Jelly Play - Dream or Disaster?

I love doing different sensory play with Lily and Ollie. I like to think it offers them new experiences and different ways to explore. But I'm not keen on mess. At all. You wouldn't think it if you looked at my pigsty house, or if you looked at all the messy play and art activities I do with the kids. Yet I hate it with a passion and often have to work hard to suppress my desire to hover over the table with antibacterial spray and a few baby wipes.

Today was a perfect example. I knew that playing with jelly could be fun. I did it with Lily when she was a baby and she absolutely loved it. It's easy to prepare. It covers all five sensory bases. She was occupied for ages.


It sounded like a fabulous idea in my head.


Less than 10 minutes in however, I was beginning to freak out a little bit. By 20 minutes in, when Ollie got over his initial apprehension at the strange texture and decided that the best thing to do with jelly is scrape it across the table and onto the floor, I felt more than a bit sick.

I soldiered on. Despite Lily throwing an epic toddler tantrum halfway through because she only wanted to eat it. Even when the area around Ollie's high chair was littered with what looked like the insides of cartoon character (TOP TIP - put a mat or towel down first, it saved me from hyperventilating).

And I guess it was pretty fun.


Jelly is cheap and easy to prepare. I sorted it all out the night before. I had planned to do a rainbow of colours, but after discovering that I couldn't find my sensory tub decided it would be safer to scale my ambitions down slightly. It's a really good sensory activities because it covers all areas:
- it smells strongly, depending on what flavours you choose
- it's brightly coloured
- the texture is fun to explore
- babies can taste it without you worrying about toxins
- it makes great splatting sounds and can be easily squished to great effect

I would recommend it, but this sort of activity is best done using a shallow tray or trug. I have heard that some people just put their kids in the bath and I may try that next time. If you're fine with mess then definitely go for it - I asked Lily whether she liked it and she said yes.

Ollie didn't say anything. Obviously. But he spent ages checking out the different colours, squishing it and throwing it on the floor. Thankfully his mischievous smile was so cheeky I just let him get on with it.

As for me. I don't want to even look at jelly for a very long time!

Are you any good at messy play? How do you cope if you're not keen on mess?


#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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16 comments

  1. Lol, we played with jelly last week too, although I chose to put it in the Tuff tray. My 2 year old just ate it, but my 4 year old enjoyed making little pretend cakes in cake cases. Lasted about 30 minutes until the toddler had eaten most of it!! :) xx

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    1. I don't have a tuff tray, been thinking about one for a while now but our shallow plastic tub usually does the job. Lily did eat an awful lot of jelly! x

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  2. I think using in the bath sounds like a good idea - I just can't handle the mess lol x #toddlerapprovedtuesday

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    1. I'll be giving it a go next time I think! x

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  3. what a great idea and the smiles on their faces suggests they had a great time, despite the mess!
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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    1. They loved it! Thank you for stopping by :) x

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  4. Oh what fun, love the smiles on their faces #toddlerapprovedtuesday

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    1. I know! They thought it was brilliant! x

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  5. Hahah! My mummy would freak out with it on the floor..however it does make a satisfying SPLATTING noise! ;) they look like they had fun, I'd wanna eat it to! #LetKidsBeKids x

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    1. I agree with your mummy, I was freaking out a bit! x

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  6. top tip for cleaning up jelly play, sprinkle the area covered in jelly with sand, it makes it easier to sweep up! (I learnt this at a nursery i used to work at) it gets the majority up and then you can just mop! :) Thanks for linking up to #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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    1. This is genius! I used to do jelly play when I worked in a nursery but we never cleaned it up like this! Brilliant idea, thank you. x

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  7. We love messy play but have never tried jelly, so that will have to go on the list! #letkidsbekids

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  8. I've seen this before and have always meant to give it a go. We love messy play here and I'm a big fan of chucking Luke in the bath and letting him get on with it, like you said! It's a very fun sensory experience and I'm glad it went down a treat in your house! Ray x #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

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    1. I really think the bath might be the way to go! All the mum's I know who love messy play use the bath, maybe it's the key to me enjoying it as much as the kids! x

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