A Reggio-twist on Gel Sensory Bags

Don’t you just love playing with colour and light? This activity turned out so much more beautifully than I imagined; the whole wall was lit with blue light, speckled by tiny rainbows.

Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself to think a little differently; to see materials in a different way, present them differently in order to encourage Jack (3.5yrs) and Sarah (18mths) to engage in new ways.

We have a couple of glittery gel sensory bags which the kids have been enjoying playing with over the last couple of months. They were using them to make marks in the gel, but what if you added projected light? How would Jack and Sarah approach them then?

The different thicknesses of gel made for different shades of colour. It was really beautiful. Jack started making stars, while Sarah marvelled in the colour that filled the room. She hasn’t yet made the connection between what she does on the OHP and the projection on the wall. Sarah mostly engages with one or the other. But Jack can see the connection.  

While Sarah played on the OHP, Jack was transfixed on the wall; watching the colours move.

A twist of the handle and the colours blur, creating beautiful spectrums of light. Jack wanted to ‘swim in the colours’.

Irresistibly beautiful.


Thinking differently is challenging. What do we usually put together? Playdough and cutters, paint and paper, water and funnels… but what else could they be used for? How could we encourage our children to explore more deeply and creatively?

This is how I am challenging myself; to think differently, to put aside my notions, to see no proper purpose in a material, no proper use, in the hope that it opens up space for new discoveries. It is difficult, but we will see how we go.

7 thoughts on “A Reggio-twist on Gel Sensory Bags

  1. Who wouldn’t want to be enveloped in colour like that? It’s beautiful. I am gradually learning more about Reggio and seeing the potential for true authentic discovery. It is a little confusing for a beginner but your beautiful photos are helping me to get a better picture.

  2. Good work challenging yourself, Kate! You came up with something truly inspiring and it’s clear that your kids loved it. There’s something magical about light and shadows, I agree. My two year old especially loves the OHP (I think my 4-year old is jaded by it, at the moment) and she’ll investigate all sorts of objects with total abandon on constraints.

    • Thanks Rachelle. The kids just love the OHP, hopefully N will come back to it. Maybe you could do a tinkersketch with transparency paper that she might enjoy… I’ve been meaning to do that with Jack for a while now.

    • They are just cheap hair gel from the supermarket, food colouring and glitter. The bags took more gel than I thought they would; two jars each. But I wanted the ziplock bags to be a decent size so the kids could really explore. I just scooped the get into the bag, added a few drops of food colouring, massaged it all in and then added some glitter. I then taped the top of the bag closed so there wasn’t any unexpected spills. They have been pretty durable. The kids have given them a good workout for a few months now and they are still going strong. Let me know how you go 😀

  3. Pingback: A New Year and a New Playroom | An Everyday Story

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