Last summer, I came upon a few boxes of Jell-O that were way past their expiration dates. I didn't want to eat them, but didn't want to throw them out either. After a little research online, I found a recipe for Jell-O playdough, which I've made a few times. J week presented another good opportunity to use up another box.
My friend Laura has been making a weekly activity plan for her 18 month old son and has come up with lots of great things to do with him. She shared the link to "snakes in jelly" from The Imagination Tree, which looked like lots of fun. I had a box of outdated peach Jell-O (the eight-serving size), so I mixed up half of it and poured it in an old disposable angel food cake pan. I then added some foam Js and a plastic J magnet. Once that half solidified in the fridge, I made the rest of the box and poured it on top with a couple of J cookie cutters and some more foam letters. I refrigerated the whole thing overnight, although a few hours would have been enough. I followed the original recipe, which makes fairly soft gelatin. That consistency was just fine for playing and squished nicely. If you want it to hold its shape better, add some plain gelatin powder or make the Jigglers recipe on the box.
When Trip was ready to play, I placed the mold in a sink of warm water for a few minutes and then inverted it onto a cookie sheet. He was thrilled to dig in!
He got right to work getting out the Js, both with his hands and with the plastic utensils I gave him.
Once most of the letters were out, he had fun squishing the Jell-O!
This was a very entertaining activity that was just messy enough to be super fun, but without being too much to do inside. We will definitely have to do this again sometime. It could be a good activity for weeks when we don't have much to do with our chosen letter. I have a feeling I'll be making some gelatin with X, Y, or Z in it!