March 8, 2010

Messy Monday – Color Squish Bags

Today’s Messy Monday is a great tactile lesson in color mixing. My sister is my guest poster today – she’s a former elementary education teacher turned stay-at-home mom with some great tricks for teaching kids up her sleeve, or should I say in her Ziploc bags. (Don’t forget to enter my sponsor, MeadowWren’s contest here.)

Color Squish Bags 101

Ziploc bags. How can you not have a secret love affair with these gems? They wear so many hats in our home, from holding the squirreled away treasures of a four year old  to separating the hordes of art supplies, keeping their reproduction to a minimum to containing little snacks and the impromptu picnic. I just love ’em, from the sweet little snack bags to the big gigantic ones hanging in our basement, from head to toe.

I also love them for this wonderful lesson for my kiddies. I am all for having a knock-down, drag it out art project involving every. single. supply we own, but there are days when simple is good, and containing the mess within the confines of a Ziploc bag are even better. So, here you have it, a lesson in color theory that your little ones will love. You will be thanking me for it when you don’t have to face cleaning up marker from every wiggly crevice and wiping up the tracks of glue at the end of the day. 

-Knox gelatin: the plain old, no flavor or color added variety. It’s by the pudding and Jell-O at my good friend, Target.
-food coloring: red, yellow and blue
-3/4 cup water 
-small saucepan
-three containers 
-Ziplocs: I used the snack ones, but the size up will work just as well.
-tape: I used packing tape, but any heavy-duty sort will work just as well
Note: I like to double the recipe and use 1 1/2 cups water and 2 envelopes of gelatin so that each kiddo has their own little grouping to experiment with and to give us more options with color mixing.
1. Measure 3/4 cup of cold water in to a small saucepan. Sprinkle one packet of gelatin over the top and allow it to sit for five minutes.

2. Warm it over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring here and there, until the gelatin dissolves. 
3. Divide the liquid among three containers and add several drops of food coloring to each-  one red, one yellow and one blue.

4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so until it is solid and a little jiggly like Jello.
5. With your little ones help, spoon out the colors into the individual bags. I like to keep it educational and reinforce color mixing and make up bags of:
red + yellow
yellow + blue
red + blue
red + yellow + blue

6. Zip it up and secure the top with a durable tape to keep it contained. I like to tape it to our deck doors to brighten up our winter landscape and let the kiddos really see the color mixing in action. 

7. Squish away!

To spice it up, you can also add glitter or sequins to the mix.

I am linking this post up to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land, Made By You Monday at Skip To My Lou, and Get Your Craft On at Today’s Creative Blog.