Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gelatin Rainbows

March has become one of my favorite months living in Arizona, I suppose that's because it's fairly reminiscent of early spring in Pennsylvania where I grew up.  I love the chilly mornings and sitting in the warm sunshine with my coffee watching my little ones play.  I also love rainbows, something we hear a lot about in March and something I've seen more of in my few years in Arizona than my entire life prior.

I really wanted a blog-worthy post to kick things off, so I decided to pull out a project I did three years ago when I first moved into my new home and had a huge, bright preschool space in which to work.  I had a grand total of two students at the time and my first son was only 5 months old.  Little did I know then that I probably should have taken some notes.....ahhh, hindsight.

And so, without further ado, my *almost* blog-worthy post: Gelatin Rainbows

You will need unflavored gelatin, pipettes, liquid watercolor and a light table (I covered mine with a white trash bag to keep it mess-free).  I followed the directions on the gelatin and made about 4c. which I placed into four separate containers - here's where hindsight would have been nice - don't follow the directions, reduce the amount of water, probably by about 1/2c. and you may want to try spraying the inside of your containers with cooking spray - the reason for that will be quite clear very soon.

Moving on... I assembled all of our supplies before class so we could get involved before the kids headed outside, which is where they've been spending most of their time lately.  I put the liquid watercolor in ice cube trays and set everything up on the covered light table.

Remember when I said spray your containers with cooking spray?  Yeah, here's why...
That's what my first attempt at removing the gelatin from the container looked like.......FAIL!  Ok, so let's try this again...
Ahh, better, so time to get the kids involved, I explained that we were going to 'inject' the gelatin with rainbows of color....a quick demo....and....go!!!
And here's where I noticed that maybe I should have reduced the amount of water in the gelatin recipe....
See all that liquid watercolor around the bottom of the gel block?  Ummmm, that's not supposed to happen....there are supposed to be these cool tunnels of color in there.....like one of those space-age ant hills they sell now.....
See? Rivulets of color!!!  Not whatever is happening here.....
Ok, so not exactly what I had in mind, but still way cool, yes??  The kids thought so.
The first thing that threw them for a loop was the ONE pipette I gave them.  I will admit that I'm just a tad obsessive when it comes to keeping paints separated when in bowls/trays/etc.  Once the paint is on your paper, have at it, but keep my pretty tray untainted, please!  Anyway, the point of this exercise IS mixing colors, so one pipette it was.  I even had one kiddo ask, "What if I want a different color?"  Oops, time to simmer down on the cleanliness, Miss Lindsey!

Once they got the hang of it, they really got into it. "Look at!  We're making rainbows!"  "What color is this?? Oh! Blue!"  "Are we making holes?"

There was also quite a bit of talk about color mixing, "I made darker red mixed with purple!" "I made green: I dipped into blue and then into yellow and it made into green!!"  "Miss Lindsey, orange and blue makes brown!"  Ok, so that last one might not be on the standard color mixing lesson plan, but it was one he'll probably remember because he discovered it himself.

After a bit, they were ready to move beyond the rainbow-making and wondered what it would feel like.  Someone ventured a guess, "I think it's gonna feel like to me....gooey stuff."  Probably not too far off, but then they decided to find out first-hand....
After a few minutes of squishing and smooshing, they were ready to head outside, but I promised that our next adventure into gelatin rainbows would be Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tubs.  Perhaps another post on that to come!

Miss Lindsey

This post was featured at:
hands on kids activities


  1. Great post!! Welcome to the world of blogging, you are going to love it here :)

  2. Thank you, Liz, you know you're my blog idol and inspiration! I'm happy to be here!

  3. looks like messy gooey fun-great idea!

  4. What a fun way to make rainbows. Have never seen them done in gelatin before. Very creative!

  5. Great idea! Putting gelatin on the shopping list.

  6. Loks like lots of fun! Thanks for linking up to Artsy Play Wednesdays.


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