Glow in the Dark Sensory Sink Letter Hunt | Still Playing School

Glow in the Dark Sensory Sink Letter Hunt

This month the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Series brings you glowing dough recipes! We hid letters in glow in the dark gelatin to add literacy excitement to our sensory play.

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I love the challenges this series throws at us as teachers, bloggers, and moms! Our first glowing dough recipe was an epic fail. I tried to make play dough from sand that claimed it was glow in the dark but that sand was a total liar. Luckily, for Plan B I remember reading that you could make Jello glow under a black light by replacing the water in the recipe with tonic water.

It worked perfectly! We used Knox unflavored gelatin to we wouldn't have a sticky mess when we played. I boiled three parts tonic water in the microwave and mixed the gelatin with the remaining one part of tonic water. Next, I added the boiling part and stirred until it was dissolved. I let some of the gelatin set in our bowl before adding the plastic letters then repeating the process until I had a glowing layered jello cake with suspended letters inside.

Unfortunately when I went to pop the gelatin out I realized that I forgot to oil the bowl like I had when we made our ocean animals in Jello for the light table. Whoops! The kids didn't seem to mind that the glowing sensory concoction was already a bit mashed up. 

Our preschooler E daintily dug in to find letters to spell words. I included ice tongs for fine motor practice and in case she didn't want to get her hands messy (she didn't) but she just played cautiously.

We're working on learning blends for homeschool preschool so she spelled the word glow! These letter manipulatives were tricky for her as she kept placing them backwards. When she did I asked her why the word looked strange and she would pick out and correct her error.

I just love the way the Jello glows under the black light! This glowing dough is taste safe but neither of my kids were interested in trying it since the unflavored gelatin does not smell appealing!

E decided to try to find all the letters to put them in alphabetical order! She had to remember which letter she was on as she dug through the glowing gelatin to find the next one.

When I showed our toddler D the glowing sensory sink he said, "Ohhhhh!" He was less impressed with the glow and more motivated by the letter toys. He loves the alphabet!

I have to admit that I'm disappointed that my kids didn't want to get messier with the sensory experience of this glowing gelatin but they did use their fine motor skills to dig out the letters. We had lots of literacy learning identifying and ordering the alphabet then making words.

Read our other literacy based sensory dough posts for this series:
slime dough on the light table
no cook play dough

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  1. What a fantastic idea!! :) I bet my Mr Frog will love it! :)

  2. I can't believe we have gotten this far in life without a black light. I must rectify this immediately!!! x