Play Gel? What is play gel I hear you mutter as you read the title... You'll never guess.
A form of instant snow, if you have bought instant snow you will agree that it is not cheap, I got some years ago when I made The Melted Snow Man sensory Tray for Dimples. I think I paid $6-7 for one little tube that was used a few times. This play gel costed about $1 and is 3 times the amount.
I came across this one day browsing pinterest, Science Kiddo shared a pretty interesting post on how to do it. I was reluctant to begin with, knowing what it was made of, if I told Adventures at home Dad I let the kids play with **** today, I am sure he would have looked at me sidewards and questioned my sanity.
Have you guessed yet?
Here is how we made Castles from scented play gel....
*get a jug of water *add colouring *add essential oil or scented essence (we used peppermint essence) *Get an unused New Disposable Nappy *Open it and lay it flat with the absorbent side up and pour on your mixture *add more water as needed *cut along the side of the Diaper and empty the contents *add more scent, colour, glitter or water if needed. *Play
After a lot of exploration with their hands and fingers, Dimples and Miss Cherub used animals and buried them, poured more water on and explored with it for a long while. It just kept soaking up water, I was amazed. From one disposable Nappy they had a tray each full of play gel, it smelt so nice and refreshing and looked pretty cool to dig in to. After a while they turned to 'building'
Using sand moulds, buckets and plastic cones they build 'snow castles'. This was quite a challenge, it took a lot of patience and skills because the scented play snow was not like sand, it didn't pack in tight and stay firm so the larger the castle the harder it was. Dimples mastered it with a slow steady technique and noticed that the cones and taller castles wobbled like jelly. It was definitely a fun and new experience, Dimples and I discussed the scientific side of the play gel and how it soaks water, what it is made from, what will happen after we let it dry. Miss Cherub and I labelled how it felt, the shapes we made and the colour/smell of it.
If you are curious like I was, the stuff inside the diapers is similar to what is used in water crystals, water-beads and so forth. It is a form of polymer, and although it is manmade it is non-toxic and can not be absorbed through the skin see here. However it is better to ere on the side of safety so for that reason it is not recommended to be consumed, due to the fact that it absorbs 50 times its weight in water (like water-beads) - Read this here if you are concerned although it is labelled as non toxic and safe it is likely to cause irritation if consumed so as always, keep an eye on the kids as they play, don't leave them alone if you feel they will eat it and don't give it to babies or toddlers who mouth anything.
After playing, you can store it in a container in a dry and watch what happens as it dries out but remember that disposable nappies are not good for our environment so don't go pouring it in the yard, near a drain or down the toilet remember to dispose of it adequately as you would with other non-degradable waste. If you store it in a air tight container you can get a few play sessions out of it, just add some more water next time and away you go.