Monday, January 9, 2012

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 62: Color in a Bag

Oliver's activity for today came directly from Disney's Family Fun website, and it's called "Color in a Bag." This activity takes some prep (Approximately 45 minutes), but I decided Oliver would enjoy doing thee work. For him, this activity would be two-in-one!

Here's what you need for Color in a Bag:

1 cup of cornstarch
1/2 cup of sugar
4 cups of water
food coloring
ziplock bags (gallon-sized, preferably)

In a pot over medium heat, stir together the cornstarch, sugar, and water continuously until it begins to thicken (this took about 10 minutes for us). Take the pot off of the heat and continue stirring for another minute until the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency. Allow the mixture to cool for 30 minutes.
Once the cornstarch mixture is cool, divide it into three separate bowls. Using food coloring, dye each bowl of mixture a primary color (red, blue, and yellow). Put approximately one cup of red and a cup of yellow in a ziplock bag. Repeat with the other two bags using red and blue in one and blue and yellow in the other. When your child plays with it, the red and yellow will make orange. Red and blue will make purple. Blue and yellow will make green. Seal the bags tightly, using tape if necessary.

I only made two bags because I only had two bags. Once I finished spooning in the goo, I gave them to Oliver. He went nuts over them for about, well, three minutes. But during those three minutes, he had a ball tossing the bags, squishing them with his toes, and mashing them with his hands while squealing loudly.

Just as quickly as the fun started, it ended. Oliver wanted to open the bags. I told him no. He got up and went to play with his kitchen. An hour later, he still hadn't gone back to his color bags. After another hour, I just decided to chuck them rather than risk him opening them when I wasn't looking.

The activity itself was less than stellar. It was fun to make it with Oliver, but we could have just as easily baked cookies or brewed coffee, and he would have had a good time. If he was older, the activity might have been good for educational purposes, but he's still too young to really learn about primary and secondary colors. As it was, it seemed like a big, fat waste of effort. Forty-five minutes of prep work for three minutes of fun. It also created a lot of dirty dishes. I give "Bag of Colors" a D for young toddlers, but I might revisit this activity in another year or so when Oliver learns about mixing colors. Of course, I might also just squeeze some paint onto a paper plate to save time and not make such a mess!

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