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  • Gina

Taste-Safe JELLO Rescue

In this BLOG post I will show you how to make a Jello rescue, share my best clean-up tips and explain the benefits of sensory play.

Head to our Instagram page to see more ways to learn & play at home or in the classroom! We love to see you play & share the joy of hands-on crafts & activities at home. Be sure to tag @aplayfilledlife on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of our ideas!!

XO Gina

This recipe is MESSY but so much fun. It is soft, squishy and a great beginner sensory set-up for those staring out. Using sugar-free Jello will make it a bit less sticky!

Not only will your child get the benefits of sensory play, but they will explore color, texture and practice problem solving. There are so many critical thinking skills hard at work here as they play:

  • "How do I get the animal out?"

  • "What happens if I use my hands?"

  • "How does it feel?"

  • "What happens if it slips out of my hands?"

  • "Do the tongs make it easier or harder?"

  • "I wonder what this smells like?"

This recipe is considered taste-safe so it is a great starter sensory bin for those who are exploring with their mouths! You get to decide what is and manageable in your home. Always monitor young children during sensory play.


  • Box of Jello

  • Baking dish or pan

  • Water

  • Mixing bowl

  • Spoon

  • Plastic trinkets (plastic animals, gems, legos, etc)

How To:

  • Follow the directions on the box to make the Jello.

  • Add the trinkets in the bottom of the dish or pan.

  • Pour Jello mixture on top and refrigerate according to the box.

  • Bring it out, add in scoops or bowls or tongs.

  • PLAY!!!

Messy play is SO beneficial for children. It's open-ended, encourages creativity, provides sensory input & teaches them about their personal boundaries. Messy play activates the senses and has been known to be calming, offering an incredible opportunity to practice self-regulation strategies.

What skills are you working on during messy play?

  • Fine & Gross Motor Skills: As the child squishes and squeezes, they are developing their finger and hand muscles. Those same finger and hand muscles are responsible for self-help skills such as: feeding yourself, zippering your coat and holding a pencil during writing! Messy play can also help support spatial awareness, balance & coordination.

  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Hand-eye coordination is simultaneously using your hands & your eyes for a task. Strong hand-eye coordination helps you with tasks such as feeding yourself, coloring in the lines & pouring a drink in a cup.

  • Bilateral coordination: Using both sides of the body to complete a task.

  •  Cognitive development refers to how a child acquires and understands information; how they think, learn and problem solve. There are many opportunities to develop cognitive development during messy play through problem solving and understanding cause/effect.

  • Language Development: Messy play is SO good for supporting language development. There are opportunities to learn new words and practice phrases.

  • Social Skills: Messy play can help to establish and strengthen social skills. Children will practice using their manners, sharing, turn-taking and having patience.

Clean up-tips:

  • For easy clean up: keep wipes nearby, along with a plastic bag or trash bin to discard.

  • Wear old clothes or a bathing suit, and plan to head to the tub after this fun sensory play!

  • Take it outdoors! Wash it off with a hose when you're done.

  • Use an old beach towel or sheet under the bins to catch any spills.

How to encourage messy play?

  • Start small. Put a tiny amount in a bowl and explore with it to see how it feels!

  • Play with them! Roll up your sleeves and get messy with them.

  • Let them know that getting messy is OK.

  • Have a clean-up strategy so that they can wipe their hands quickly if it becomes too much. Maybe have a towel in their lap or wipes right next to them.

  • Encourage starting with just one finger. "Poke the Chia Seed Slime with your pointer finger. How does it feel?"

How to discard the Jello Rescue:

You can reuse this bin! When you're done playing, put it in the refrigerator for up to a week and keep the fun going!

Because it is food, it can technically go down the drain BUT I was worried it would clog the drain with such a large amount. When we were done playing with it, I put it in a bag and threw it in the trash.

You get to decide what is safe and manageable in your home. Always monitor young children during sensory play.


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