Autumn Exploratory Jelly…

Alistair Bryce-CleggCreativity, Malleable Materials, Messy Play, Texture Kitchen19 Comments

It is time to get your Autumn Jelly ingredients ready!

If you make some Autumn Jelly, don’t forget to share the results.

This is a really simple activity that gives you lots of opportunities to explore many aspects of the EYFS.

If you involve the children from the very beginning then not only will they be able to talk about and name the resources that they have collected, they will also be able to explore how the gelatine changes the water from a liquid to a solid. You can talk about how the mixture goes from hot to cold and what the final jelly feels like in their hands.

There should be lots of opportunities for a variety of experiences, talking and thinking.

  • Vegetable Gelatine ( I used 3 sachets of vege-gel for a mixing bowl sized jelly)
  • Cold Water  (1 pint per sachet)
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Pan
  • Container/s (I used a pyrex bowl but you could use small bowls, cups or jelly moulds)

I was also thinking you could do this in a tuff tray for a very wide and flat jelly experience, you might just need more sachets! Or, how about your water tray? You would definitely need lots more sachets! But, can you imagine the fun?

  • Tray (for investigation)
  • Leaves, conkers, flowers and any other signs of Autumn you can collect. Please ensure that all of the items you use are safe.

As its name suggests, vegetable gelatine contains no meat products so it is suitable to be handled by all children. It is really simple to use. As it is used for cooking and deserts it doesn’t set as firmly as classic jelly. If you want your jelly to be firmer then just add less water.

What to do:

  • Put 1 pint of cold water per sachet into a pan
  • Add the gelatine and whisk

  • Bring the liquid to the boil (it will begin to thicken a little bit as it get to boiling point)
  • Being VERY careful, pour the boiling liquid into your bowl/mould/moulds

TIP – The gelatine thickens as it cools. If you add all of your Autumn treasures to this very hot liquid, most of them will just float on the top and a lot of the flowers and leaves will wilt because of the heat. If that happens then your jelly will look rubbish!

Let the liquid cool for 30 – 45 mins then start to add your leaves etc. You should find that you are able to spread them about a bit more as the liquid is thicker and cooler. I found that the conkers sank to the bottom regardless!

  • Leave to set – this only takes a couple of hours

It was interesting to look at even before we turned it out of the bowl,

especially in the sunshine.

It came out of the bowl really easily.

  • Turn out onto a tray or tuff spot

shiny, wobbly jelly

  • Let the children explore!

You can use your fingers…

or maybe tweezers?

It feels fantastic!

Obviously, this is not just for Autumn, there are a million different things that you could put into jelly – the mind boggles!


Please ensure that you check for allergies and risk assess all aspects of the above activity. 

19 Comments on “Autumn Exploratory Jelly…”

  1. Hello. Can you tell me how many grams your sachets are please? I have a 100g bag of agar agar which I’m going to use and am trying to work out how much water to use. Thank you in advance.

  2. Oh my goodness…I tried this, this week…it was amazing!! Already deciding what to put in the next one. This is definitely going to be repeated.

  3. What a fantastically simple activity which can be adapted to suit any season or theme! Thanks for the great idea, I will definitely be stealing it for my nursery class here in Bangkok!

  4. I love the sound of this, but sadly I think this year it will be impossible because of the Covid restrictions.It would mean making a jelly for every child, and they would end up being too small to have the Wow factor. Definitely for next year though…

  5. We made ours, and then blogged it, and I’ve FB messengered you the links so you can see all the fun. My cleaner was also impressed that we could make so much mess and then it all be gone as if it was never there!

    Also, thank you for the vege-gel hint – this meant we could do this with everyone, although I still checked with a couple of parents just to be sure.

  6. I’ve made or rather, my partner who is not a teacher, has made this jelly this weekend!
    I’m going to be using it with children with special needs on Monday and am looking forward to the talk and sensory experiences the children will enjoy. I now want to make a letter jelly and a number jelly!!!!!

  7. I look forward to trying out this fab idea at home with my chn before taking to school too! We collected some fabulous treasures during a forest school outing last week so this is perfect timing. Thank you.

  8. Absolutely LOVE this! Going to do a test run at home with my children this weekend before suggesting it to the EYFS team at school 🥰 Thanks Alistair

      1. We have had a fantastic morning at our preschool playgroup with this. Our Exploratory Jelly contained leftover vegetables as part of our harvest theme. The children spent a long time talking about it before diving in to pull it apart. It was sensory heaven, and led to them independently making faces with the veg, and even mark making in the jelly.

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