Engineer and I have been having a lot of fun with Jell-O powder over the past few months. We used it for our Colorful Explosions, in a birthday party game Skylanders in the Mist, and we even painted with it! So it’s likely not a surprise that we combined it with baking soda and vinegar to create some fun abc learning for kids!
ABC learning for kids that uses science and hands-on play
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I found these alphabet ice cube trays, as well as their numbers counterpart, when I was cleaning out a closet recently. I’ve had them for sometime, but it’s been a while since I used them! So I was excited to incorporate them into a science activity. I thought it would be so much fun to make fizzing letters!
While Snoopy and Engineer were still at school, Little Hurricane hung out with me. He had a ton of fun helping me get our experiment started. We mixed baking soda, water, and Jell-O powder all together in a bowl. Little Hurricane studiously mixed and mixed and mixed! We made blue raspberry, orange, and strawberry mixtures. From there, Little Hurricane helped me spoon the mixtures into the ice cube trays. We ended up having extra leftover, so that all went into the regular ice cube trays. Everything went into the freezer at that point.
The “Recipe” = 3 parts baking soda + 1 part water + Jell-O powder (however much you’d like to add)
One note — It’s best to make the mixture kind of like a paste. If it has too much water in it, the icy letters turn out a little too soft. This makes it difficult to remove from the ice cube trays. If the mixture seems too liquidy, just add more baking soda until it’s pastier.
Little Hurricane went down for a nap before the ice was fully frozen, but he’d helped out with his favorite part anyway. Snoopy and Engineer came home and seemed pretty excited when I told them I had “fizzy letters” for them! Neither of the boys had any idea what I was referring to. They’re used to my random activities and experiments, so they didn’t even bat an eye.
I popped the letters out into a plastic bin on the kitchen table. Bowls of vinegar, measuring spoons, and eyedroppers. Engineer and Snoopy just observed the frozen letters and numbers at first — poking at them, stacking them up, smelling them, and commenting about everything.
After about 10 minutes of this, they decided to see what happened with the vinegar. They were SO thrilled when the letters started fizzing! We’ve done these kinds of experiments quite a bit, but they never fail to be excited! The boys spent about almost an hour making the letters, numbers, and cubes fizz and “melt”. Each time they broke down a set, they requested more . . . until all of our fizzing ice was gone.
Some fun comments Engineer and Snoopy made during this activity:
- “Wow! These are really cold letters, but they’re not melting like ice.”
- “They smell good, can we eat them?” [They technically taste-sade, but I doubt they taste good!]
- “The blue letters are melting much faster than the orange ones!”
- “I’m melting my name! I’m melting my name!”
- “Hey, I wanted to melt the 8! OK, can I melt the 5 then?”
Of course, Snoopy and Engineer weren’t done yet! They loved the “slime” at the bottom of the tub and wanted to explore it with plastic Skylanders (not the ones for the game, but some cheapo versions). They added lemon Jell-O powder and glitter to the mix, thus creating a “sparkly, smelly swamp” for the Skylanders. It was hysterical watching them cover the figures with “slime” and act out all sorts of silly stories!
I loved how the icy fizzing letters included science, sensory play, literacy, math, AND pretend play! So much learning packed into such a FUN activity for different ages!
As I was about to publish this post, a variety of other Jell-O/gelatin activities were showing up around the web! Great minds think alike, I guess. Here are a few such activities from blogs that I love:
Frozen Gelatin Fossil Excavation and Frozen Gelatin Sensory Play from Fun at Home with Kids
Frozen Jello Sensory Play from The Imagination Tree
Summer Fun – Jello Ice Play from Growing a Jeweled Rose