Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Edible Ocean Small World

Munchkin and Bean's step-brother L came over last night for a sleep-over. I knew today would be rainy, so I planned a few water-themed activities to keep the kids busy. Since we love our habitat small worlds, I decided today would be a perfect day to make an ocean themed habitat. Now, while Munchkin loves our small world play, he tends to get bored really easily. Unlike Bean who is completely content with a bucket of water and a few toys, he needs something that stands out a little bit more to get his attention. So I obliged and made an edible ocean small world!
A bin filled with water is only so much fun. A bin filled with Jell-O water and peanut butter dough sand is way more colourful and engaging (for him at least). Originally I was going to add actual seaweed, but L does not like seaweed, so we substituted for lettuce, which worked really well.
1 package of Berry flavoured blue Jell-O (cook as directed on the package, we left it in the fridge overnight) was used for the ocean. And to make the peanut butter dough sand you need approximately 7 tablespoons of peanut butter, 14 tablespoons of flour and 7 tablespoons of milk. The recipe for peanut butter dough that I used called for the use of coconut flour, and I opted to use regular flour since I am allergic to coconut. Almond milk can substitute for cow's milk. Place the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl and cook for a minute or two, just until it is melted, then mix in flour thoroughly. Add the milk slowly, adding more or less, until you reach the desired consistency. Mix it together and then it will be ready to mold.
We pressed the peanut butter dough sand into the bin first and created a small beach area. Then I scooped the Jell-O into the bin and stirred and chopped it until it was small enough that little sea creatures could swim though it. The chunks of Jell-O were really pretty and looked like waves. Then we added the lettuce (or you could use seaweed) and it added a nice green touch to the scene. :) This took less than 10 minutes to make and set up (not including the time the Jell-O needed to sit in the fridge).

Then I added the sea creatures and presented the kids with the Edible Ocean Small World. 

Bean brought over her sea buddies to watch. :)

This world was just so bright and colourful and immediately all the kids were drawn to it. L took it very seriously and tried to keep the bin the way it was set up, but before long Bean had rearranged the world in her own way... She moved some of the Jell-O onto the beach so the crab could eat it and some of the lettuce to the ocean for the lobster to float on.

Munchkin happily played with the dolphin and moved it through the Jell-O water for a good 20 minutes before realizing that the Jell-O was edible. He then proceeded to use the stingray to scoop Jell-O into his mouth. :)

Bean loved that she could make imprints of the little ocean creatures in the peanut butter dough sand and did one for each of them.

This was a very fun bin to cheer up a rainy day. :)

This was an easy small world to make and we definitely plan on doing it again. Just be aware that Jell-O does stain skin and clothes, so we only kept this bin out for 30-45 minutes and then washed up and moved on to the next ocean small world (which was much cleaner).

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