Sensory Play with Jello


Jello or a vegan-friendly alternative (check out this post to learn what’s in Jello), is a great opportunity to incorporate senses into playtime. Don’t be fooled: texture is not all it has to offer. If you can embrace a little mess, this is a fun, simple (and edible!) alternative to an in-depth sensory bin. It provides entertainment and engagement from preparation to interaction utilizing four of our five senses.

Activity #1: Create a Sensory Bin with Jello


First of all, involve your toddler in preparation. I find my 2-year old loves to stir the powder and water together. Make sure you are keeping their wild stirs at bay because the water can be hot. Allow them to pour in the cold water and continue mixing. The fun part is they can never mix too much, so if this is as far as the activity goes, your toddler will have a blast stirring to their heart’s content. 


Once the liquid is all prepared and ready, pour it into a bowl and add a few toys or characters. These could be any little trinkets you can find around the house. Moisture may cause damage to cloth or wood toys, so it is best to keep these trinkets plastic so they are easily washable (by you or your little helper!) Place the bowl with the trinkets inside in the refrigerator and wait the proper amount of time for the gelatin to set. 

Once the gelatin is set, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. I like to allow a little time to bring it to room temperature so your little ones hands don’t get too cold. Once it’s warmed a bit, it’s finally time to let your child dig in and search for all their trinkets! The great thing about this activity is it can be adapted for whatever fine motor skills level your kiddo is working on: from their pincer grasp to coordination using tweezers or kitchen tongs.

Sensory Play with Jello

For your littlest littles, adding the solidified mixture and trinkets to a resealable plastic bag and creating a sensory bag is a great alternative to the mess.

Activity #2: Painting with Jello

This activity combines not only the sense of touch with texture, but also our sense of smell. For this activity, you’ll want a few colors (flavors) of jello mix. The recipe is modified to fit your needs. I find it best to use a muffin tin and pour in a little of each colored powder into the compartments with warm water and mix. Depending on the colors you want, you can add more or less powder. Over time the mixture will thicken and you simply add more warm-water to get it back to a watery consistency. Give your little one a paint brush and paper and let them be creative with a safe and edible “paint”. As the paper dries there will be a grainy texture that adds an interesting effect. This activity is great for bringing in our child’s sense of smell as well. During the process, ask your child to smell and identify the different colors and flavors. 

Activity #3: Learning through Dessert

Preparing for dessert is a great opportunity for your older ones to contribute to meal time. From parfaits and rainbow layered cake for the older littles, to something as simple as adding a dollop of whip cream for the younger littles, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser at the dinner table. There are so many options for quick and easy desserts. Use this opportunity to identify colors and ask prompting questions like identifying other foods that share the colors or play I-Spy using the colors as the prompt.  It also proposes an interaction that might encourage picky eaters to try a food that they may have avoided had they not prepared it. 

PIN Sensory play w. jello

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Madison O
Madison is a Texas A&M Graduate who is beginning her 6th year as a Technical Theatre teacher and 3rd year at Gregory-Portland High School. She and her wife moved to the coastal bend to be closer to family as they began the fertility process to grow their family. Madison and her wife were thrilled to welcome their daughter, Amelia, to the family in May via Reciprocal IVF. Madison has also begun working toward her Masters degree in Educational Administration at TAMUCC (gotta keep it in the Aggie family!) Talk about one busy mama! Madison enjoys time outside and has always loved to write for her own personal blog in her free time. She is so excited to start this new adventure of motherhood and to be joining the wonderful community of Corpus Christi Moms on the blog!