Yesterday The Preschooler had a day at home as he’d been poorly through the night, so I decided we needed a nice calm morning’s play. As ever, the session was child led and what started as The Preschooler doing jigsaws while The Toddler bathed her baby in the water tray soon became the baby doll looking like she’d been attacked with molten lava! But what great fun! So naturally I took photos and here we are- Messy baby bath!
The Toddler is infatuated with baby dolls and she has so many, but only two that are suitable for water. The most recently treasured doll is the one she got for her birthday, that came with a baby bath and accessories. She loves bathing this doll and we take her up to the bathroom at hair wash time so that she can wash baby’s hair while we attempt to wash hers. Sometimes we pop the baby bath inside the Tuff Spot and let her bathe her there, and sometimes we put it inside the water tray. For this session we used the water tray so that The Toddler could stand up to play.
The Toddler loves pouring water from cup to pot to jug to bath, so I filled an empty bubble bath bottle with warm water and let her fill the bath. We used whisks to make more bubbles and for a while she was happy to chatter away, washing her baby and playing nicely. This kind of play is so simple, and not terribly exciting- but it is essential for her development. As she plays, she extends her vocabulary, develops her concepts of every day situations and uses her imagination in role play situations. I was more than happy to leave her to it for as long as she wanted.
The Fairy swamp
Then comes The Preschooler. He too loves to play with The Toddler’s baby dolls and was quite happy to serve tea and muck in with the bathing duties. But it wasn’t quite enough. So… we made a fairy swamp! We filled the baby bath with bubbly water. Then we added some hot pink Gelli Baff. Then we mixed…
Gelli Baff is great stuff. It turns water into a thick jelly like material right before your eyes. We talked about what was happening to the water, noting that it was getting thicker and more difficult to stir with whisks. We decided to use wooden spoons instead and soon the bath was filled with thick pink jelly. That was the point at which The Preschooler decided we had made a Fairy Swamp!
For a long time The Preschooler and The Toddler were more than happy to play with the Gelli Baff- transferring it from pot to pot, squishing it with spoons and chattering about how lovely it smelled and how gooey it looked. Neither were keen to get their hands in, so they found different tools to use in their play instead.
After the baby doll had had a good dip in Gelli Baff, I decided it was time to explore reversing the material to a liquid. We added the special powder that comes in the box and I asked The Preschooler to mix. He was fascinated watching the jelly turn into a thick gloopy liquid, and soon realised that the more water and powder we added, the thinner the mixture would become. It was a real Fairy Swamp now!
Once we had a real Fairy Swamp at the correct consistency, the children went on to find as many toys as they could to add to the mix. The Preschooler carefully chose toys that he knew were waterproof and I watched with pride as he played a lovely game with The Toddler- sink or float? He spent a good half an hour finding toys that would float and toys that would not, and sorting them into piles. What a wonderful way to explore!
Meanwhile, I was interested to see what I could do with some of the thick Gelli Baff I had put to one side. I mixed it with cornflour and soon found that it makes a wonderfully sticky gloop! Much like ordinary gloop but with a rick pink colour and a lovely scent. We added more cornflour and noted that we could make balls and other shapes with it, much like play dough.
Next, we added some of the reversing powder and the consistency changed again. Now the fairy slime was more runny, and you could pick it up, but it ran quickly from your fingers. Wonderfully fascinating stuff!
By the end of this session we had Fairy Swamp water, Faiy slime, shaving foam and lots and lots of waterproof toys in the water tray. Poor baby had long since been cleaned and dried but I was more than happy with how the session had gone. The children led the whole thing and played so happily investigating changing materials and sinking and floating. Great fun and definitely one we’ll do again!
*Today is the last day to nominate your favourite blogs in the MAD blog awards! I’d be honoured if you considered nominating Ghostwritermumy in the Family Fun category. Click on the badge if you want to!