There were several things I really liked about this recipe:
- It was easier for little hands to mold, play with, and make imprints in than play-dough
- It had a gritty texture and interesting smell thanks to the inclusion of coffee
- It looked like rocks/fossils which was great for dinosaur week
There was one thing I really didn't like: it was super sticky! But I wonder if I may have made a mistake somewhere in the recipe. The recipe had enough "up sides" that I would definitely try it again and see if it was a bit less sticky. Rather than starting over, I just added some extra flour and kept our "work surface" floured, as if we were making cookies.
Dinosaurs in Sticky Mud
First, I prepared a double sensory bin - a bigger bin on the outside with a smaller one in the middle. I filled the boundary between the two bins with rocks and toy dinosaurs - big and small.
If you are unfamiliar with the mixture of cornstarch and water, it is really an awesome sensory experience - even for adults! This is a "non-Newtonian fluid" which means that it's viscosity changes with the amount of pressure that is applied. Specifically - a cornstarch and water solution is rheopectic, it become hard and thick and behaves like a solid when pressure is applied. But when pressure is absent, it behaves as a liquid again! (There is some fun vocabulary for you!) It was really fun to see my 18 month old figure out that if he just set his hand or a dinosaur on top or gently reached in to pull one out, he was met with little resistance. If he was forceful, however, he couldn't get what he wanted! So this was really both a sensory and problem solving activity. (I didn't get many good pictures of this action because my hands were covered in the mixture!)
Hatching Dinosaur (ICE) Eggs
I prepared the "dinosaur egg" by placing a small dinosaur (I used these toys from Target) inside an empty balloon (no picture, as this was definitely a two handed process). I then filled the balloon with water, released any air that was remaining, and tied it off.