Jello Alphabet Dig: ABC Sensory Bin

I’m proud to say Mr2.5 can now recognize all of the letters in the alphabet!  We’ve been playing tons of abc games, and to keep things fun we did an abc sensory bin jello alphabet dig.  My toddler enjoyed prying the letters out of the jello with spatulas, and claiming excitedly what letter he found.

My toddler is currently really interested in recognizing letters, cooking, and making messes.  So I decided to combine his three favourite activities for this jello alphabet dig sensory bin.  I wasn’t sure what all the hype about sensory bins was until recently.  Basically, sensory bins are a way to play with messy stuff indoors when it’s cold outside.  My simple understanding is that you take some kind of messy material (sand, water, slime, goop, jello) and hide objects in them (magnets, puzzle pieces, animals, etc.).  I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to put it all in a tupperware bin, but we skipped this and used the kitchen table.  The setup for my game was quick, and surprisingly it wasn’t too messy.  

Jello Alphabet Dig Supplies

  • 2 packages red  jello – that’s the color that was in our cupboard
  • yellow and blue magnetic letters – contrasting color to the jello
  • large cake pan – what kid doesn’t love the playing with real kitchen gadgets?
  • toy spatulas from kid’s kitchen toys – because Mr2.5 is obsessed with these 
  • spoons – because we have too many baby spoons
  • bowls – to collect and clean letters in 
  • plastic party tablecloth – to contain the mess

ABC Sensory Bin Instructions

I followed the instructions on the back of the box to make the jello.  Then, I poured the jello into a large metal cake pan.  After carefully selecting some magnetic letters of contrasting color, I dropped them into the jello.  Since the letters are magnetic, most of them instantly sunk to the bottle of the pan and stuck.  For the ones that didn’t I gave them a little push to the bottom of the pan with my finger.  Then, I put the entire pan in the fridge for the jello to set.  

The next morning I laid out a cheap plastic tablecloth on the table, took the jello pan out of the fridge, and added some bowls, spatulas, and spoons for digging.  To make a proper ABC sensory bin, you could put all of these supplies in a massive tupperware bin.  Mr2.5 was excited to see his letters hiding under the jello.  The yellow letters were really easy to see and the blue letters blended in a bit more.  You could be extra tricky and put the matching color letters in (aka red letters in red jello).

Alphabet Dig Play

My toddler instantly starting scraping at his letters with the spatulas.  Some letters took a bit of effort to pry the magnets off of the pan, and other letters popped right off.  Mr2.5 completely ignored the spoons.  Every now and then my toddler would ask me, “can I eat it?”  I said yes, and he tasted a few bites but wasn’t really interested in eating the jello.  Sometimes, my toddler would tell me which letter he was digging out, and sometimes I would ask him to find a certain letter.  Once he got a letter out, Mr2.5 dipped his letters in bowls full of water.  He also enjoyed adding the jello to the water.  My toddler was really interested in getting all of the letters out so he could make some alphabet soup.  

I discovered that it was super easy to clean the jello off of the letters by running them under warm tap water.  I put the pan, spatulas, and spoons in the dishwasher.  Voila, easy cleanup!  

This alphabet jello dig was such a hit that we’re going to be doing alphabet digs in other materials.  I’m thinking abc puzzle pieces in rice next.  What treasure hunts have been favourites of your toddlers?  


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