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Thursday, March 8, 2012

‘Rainbow Stew’ preschooler play – clean, messy fun!

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We attended “Messy Madness” last week – an event hosted by our local elementary schools and the Parents As Teachers program.  The focus of the activity stations at the event was for children to use their hands to play with ‘messy’ items.  Stations varied from a tub of white, slippery clumps (which was shreds of paper towels, ivory soap, and water) to painting with toilet plungers (put the round rubber head in a tray of paint then stamp paper) along with several more activities. 

They gave a handout of the recipes to recreate messy fun at home and we decided to make one of them this week: “Rainbow Stew”  The nice thing about this activity is that is uses everyday ingredients and is really non-messy since it’s contained in a bag!  Plus we had fun ‘painting’ with our fingers to see how our rainbow colors would mix.

Here are the instructions for this craft ~
“Rainbow Stew”
4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch

Mix the water and sugar in a pot on the stove. Slowly add cornstarch so as to avoid lumps.  Cook over low heat until thick.
(The directions didn’t note what “Thick” meant so I just made sure to stir often and wait until it became about the consistency of runny playdoh…at least 20 minutes.)
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Divide into thirds.  (We placed into large soup bowls.)

Add food coloring to each bowl; one color in each bowl.  Mix until desired color is achieved.
(We just did three primary colors – blue, yellow and red…which was pinkish. But you could mix and make a lot of color combos….hint: This is a good lesson for kids to learn about how colors mix and change! We let them choose the colors and how many drops that I placed in the bowls. Then we saw the cause 'n' effect of adding more drops.)
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Put a small ball of each of the three colors into each ziploc bag.  This quantity should make 6 bags.

Let the child use their fingers to make color combinations by pushing, squeezing, and kneading.
Have fun!

--We only used half of the ingredients called for and it was enough for 3 bags…one for each of my boys and one for me too so I get to have fun with them!
--Our 4 year old really liked using his fingers as a 'paint brush' if he was painting the inside of the bag. And our 2 year old just went to town much that most of the colors mixed and turned gray/brownish.  But they had fun!

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