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Squeezing Rainbows for Little Leprechauns

With this creative art experience from the new edition of First Art for Toddlers and Twos, your little leprechauns will love to squeeze and knead gelatin rainbows and enjoy the feel and sight of vivid colors blending.


  • Heavy zipper-closure plastic baggie (or freezer bag)
  • Hot plate or stove (for adult use only)
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring cups
  • 2 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • Red, yellow, and blue food coloring
  • 3 small bowls
  • Small saucepan
  • Water
  • Wooden spoon

Prepare (Adult)

  • Prepare the rainbow gel. Stir 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) water and 2 packages of gelatin in a small saucepan, and wait 5 minutes for the gelatin to soften. Stir over low heat for about 3 minutes or until the gelatin has dissolved. Remove from heat, and pour into three small bowls. Add 5 drops of food coloring to each bowl, and chill in refrigerator for about 10 minutes until partially set and thickened. Stir a few times while it chills. Caution: Supervise child helpers closely
  • Spoon two or more colors into a heavy plastic baggie. The baggie does not need to be very full. (Children like to help with the spooning step.)
  • Zip the bag closed. To help prevent leaks, tape the opening of the baggie with masking tape.
  • Hand the baggie to the child.

Process (Child)

  • Squeeze and knead this cool bag of colors. Discover how the colors mix together. Work at a table, on the floor, or on a lap. (This is fun for car rides and waiting times.)
  • Empty the bag, and try mixing different colors together.


  • Mix unflavored gelatin, such as Knox™, with food coloring to make a thick mixture with colors that blend slowly, allowing the child time to see the process.
  • Most children find this activity soothing and calming.


  • Place other materials or mixtures into a heavy baggie for children to explore, with or without coloring. The following are fun examples:
    • Equal parts water and cornstarch
    • Hair gel
    • Liquid starch
    • Shaving cream
    • Two or three flavors of bright fruit gelatin such as Jell-O™, no added color needed.

This activity was taken from the new First Art for Toddlers and Twos by MaryAnn F. Kohl. Enter to win a FREE copy of First Art! Just “like” Gryphon House Books on Facebook!

Categories: Activities Art

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3 replies

  1. Hi, Everyone. Isn’t art fun, and so many learning opportunities too.

    Just a comment: If you don’t have Jell-o, just go ahead and mix blobs of colorful playdough or playclay (plasticine is best, non-hardening modeling clay).

    Another fun surprise is to put a tiny drop of food coloring inside a ball of white playdough, and hand the ball to the child. When they start mixing, oooooo, the colors start mixing and everyone squeals!

    Can’t wait to find out who wins the book!

    1. I think this would be fun with older children, too. I’m going to try it with my preschool class. They would be able to help prepare the gelatin and add the food coloring. And I know they’ll love filling the bags and then squeezing and mixing!!

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