I've started doing "tot time" with Ellie and two of her little friends (who are both second kids). This week, we had a fourth little one as well (and her mommy, which gave me the courage to tackle some serious messy activities!).
We did three activities with the toddlers, who are 15 months, 17 months, 18 months and 28 months.
Ice + salt + food coloring
This is really neat. I would love to do it with older kids who understand more of the science -- but this kept the kiddos busy and interested for nearly half an hour!
I froze a sheet of ice overnight on a baking pan. Each kid got a scoop and got to add salt to the ice and stir it around. I added random drops of food coloring and just let them go to town.
As the ice started to melt and crack, the food coloring went deeper into the ice and mixed differently. The kids LOVED it.
Oh, as you can tell from the pictures, they all had a little taste sample as well.
Next, we sprayed a ton of shaving cream into two other pans. I dropped some more food coloring in and again, just let them experiment.
Wow. They clearly enjoyed this one. I think Ellie and William were having a subtle competition over who got to cover more skin in shaving cream.
Ellie was convinced she'd win.
The last one we did was flour paint. Ellie and William played with it for a few minutes, but this was nearly an hour into these activities and I think all the kids were getting tired. I'd try this again with brushes, sponges, etc., and different kinds of paper. I just made a quick mix, eyeballing the ratio. Thinner definitely worked better than thicker!