Sunny Summer Messy Play Kit Guide
Ready to dig into your Sunny Summer Messy Play Kit? On this page you'll find detailed step-by-step instructions, ideas to extend the learning, and some links to other resources. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about your kit. Now go get messy!
Fizzing Chalk Paint
1. Empty the bag of chalk paint mix into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir to mix. You may need to add a bit more water to get the consistency you desire (thicker may be harder to paint, but too thin may drip a lot).
2. Split the chalk mix into 3 smaller bowls, and add one pipette of liquid watercolor to each bowl. Stir to mix.
3. Empty the bag of citric acid into a bowl. Add 1 cup of warm water and stir until the citric acid has dissolved. Fill the spray bottle with the solution and keep the rest handy for later.
4. The chalk paint mix is ready to use! Paint on whichever surface you plan to use: a sidewalk, a driveway, a backyard patio, or even just paper. Use the included paintbrush or try using a spoon or even your hands to finger-paint a bit!
5. When you’re ready to make your design fizz, spray some of the citric acid solution on part of your artwork and watch what happens. It will start to bubble and fizz! You can also scoop or pour the solution out of the extra bowl you have as well. Do you get a different reaction when you pour rather than spray?
Note: You may find that the chalk paint leaves a bit of residue where you’ve painted, so you may want to test it on an inconspicuous location first. It should wash off with water and maybe a bit of scrubbing, just like regular chalk!
What are they learning?
- Science: This is an exciting chemical reaction! You’ve mixed an acid (citric acid) and a base (baking soda) together with water, which creates carbon dioxide gas. The gas is what bubbles up and creates all the fizzing fun! This is also an endothermic reaction, which means that it will feel cold as the reaction is occurring (yes, it’s safe to touch!). This is also a great lesson in cause and effect, since there’s an immediate and obvious reaction when the citric acid is combined with the chalk paint. This helps build a foundational scientific concept of cause and effect, where one thing is the reaction or effect of another.
- Creativity: this activity is a great mix of science and art! Kids can create whatever artwork they choose to. Some may make blobs of color while others will choose to make more complex creations. And chalk paint is a weird texture to work with too, which adds to the complexity of the creativity here!
1. Carefully pour one half of the waterbeads into each balloon. Use a funnel to make this easier.
2. Carefully stretch the balloon neck around the faucet on your sink. Once it’s secure, turn on the water slowly.
3. When the balloon is about 4-5 inches in diameter, turn off the water, pinch the balloon’s neck and carefully remove from the faucet. Let out the air, then tie the balloon closed. Repeat with the second balloon.
4. Let the waterbeads hydrate and grow for a few hours, and then place both balloons in the freezer. If you’re worried they may stick to something or pop, place them in a ziplock bag (not included).
5. When they’re frozen solid, remove them from the freezer. Pop the balloons, and peel off and immediately discard the broken pieces. (Broken balloon pieces are a choking hazard.)
6. Place the balloons in warm water in the bathtub. Watch what happens as the water begins to melt. Or take the balloons outside to the sidewalk and toss them until they crack into smaller pieces. How do these look different from non-frozen waterbeads?
Clean Up: Immediately discard the balloon pieces, as balloons are choking hazards for kids under age 8. The waterbeads can be thrown away as well, but if any pieces have ended up on the ground, that's ok too, since these waterbeads are biodegradable! Waterbeads should not go down the drain, since they can clog drains easily due to their size and ability to absorb water.
What are they learning?
- Science: Water expands as it freezes, so the water inside the waterbeads expanded and exploded them from the inside! If you take a regular hydrated waterbead and squeeze it, it pops and creates small pieces similar to the frozen waterbeads.
- Gross motor skills: For extra fun, and great gross motor practice, take the frozen balloon outside and smash it on the ground. It takes muscles to lift it high and throw it down with enough force to crack it open. Pick up the pieces but don’t worry too much- these waterbeads are biodegradable!
- To extend on the learning in this activity, check on the balloons every 30 minutes or 1 hour, before and during their time in the freezer. Keep a chart of your observations. What is happening with the waterbeads inside? With the water? Is there a point in time when you notice it starting to freeze? When it looks like the waterbeads aren’t growing anymore? Consider freezing the balloons one at a time so you observe new things the second time and you know what to look for!
Pom Pom Splat
1. Empty each jar of paint into one of the plastic cups. Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.
2. Cover your work surface with the paper dropcloth. If you have an apron or a smock, you may want to wear it! This activity is messy, but remember the paint is completely washable!
3. Place a piece of paper on top of your art tray.
4. Dip a pom pom into the paint solution, and then place it on the paper. Use your hands to squish it down, making a splatter. Move the pom pom to a new spot and squish it again. Is the splatter bigger or smaller this time?
5. Keep going! Explore with the various sizes of pom poms, the various colors, and different techniques. What if you drop it instead of squishing it? What if it has more paint on it, or less? If you have enough paper, you could even try watering down the paint more and trying the activity again to see what happens!
6. Repeat with the other pom poms and pieces of paper.
Clean Up: Save the leftover paint for the Ice Paint activity next. Let your artwork dry, and either display it or use it as a card for someone! Wipe up any splattered paint before it dries for the easiest cleanup.
What are they learning?
- Creativity: it’s empowering and freeing to be able to create openly! Children get to decide what to make, and work on their technique to make it happen.
- Process versus Product: This is a key component of Messy Play Kits’ products. We focus on the process of making rather than the final product. You don’t have to build a snowman, but painting in a completely new and different way is what the activity is really all about! Try something new and explore how it works!
- Making a mess: this might be a learning process for you too! It’s ok to make a mess, as long as you set up well for it and clean up afterwards. These are great life skills to learn!
1. Use the watered down paint from the previous activity (Pom Pom Splat). If you haven’t done that yet, go back and do it now.
2. Place the watered down paint (inside the included plastic containers) in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. To make handles for the paint, place the popsicle sticks in the paint before freezing to give your child something to hold onto while they paint.
3. Once frozen solid, remove the paint from the plastic containers and place on an art tray.
4. Paint! Pick up a frozen paint cube or hold it by the popsicle stick handle and draw with it on the paper. As it melts more, it will release more paint too.
Note: You can add the paint cubes to hot water in the bath too, to see them melt even more quickly and watch the colors mix together (great science lessons here!).
If you read this before you make the cubes, or if you are making them again with other paints, try making a rainbow ice cube block by pouring a few colors into one container before freezing. If you add the colors carefully, you can end up with separate colors within the same container.
What are they learning?
- Science: Color mixing, if you make rainbow blocks, or as they melt and blend together. Discuss primary and secondary colors.
- Science: Property states (solid, liquid, gas). You can see the water going from solid ice form to liquid water form. Hopefully you won’t see the gaseous steam form, since that’s really hot, but you can talk about it. It’s all water in various forms.
- Science: Temperatures. The ice will melt much faster in hot water than in cold water or room temperature air. Why is that? Try more experiments with regular ice or colored ice and see what happens.
- Creativity: Once again, we focus on the process of painting rather than the final product. It doesn’t matter what your child creates, but we want them exploring the paint and trying various techniques, drawing styles, and whatever else they want to do!
More Summer Play!
There are so many ways to continue playing with and learning about summer and weather. Here are some of my favorites.
- Check out these other weather and season related Messy Play Kits! The Polar Fun Kit and the Weather Kit are great options to expand the learning here, and the Weather Sensory Bin is an adorable open-ended exploration!
- Check out the Messy Play color changing slime kits that change color based on sunlight! These aren't always in stock, but they are SO much fun!
- If you're struggling with keeping the kids busy this summer, check out this amazing DIY Summer Camp idea from Power of Families. It seems like it would take a lot of work to set up, but it sounds like an amazing summer. It's also a great inspiration point- maybe you read this over and pick 1-2 ideas you can implement in your own home this year. I just love the balance between structure and open-ended options, and the focus on fun and together-ness.
- QuietBookQueen has a great online membership that offers tons of screen-free activities for kids! She creates easily downloadable activities like busy bags, scavenger hunts, pretend play scenarios, and so much more.