Monday, June 18, 2007

Jello Aquariums

I watch my friend's daughter on Fridays. She is three months younger than Mya and they get along as best as any two-year-olds can get along—That means many squabbles over toys, pushing and grabbing yet they enjoy being around each other. But when I have something to occupy their time, they seem to be a little more calm during the day.

One day, I decided to have them help me make Jello Aquariums. It may not be the healthiest thing to serve a kid but it sure is fun to make (and there's fruit in there). Here are the following supplies and ingredients:

6 clear plastic cups
Canned Fruit Cocktail, strained
Blue Jello
Gummi Fish

Following the instructions on the Jello box, I started to boil 4 cups of water. I gave each girl a spoon and had them partially fill all 6 cups, one at a time, with the fruit cocktail. This will be the "gravel" of the aquarium.

The girls then took turns pouring the package of Jello into a bowl. I added the water to the bowl and they took turns mixing. Of course, I finished the mixing to make sure the gelatin has dissolved.

I let the girls play as I partially filled the cups with the Jello mixture - up to the level of the fruit cocktail. The cups were then placed in the freezer. This will anchor the fruits to the bottom (I learned this the hard way). You can also place it in the fridge, but I only had a few hours before the girls could enjoy their creations.

After a quick freeze (about 20 minutes), the fruit/Jello mixture was solid enough to add the remaining Jello to the cups. I placed it in the fridge for about 45 minutes until partially set.

Once the Jello is partially set, the gummi fish were added to the cups and then placed in the fridge to fully set.

The end result is a fun Jello aquarium that my friend's daughter can take home (and that we can portion for ourselves).

You can also make a bigger aquarium using the same technique. I used the fruit snack fishes which didn't hold up well in the Jello - the coloring came off of the fishes but it was still edible. I think the gummi fish or swedish fish would work out better.

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