids

Asia’s book, by the way, is fabulous. Go on and give it a look-see. And take a peek at my new book, too, while you’re there!

More Sensory Play Ideas

Should food be used in preschool sensory activities?

Make colored rice

Sensory play for babies

Sensory play with tapioca pearls

Sensory play with shredded paper

Sensory experience: Water Bead exploration

Sensory activity: Wheat berries

Sensory activity: Wet paper


  1. Hi for my science fair project, i need to say who the creator and publisher of this website is and i already know Rachel Doorley is the creator……so who’s the publisher? I’d appreciate it if you reply early because i kinda need to turn in my project in a week so yeah. Thankyou

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