I first spotted these squishy mats on Play at Home Mom and Therapy Fun Zone. The idea is quite similar to mess free painting where you put paint in a zip lock bag and squidge the paint round to mix it (check out this great post from The Chocolate Muffin Tree for more ideas). But, instead of paint it's hair gel, intrigued? Read on......
Firstly, I mixed glitter into a tub of cheap hair gel, then placed the hair gel into a zip-lock bag. You can stop there and then use the squishy bag for letter writing or hand prints (this is what the Play at Home Mom post is about). Or, you can mix it up a little and make some fun, squishy games.
To make a game out of it I then added a marble, although buttons actually work better as they're flat. Then I taped the zip-lock to a piece of cardboard. Added a cardboard frame and duct taped the edges.
To the first version I drew on with permanent pens two circles that the marbles need to be pushed under, reasonably tricky for little fingers.
The next version was a maze. Here I duct taped the inside of the bag which was super fiddly, but created 'walls' for the marble. The only problem was after a couple of weeks the duct tape started to peel off and float, hmmmm not so great!
So for the next version I used electrical tape on the outside to create a maze, the advantage being it won't float away and was much quicker and easier, but if your kids are like Bud he enjoyed trying to trick me into thinking he'd completed it by pushing the button under the walls more than he did actually trying to complete it properly!
The next idea is from my super creative sister Auntie B, she saw mine and came up with some cool ideas herself. The first has googly eyes inside the gel and hair/beards and mouths cut out of tape on the outside.
Whilst, the second has beads inside and strips of tape on the edges so that you need to push the right colour bead to the right colour tape.
Here's a close up. This is possibly my favourite as you could still use this mat for letter writing and also for colour matching or pattern making.
And, here are the boys checking them out.
I hope you enjoyed these fun squishy mats, if you give them a go or make any of your own let me know in the comments!
Come back soon and check out some more of our playtime fun!