Monday, June 23, 2014

{Think Outside the Toy Box} Ice Cream Cones: Edible Sensory Bin

This week marks the halfway point of the Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Fun Series. It feels like we've done so much already and participating in this series has helped keep our summer interesting and exciting! I have loved planning and creating each project for Myles and he has definitely had a blast being my little helper and then trying everything out!

If you are here for the first time or want to check out all the details again, take a look at the post introducing the Think Outside the Toy Box summer fun series. Also if you have missed any previous weeks, here are the projects we have done so far:
Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling (and bath)
Plastic Bottle Waterfall
Astronaut/Alien Costume
Foamy Bathtub Paint

Now on to this week's fun with:


This week's item totally stumped me! I couldn't believe how hard it was to come up with something to do with ice cream cones. It took the longest time for me to think up
anything, so by the time this item rolled around, I didn't have a lot of ideas to choose from... well any really. This was pretty much the only thing that came to mind that was worth doing for me. I wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out, but I had high hopes. Anything messy is great play time for Myles... and me! In the end, we had a great time and Myles did a lot more with all the food than I thought he would. So without further ado, I give you:

  Edible Sensory Bin

What You Will Need: 

A bin, large container, or water table
 Any edible sensory food
What I used:
Ice Cream Cones (sugar and waffle)
Rice cakes
Jello (two different kinds)
Kool-Aid flavor packets
Food coloring
Ziplock baggies


1. The night before, make all the food that needs to be prepared. For me that was the jello, rice, and spaghetti.
  • Prepare the jello using the directions on the package.

  • Spaghetti: Cook the spaghetti according to the package, but add 3 extra minutes onto their time. Drain, rinse, and let cool for at least 15 minutes. For each color you want, you will need a gallon Ziplock bag. Fill the bag about 1/4 the way with cold water. Then add either the food coloring or Kool-Aid. I used food coloring for the green and Kool-Aid for the purple and red. I used 2 packets of Kool-Aid for each bag and about 7-8 drops of food coloring. Add the spaghetti and close each bag. Let them soak overnight.

  • Rice: The rice is made the same way. I figured Myles wasn't going to eat the rice, so I didn't cook it. But if you do, just cook according to the package, drain, rinse, and let cool for 15 minutes. For the rice, I used smaller sandwich baggies. I filled them 1/3 of the way up with water and added the food coloring. Then I added the rice, closed the baggies, and let them soak overnight. 

2. This is completely optional and depends on what kind of container you're using, but the night before, I also lined the water table in tinfoil. I didn't want any of the food to stain the table and I didn't want Myles eating off of the table as well. *Plus it makes for an easy clean up; you just fold up the foil and throw it away; keeps you from having to clean the container.*

3. The next morning, drain all of the rice and spaghetti. The easiest way is to use a colander. DO NOT rinse. Once they are all drained, lay them out on wax paper/foil to dry. I let mine dry during the day. By night time, the rice was still a little damp, but that didn't really effect anything.

4. When you are ready for play time, assemble the bin/table. Below is the order in which I put my bin together:
  • First I started with the ice cream cones. While they were still in the bag I crushed them. I used four of these bags. 

  • Top Left: I placed the crushed sugar cones along the outer part of the bin. Then I added the waffle cones. I crushed a couple of them, but I left the majority intact so Myles could scoop and build with them.
  • Top Right: I added the spaghetti, keeping the colors separated and some cheerios. 
  • Bottom Left: I added the red and blue jello, some big marshmallows, and the rice. I tried to prop the cones up and put the rice in them, but a couple of them kept falling over, so I just put the the rice around the cones. I also put a couple rice cakes in there.
  • Bottom Right: I laid out some rubber mats in our backyard and placed the bin on top of them. Myles knew exactly what to do!

5. EAT and PLAY!

Myles is not a fan of marshmallows. I already knew this, but I wanted to see if he would like them this time... I guess not! He tried to take a bit three different times and every time, this is what happened:

Testing out all the yummies. I knew he would love the jello, but I didn't think he would try anything else... I was so wrong!

This is my favorite! He did not hesitate with the spaghetti. He grabbed it by the handful and shoveled it into his mouth several times.

Once I showed him he could put stuff in the cones, he had to test out everything; marshmallows, jello, rice, and the spaghetti all got stuffed into an ice cream cone. 

Lastly, we built. We tried to make towers out of the food. It was a little challenging, but we did manage to stack a couple things.

And then.. this happened. He decided to throw the spaghetti on the ground and stomp on it. Apparently it was so much that he had to do it over and over again! I tried to stop him at first, but then I just said whatever and let him have his fun. I was able to throw most of it away by picking up the mats and dumping the debris in the garbage. The bin clean up was a breeze though. I just wrapped up the foil and threw it out!

It was really neat seeing him try everything. He was hesitant at all and was really adventurous with all of the foods. I was very surprised at how much he interacted with this activity. I could definitely tell that it got his little brain working and really awakened and engaged his senses.

 Thanks so much for checking out week five of the Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Fun Series! Also don't forget to check out what all of the other ladies put together for this week's item in the link-up below. 
  And if you have a post (new or old) that you created showcasing ice cream cones in a kid's project, craft, game, experiment, etc., submit it below as well. No post this week? No problem; join us next Monday when we will be using pool noodles! 

Also just in case you want to get a head start, here is the complete list for the coming weeks:
June 30 - Pool Noodles
July 7 - Wax Paper
July 14 - Puzzle Pieces
July 21 - Paper Cups
July 28 - Plastic Milk Jugs


  1. Fantastic job, Julia! It looks like he had so much fun!

  2. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesJune 23, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    This is such a cool idea! I've never thought to incorporate food into our playtime. Adding it to our list!!

  3. Thanks love! I really loved dying everything. That was my favorite part. I really think he did too! I'd call it a success. I even tried some of it! And I will tell you the spaghetti with the Kool-Aid dye tasted gross! I don't know what it was, but I even tried both flavors!

  4. I know right! I guess we are trying to teach them not to play with food, but oh well he had fun. And I think they are old enough now to understand the difference. I had to show him it was okay to play and try stuff. But once he saw it was for play he went crazy. I know Marcus would love this too!

  5. HAHAHAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! HIS FACES! omg that is one expressive baby..err toddler! LOL this is very clever but nothing tops those faces he makes

  6. This is awesome!! It looks like so much fun! We're working on adding more textured food items to sensory bins with Nicholas and so far he is doing really well as long as I don't go too squishy or slimy lol. He'd freak over the spaghetti but it looks like Myles had a blast!

  7. I've had other people say that too! He's got a lot going on in his mind so it comes out in his face I guess! I was so happy I got some good action shots. You can tell what he liked and didn't lol

  8. Oh he definitely was getting into it. I know what oyu mean by the spaghetti though, it is definitely a slimy one. I bet the jello would be a little much too. Maybe he would like the rice or cereal, something more hard.

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