Summertime has arrived in the great state of North Carolina, and we are already ohsobored, so as part of a sponsored post with #CollectiveBias and their client, I’m trying to come up with some #UltimatePlaydate ideas that are both delicious and educational. I know that makes me sound like a mad scientist, but it can happen, people. Kids can eat something delicious at snack time, and learn at the same time. It just takes a little creativity, some gelatin, a splash of Juicy Juice, and some geometric shape cookie cutters. Or in this case, Very Berry Gelatin Jiggler cutter thingiemebobs.
Madilyn is already missing school and this was only her first week off. I have given them plenty of time to play and zero time to utilize their brains for anything other than creative play. They’ve definitely seen one or ten too many episodes of “Jessie” this week, and I find myself begging them to watch Caillou instead. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
I bought Hooked on Phonics for Madilyn to use during the summer, but I haven’t taken the time to read all of the super complicated instructions over yet. Maybe I’m the one that needs Hooked on Phonics.
The truth about that is, that I had Madilyn watch the “Aa” video a few weeks ago and she promptly said, “this is boring.” It was that very moment that I realized I have a kinesthetic learner on my hands. I’ve had a very difficult time teaching her anything. She doesn’t “get” anything right away like Styles always did. It seems like things that she should know like the back of her hand, like shapes, she doesn’t. She used to, she just hasn’t retained the knowledge. Maybe she doesn’t care. Maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong. She’s just different from what I’m used to. Styles is a listener. He is an auditory learner. The kid can hear something once and spew the information back at you years later. I’ll never forget the time he came home from his biological father’s house one weekend, having completely memorized a commercial about the Furminator. He was maybe 4 or 5 at the time and he said, after reciting the first half of the commercial, “…and if you call now, you will receive a second one for free, the number is 800-123-4567…” I almost wet myself laughing. He wanted me to buy the Furminator. For our invisible dog. That aside, the kid will do very well in college. Or as a used car salesman.
I guess I just assumed the rest of my children would be the same. Much to my surprise, they are all completely different people. Imagine that. So I realized that my little kinesthetic learner needed something hands on to mount and maintain her interest. I was perusing Amazon one day when I stumbled up on some geometric shaped cookie cutters and I had the brilliant idea of making some gelatin shapes from them, so help solidify her shape knowledge, an activity that both Madilyn and Grady could enjoy together.
Because I’m a little bit of a freak about sugar in this house, I didn’t want to use the pre-packaged stuff that is chock-full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. But because we’re also not rolling in dough, a la Scrooge McDuck, I had to hit the aisles of Walmart with high quality ingredients in mind, devoid of all the additives, that wouldn’t also make me decide between my light bill and this fun activity for the kids. Easy peasy. Juicy Juice to the rescue. Am I the only person on the planet that used to geek out over the enormous cans of Juicy Juice that mom poked two holes in to make it pour smoothly? When did those cans disappear? I mean, I’m sure the current plastic jugs are much healthier than the cans, but man. The nostalgia of those cans. Juicy Juice. It was the only juice we were allowed to drink.
My kids don’t get much juice because they drink it like hungry vampires lusting after blood when I buy it. A full 64oz container is usually gone within 18 hours. They’re perfectly content with water, so that’s just what we normally stick to. But because they’re in their first week of summer, I decided to hook them up with the little Juicy Juice Fun Size juice boxes. They’re just enough to give them a little juice without making their tummies hurt. And the bonus is that I can hide them and bring them out when they’re being good. Total bribe bait.
I’m off on a tangent. Imagine that.
So, I grabbed Cherry Juicy Juice, some gelatin, and some fresh raspberries; and headed home to make one of grandma’s recipes from back in the day. Grandma used to add cottage cheese, sugared-up soda pop, and extra refined sugar to hers and throw it in a bundt pan. I’m not going to do that in this recipe, just know that it is an option. Instead, we are going to utilize a cookie sheet, some parchment paper, and my beloved flavored sparkling water in lieu of the sugared-up soda pop to make these a lot healthier. We’re also going to leave that extra sugar out, because it’s really not needed unless you want to suck on a sugar stick. In which case, you should just run to the store and buy a bag of sugar to eat with a spoon.
That added sugar is just not my deal.
I was waiting for the gelatin to set a little bit when I realized that this one, single kinesthetic activity wasn’t going to be enough to solidify (pun intended) the knowledge that I was trying to impart. I know from experience that Madilyn doesn’t retain information from doing something once or twice. She needs constant exposure to that thing for it to stick. With that in mind, I created a few VERY simple printable worksheets with shapes and their names on them for her to color. I want to keep reinforcing the gelatin shape lesson without actually having to make gelatin every day.
Click the links below for your printable shape worksheets!
Because she loves to color, and because we are such enormous Crayola snobs, these printables are something she can have fun with daily. What can a circle become today? What can a rectangle be besides only a rectangle? What can a Triangle become? We can also utilize the chalkboard that we created in our Playroom Renovation for Rental Homes to continue reinforcing these shapes.
It was a fun lesson that both of the little ones enjoyed doing. Because we had so much gelatin, we put it in containers in the refrigerator to eat later. We might not be cutting gelatin shapes every day, but we can certainly eat gelatin shapes every day. The recipe is quite simple, and can be found at the bottom of this blog post. I made it after they went to bed so that it would be ready for morning playtime the next day. They were really excited about their new snack and I don’t think they even realized they were learning. After we were done cutting out and eating some Very Berry Gelatin Jigglers, we colored some of our worksheets, then drew our own shapes on the chalkboard.
I think I have a winner of a summer lesson plan for shapes on my hands. I certainly see lots of Juicy Juice gelatin in our future! It would even be a fun playdate activity. The recipe is quite easy to double, and if you have the space in your refrigerator to make a double batch, the kids would love it.
Bonus Tip for Parents:
Juicy Juice and Crayola have partnered together this summer for some great discounts for Mom & Dad. Just look for specially marked boxes of Juicy Juice for up to $3.00 off Crayola products this summer. Perfect for when you’re running just a little low on marker juice. You can also visit the site linked above for free downloadable coloring pages.