Recently, we discovered the wonder that is jelly stones- thanks to the fantastic TTS Education. I could spend a small fortune on that site and when I was teaching it was a firm favourite of all the staff too. Do take a look it you’re wanting to stock up on play materials for the little ones.
Alongisde our Tuff Spot mirror and magnetic marbles, I couldn’t resist getting some jelly stones too, and we’ve been using them in lots of activities since. Jelly stones are a lot like waterbeads (used in lots of play, including our space themed sensory play activity) in that they absorb water and grow in size. The wonderful thing about jelly stones is that they grow a lot quicker (around 4 hours) and they can be mixed together to create new colours too. They vary in size and can be dehydrated and stored away for future use.
Regular readers will know that we’ve also been playing with submersible lights and that in my bid to teach colours to the toddler, we combined these lights with the jelly stones for some wonderful sensory play. So here it is- Glowing jewels water play!
This is so simple to set up. Simply leave your jelly stones to soak, until they are the required size. Up to 4 hours should be fine. Fill your water table with warm water (always a lot nicer for little hands to play in when the weather is cool) and pop a towel underneath the table to catch spills and to stop the table from sliding. I popped a few water play bits into the tray also- pots, spoons, seives and mini fishing nets. Once it was ready, we turned on our submersible lights and dropped them into the water. The lights are colour changing and they look like little tea lights, which was a source of great amusement and curiosity for the children. The Toddler was convinced she could blow them out! They spent a fair while investigating them before moving on to the water.
When we poured the jellystones into the water, the children immediately became immersed in their play. The Toddler spent ages scooping and pouring, and transferring pots of jellystones from one cup to another. We popped a light into one of the pots and quickly saw that the jellystones took on a new identity- they were glowing jewels!
With the lights turned out, the play became really magical as The Preschooler proceeded to create stories of magical pirates and hidden treasure with secret powers! As The Preschooler chattered away, completely immersed in his play, I seized the opportunity to talk to The Toddler about the different colours. As the jelly stones absorbed more and more water, they began to lose their colours completely (by the end of the session, they were completely clear, and invisible in the water!) but the submersible lights meant that they were able to take on those colours instead. As the lights changed I named the colours and prompted The Toddler to copy me.
Glowing jewels water play is such a wonderful sensory play activity for children. The ingredients are few but the potentials are many! The children loved feeling the jelly stones in their fingers, and the ever changing lights were a source of constant amazement. The fact that the little pots helped the stones to glow added to the sensory element. I recommend this activity is done with the lights turned out and the blinds closed for maximum effect! And allow enough time too- mine played all afternoon with this one!