Tag Archives: messy fun

Ridiculously Fun Colourful Bubble Foam

Colourful Bubble Foam | Mama Papa Bubba

Oh my word… I’m so glad we finally got around to trying this!  I pinned the idea over a year ago and I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea just how much Miss G would love it and how much play it would bring about (just wait until we get to those pictures!)  

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For our bubble foam, we used an eco-friendly dish soap (only because that’s what we use in our house – I’m sure the regularly variety would probably make even better, ‘stronger’ foam) and an assortment of gel and liquid food colouring (both worked well – we just used a little less of the gel because of its strength and a little more of the liquid).

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While Amanda of Dirt and Boogers put both her blender and food processor to use when making her foam, we got out our supplies, and decided to try using our Kitchen Aid mixer instead.  I wanted to make a lot of foam, and I figured its big bowl would allow us to do so in fewer batches, and I figured that it would be able to whip the foam just as well as, if not better, than a food processor or blender (I also think a hand blender would work well too!)

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To make our foam, Miss G added 2 tablespoons of dish washing liquid, 2/3 a cup of warm water, and 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 or 5 of liquid) to the machine’s bowl.  Then we fired up the mixer on its highest speed, and let it whip the mixture into foam for 2 solid minutes.  The result was this thick, luxurious foam that formed soft peaks when a spoon was lifted out of it.

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We continued the process with 4 other colours of Gracen’s choosing, working quickly so that the foam would maintain its thick texture.

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After completing all of the colours in about 10 minutes or so, you can see that the purple foam we made first was starting to ‘air up’, but Grae didn’t mind one bit.  She was just thrilled that it was time to dive in finally!

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While I did consider bringing some items to use while playing in the bin (I thought maybe cups to hold foamy drinks or cars to put through a foamy carwash), I ended up skipping that part and I’m glad I did.  Sometimes less is more, and in this case, the foam was plenty of fun on its own.  Gracen immediately started swirling the colours together which made me wonder if next time we should try just 3 colours – red, blue, and yellow – to see how well a little colour mixing experiment would turn out.  Either way, swirling the rainbow colours together was brilliant fun.

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With her hands and arms absolutely covered in foam, the clapping began…  And goodness gracious, did she ever find flying foam hilarious!

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Next up, this silly slippery hands position took form…

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And before long, a certain someone’s head was in the bin!

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She popped up with hair full of foam, and I knew exactly what was happening next.

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Please tell me I’m not the only one whose kid strips off their clothes and jumps into their sensory bins in order to get the full effect…

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And who am I to deny this sort of crazy, messy, foamy fun really?

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Fully covered in bubbles, Miss G told me that they felt ‘so soft and cozy on her bare skin’ and I don’t doubt it for a minute!  At this point I was sort of glad we’d used eco-friendly soap as her skin can sometimes be quite sensitive, which led me to wonder if the same sort of results could be reached with a baby shampoo, bath wash, or bubble bath instead?  Another experiment for another day, I guess. ☺  The good news is that this foam didn’t irritate her skin in the least, and they lasted for a ridiculously long time.

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One thing I hadn’t thought of when we put together this sensory activity was the possibility of bubbles… And boy, oh boy, were there ever bubbles!  Big, giant, huge ones that formed in the space between her two legs and between her arms and her body each time she’d stand up.  (It’s hard to see, but there’s a giant one coming from in between her shins in this photo.)

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Without a doubt, this has been one of our most fun and engaging sensory activities in a long time, and for a little bit of dish soap, some water, and some food colouring, I’d say that’s pretty amazing! 

Colourful Bubble Foam

  • 2 tablespoons of dish soap
  • 2/3 cup of warm water
  • 2 drops of gel food colouring (or 4 – 5 of liquid food colouring)

Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Using a kitchen mixer or a handheld mixer, mix the ingredients on the highest setting for 2 minutes (or until the foam forms stiff peaks).  Repeat with as many colours as desired.

Enjoy!

 

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iPhoneography // Eating my Words

PhotoPhotoPhotoLong ago during my university days, I nannied for a family that had taught their son to open pistachio nuts by placing them inside a towel and smashing them with a hammer.  I must admit that at the time I thought it was a little crazy… The danger! The noise! The mess!  Oy.

But take a look at what took place in our kitchen this morning…  Yes, I’m totally eating my words, and yes, I taught my daughter how to smash open peanut shells using a giant, heavy hammer.  While I thought it was slightly insane years ago, now I think it’s sort of brilliant.  Not only is it fun, but it encourages both hand-eye coordination, motor skill development, and independence too!  

Gracen had an absolute blast with it, and for me, that makes eating my words plenty worth it. ☺

♥ 

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A Messy Play Date {& Some Messy Play Date Tips}

Today was the highly anticipated day of our {backyard} messy play date…finally!  Gracen and I got everything ready yesterday afternoon and had it all sitting by the backyard to make our early start time a little easier this morning.  During our prep, Grae was so excited she could barely contain herself.  She gathered sensory bin items and assembled them like it was her job and this morning she was up bright and early eager for her friends to arrive.  

When we do these sorts of play dates, I try to have a variety of different kinds of open-ended activities spread out throughout the backyard.  This means that there is something for everyone and not all of the kids are always crowded in the same area like little sardines.  Today’s sensory activities included our bird bin, an ocean bin filled with water beads, a construction bin filled with pea gravel, a cloud dough bin filled with different moulds and scoops, a gardening station directly in our garden {as we didn’t plant this year due to our upcoming move}, and a sparkly slime tray.  For kiddos looking for a bit more action, we had our inexpensive and easy backyard balance beam, a sandbox filled with dinosaur bones and shovels for digging, a pool filled with cups, scoops, and nets {because it was too cool to actually swim}, and bubble chasing courtesy of a couple of bubble machines.  For our little art lovers, we had out a big moon painting station and a bucket of sidewalk chalk with some water for dipping, and for those looking for a little bit of downtime, we had our 5 minute teepee with some puzzles inside, a beading station, and a tunnel hideout. 

Sounds fun, right?  Strangely enough, after all of the build-up, Miss G was quite clingy and whiny throughout.  I think it was a combination of feeling slightly smothered by a very affectionate friend and just being a little overwhelmed.  Though I think she still had fun, I was a little surprised that it didn’t go over a bit better than it did…  But what can you do?  I’m pretty sure the other kids enjoyed themselves, and after a lot of messy play, we all sat down to a laid-back picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruits and veggies, nuts, crackers, cookie dough boys, and homemade iced tea and lemonade.  After saying goodbye to our friends {and passing out play dough and play putty favours – all Miss G’s idea}, we found ourselves in a backyard that looked like a tornado had run through it…  A true sign of messy play date success, I’d say!

Here are some photos from our morning…

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After hosting a couple of these play dates, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…

1. Include activities of varying messiness. Not all kiddos love getting filthy.

2. Spread play stations out as much as possible.  Not only does it allow the munchkins lots of space to play and explore, but it also helps keep the play materials separate (though we did end up with slime, sand, and cloud dough in our pool this time around!)

3. Expect your play materials to get trashed.  While water beads, slime, and doughs may last several months when enjoyed by just your child(ren), many children may be experiencing these play materials for the first time.  Water beads will be smushed, dirt will be added to the slime, and buckets of water will be dumped into cloud dough, so be prepared to throw everything out and start fresh.

4.  Slime and concrete don’t mix.  Being used to my very careful, rule-bound little lady, I thought nothing of putting a big tray of slime out on a table on our concrete pad.  Needless to say, by the end of the play date, it was everywhere and Brad and I spent a couple of hours picking, peeling, spraying, scrubbing, and sweeping it all up – pretty rockin’ Friday night, no? All in the name of fun! ☺

5. Include a hand washing station.  Kids are going to want to wash their hands between activities and having a spot to do it outside not only makes it easier for them, but it also minimizes traffic in and out of the house.  We use a drink dispenser filled with warm water with a basin below and some soap and a hand towel nearby and not only does it get the job done, but it’s also a lot of fun.

♥ 

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Pretend Popsicle Play

Pretend Popsicle Play With Gelatine Pops | Mama Papa BubbaKnowing Grae’s love of popsicles, my mom sent her home from the Okanagan with a couple of new popsicle mould sets the other day.  While I knew she’d be excited, what I wasn’t expecting was for two new popsicle moulds to keep her happily playing in her rear-facing car seat for at least 1/2 of our 7 hour drive home.  She was so engaged with them that Brad actually said, “Well I know what we need to bring on the plane to Kuwait.” (If you’re travelling through Germany in August and see a woman with popsicle mould parts clumsily falling out of her purse, that’ll be me.)

IMG 8103When we got home and I started thinking about fun play opportunities for the week, I thought it would be fun to try to set up a popsicle-themed pretend play station.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was making the pretend pops out of ice, but I wanted something a little different.  Enter gelatine. With a fun texture that can be jiggled, squished, and crumbled, I knew it would be a hit.  

To make the pops quite sturdy, I mixed up 3 packets of Knox unflavoured gelatine with 3/4 of a cup of boiling water, then added 3/4 of a cup of cool water once the gelatine had been dissolved.  I popped a few drops of liquid food colouring into each of my popsicle cups, poured the gelatine mixture in, mixed it up, and put the faux popsicles in the refrigerator over night. 

IMG 8105This morning while we were preparing breakfast together, Miss G immediately noticed the rainbow coloured popsicles in the fridge and asked if they were for playing with.  Let me tell you, this girl doesn’t miss a thing.  She patiently waited until after our morning outing, lunchtime, and her nap, and I had this little set up ready ready for her when she woke up.

IMG 8112She was delighted to see it and immediately asked, “Are these just for playing, Mama? Or are they for eating?”  With the fact that they were for playing with cleared up, she began naming the flavours – my favourite of which was tomato soup (the red one).  Then she began doling out the treats in bowls with spoons, as she often likes her popsicles.

IMG 8113Next up, all of the popsicles went back into their moulds and got put into her pretend freezer.  Then she took them out, one by one (with the help of a spoon and some serious shaking) as though she were filling customer orders.

IMG 8116For the customers who preferred to eat their frozen treats from a bowl rather than a stick, she happily crumbled the popsicles up.  As you do.

IMG 8119There was lots of play with the popsicles in their smushed up state…

IMG 8123Then she moved onto making rainbow pops.  Because I mean, who wants only one flavour when you can have several, right?

IMG 8127And then there was soup. Oh, was there ever.  Soup stirred so enthusiastically that bits flew out of the bowl and landed in various spots around our living room. 

IMG 8132I’d say pretend popsicles were a hit, wouldn’t you?  A colourful, messy, joyful hit.

♥ 

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Exploring with Magic Potions

Exploring Magic Potions | Mama Papa BubbaThis afternoon the sun was out and I decided to set up something really fun for Grae to explore and experiment with in the backyard.

IMG 9234The set up was pretty simple…  Several differently shaped jars and medicine bottles filled with coloured vinegar (we used gel food colouring), a couple of small jars of baking soda, a couple of spoons, and a few empty mixing containers all on a tray.  Oh, and some safety goggles.  Because in Gracen’s world, science equals goggles. ☺

IMG 9246After helping her with her goggles, Grae set off to work.

IMG 9236As I usually do with this kind of activity, I didn’t give her any instructions.  I simply said, “Do you want to play?”

IMG 9237The answer was an excited ‘yes’, and after a few questions about whether or not she could dump/mix/pour things (of course the answer to all was yes), she got started.

IMG 9249While she’s seen the reaction baking soda and vinegar have while moon painting, this was on a much bigger scale.

IMG 9258And she loved it.  Mixing a little bit of this with a little bit of that in order to cause colour changes and fizzy foam eruptions was right up her alley.

IMG 9252My little scientist made reaction after reaction, delighting each time she caused foam to spew out of the top of her jar.

IMG 9259One thing that was interesting is how the colour of the vinegar seemed to change with the addition of baking soda.  In the case of the orange and the pink, the colours seemed to explode with brightness as the reactions occurred.

IMG 9270With almost all of her baking soda resources used up and her largest  jar of vinegar left, we fetched just a little more baking soda from in the house.

IMG 9274It started off slowly, but the reaction did not disappoint.  After scrounging leftover baking soda from wherever she could, she managed to create enough fizzing foam to have it flow generously out of the top of the jar.  Success!

After she’d depleted her resources, what was left was a beautiful rainbow-y mess.  For a little bit of added fun, we filled up a bin with warm soap water, grabbed a cloth, a scrubber brush, and a couple of towels, and had a little dishwashing station right there in the backyard.

♥ 

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Simple Mud Kitchen

Simple MUD KitchenAfter this morning’s mud soup fun down at the beach, I decided it would be fun to set up a little mud kitchen for Miss G to play with in the backyard.  Now I don’t know if you too have seen the beautiful and elaborate mud kitchens that often pass through my Pinterest feed, but ours was nothing like those.  A few items from the kitchen, some dirt from the garden, and a water source all squished onto a second hand plastic table and Miss G was pleased as punch.  After all, playing with mud is supposed to be simple, right? 

IMG 6430IMG 6432IMG 6444IMG 6438IMG 6463Gracen poured water, added greens, and gently stirred hot soup.  She scooped soil, packed it down, and added pebble sprinkles to dirt cupcakes. She tended to gooey mud pancakes, flipping them every now and again.

IMG 6443And lucky for me, I was the chosen taste tester.

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Face Painting Station

Face Painting StationI thought of putting this little station together for Gracen to explore months and months ago, but only got to it today.  Perhaps today just felt like a face painting sort of day?  I don’t know…

IMG 6372Either way, I set out her step stool turned toddler bench in front of our closet mirror (of course a table top mirror would work just as well), laid out a couple of damp cloths and a jar of face painting crayons, and waited for her to discover her new station.

IMG 6376And when she did, was she ever excited!  She didn’t quite know what it was all about, but she was excited none the less.  I stood back and watched her take off her tights.  Then she turned to me and asked, “Mama helps Grae Grae paint her toes?” Hah!

IMG 6378Once I explained that they were face painting crayons, she was even more pleased. And off she went, decorating her face.

IMG 6383She went through several changes during the process…  First, she announced that she was a raccoon, and after adding a few more lines here and there, she decided that she was a kitty cat.

IMG 6395Here she is with her first finished look. ☺

IMG 6402When it was time to remove it, she tried using the damp cloth I’d provided, but it was quite tricky.  Face paint is stubborn, but I knew just what would do the trick…. One of our very favourite body/household/cooking products – organic coconut oil!  She dipped her fingers into it, started rubbing it on her face, and the paint literally melted off.  Afterwards she was able to use her cloth and wipe her face clean – easily!

IMG 6406Miss G decorated herself for a while longer, then let me have the final turn…  The natural choice?  Papa eyebrows, of course!  ☺  I don’t know who found it more hysterical – her or me.

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Sparkly Foam Sensory Tray

Sparkly Foam Sensory TrayDo you ever set up an activity that you think will be a total hit and it just kind of flops?  Or if it doesn’t flop, it just doesn’t take off the way you thought it would?  That was the case with this sensory tray.

IMG 6230After a Sunday morning adventure and a good afternoon nap, we decided to hit the backyard.  Brad and I wanted to get some yard work done, so I decided to set up a sensory station for Grae to explore in between searching for rocks, running around, and helping with the yard work.

IMG 6231I kept it very simple and  filled a tray with raspberry-scented shaving foam, sprinkled glitter on top of it, and set out a warm bucket of water with a hand towel.

IMG 6234Grae dove in.

IMG 6235She definitely had fun mixing up the different colours of glitter and squishing the foam between her fingers…

IMG 6241And she even thought it was funny that it stuck to her hands at first, but after a while, the fact that she couldn’t properly clean the foam off of her hands and arms, even with the bucket of water and towel, started to bother her.

IMG 6238She decided to gather some sandbox tools and played for a while longer, but the activity never really took off the way I thought it would.  In the end, there was a giant tray of semi-played with foam just left there and she was done.

IMG 6244If anything, this was a great way to get messy. ☺

I guess all activities can’t be a total hit, can they?

♥ 

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Snow Dough {for 4}

I loved this simple variation on the usual cloud dough, and today I simplified it even further for some messy morning sensory play with the cousins.  To create some “snow dough” of our own, I simply made our usual cloud/moon dough and dumped in a couple of small bottles of silvery light blue glitter.  A fun way to kickstart the New Year, right?  

Though I could have added more festive / wintery items (mini evergreen trees, plastic animals, snowman accessories, etc.) to the sensory bin, I just stuck to the usuals this time around… Plastic cups, bowls, spoons, and cookie cutters and the kiddos loved it.

IMG 4042Three of the four munchkins were very eager to join.

IMG 4052Let the fun begin!

IMG 4053The sparkles are hard to see, but if you look closely, you should be able to spot them.

IMG 4048Kinslee digging in.

IMG 4066The fourth monkey just couldn’t resist the fun.

IMG 4076Snow dough toes. ☺

IMG 4072Korbin was a master moulder.

IMG 4073A girl who isn’t afraid to get messy. 

IMG 4075Snow dough smoothie, anyone?

IMG 4085Experimenting with snow dough snowmen…

IMG 4089A safer building site.

IMG 4090Snowballs stacked.

IMG 4097Ummm, Grae… What happened to your hair?

IMG 4098Who says the snow dough has to stay in the bin?

IMG 4103Mission accomplished!

IMG 4104This explains things.

 

Sparkly Snow Dough (we doubled this recipe for a group of 4 children)

  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of baby oil (or other oil)
  • 1 small container of white/silver/blue glitter

Mix with your hands or a whisk until ingredients are evenly distributed.  Play!

♥ 

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Playing with Oobleck

Playing with OobleckToday Miss G and I tried making and playing with the ridiculously fun {and equally messy} substance called Oobleck.  It’s made out of only 2 ingredients (or 3 if you want to add a little colour), and it isn’t quite a liquid and it isn’t really a solid…  In fact, it behaves like both. 

While teaching in Kuwait, my team members and I always made Oobleck with our first grade classes during our solids, liquids, and gasses unit and it was definitely one of the favourite lessons.  Today, Grae enjoyed it just as much as my 6 and 7 year old students did, so this is definitely something that can be done with children of all ages.

IMG 2043All you need in order to make Oobleck is water and cornstarch, plus food colouring if you wish.

IMG 2047I like to start by adding the colouring to the water first because it’s a lot easier to stir colouring into water than into the finished Oobleck.

IMG 2050Plus, this way you get to watch the colouring disperse into the water, which is always kind of neat.

IMG 2052Start by giving your water a little stir to make sure the colouring is evenly dispersed.

IMG 2055Then add your cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring it into the water as you go.

IMG 2058When the mixture is nice and thick and you’re not able to pour off any excess water, your Oobleck is ready.

Now go ahead and play!  Watch what happens when you touch the Oobleck quickly with a lot of pressure, versus when you touch it slowly and gently.  

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Be prepared to get messy – it’s more fun that way!  Putting a towel or tray under the bowl of Oobleck should catch most of the spills, and since Oobleck is best played with with hands, you won’t be left with a sink full of dishes afterwards.  ☺

Here are a couple of quick iPhone videos I managed to take of us playing with our Oobleck…

Oobleck

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 or 2 drops of food colouring

Start by colouring the water with food colouring.  Add the cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring in between additions.  The Oobleck is ready when the mixture is thick and excess water cannot by poured off.

(Many recipes on the internet will say that for 1 cup of water you should only need between 1 and 2 cups of cornstarch, but my experience has been that the 1:3 ratio works out perfectly every time.  My suggestion is to add slowly after the second cup and see what works best for you.)

Enjoy!

To learn more about Oobleck, click here.  To see where Oobleck got its silly-sounding name, click here.

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