Did a new project: super successful. Usually with these projects, after a time, the kids lose interest and run their paint covered hands over their head, or wander off, or try to eat the materials. But this one! The directions tell you to use a big tub with a lid so "clean up is easy" and I didn't have any idea what that was about until I did it. What they mean is that the kids won't ever want to quit playing with this shit and when they get hungry or near naptime you finally have to pick up the tub and just carry it out of the room. Which is where the lid would come in handy.
So here's the project: it's called Clean Mush, and I did it in the water table. I got it from this book which I checked out from the library called First Art which also has all kinds of other great ideas.
You unroll three rolls of toilet paper (great fun on its own and takes up quite a bit of time) and put them in the water table. Add a bar of ivory soap you've previously grated with a cheese grater, plus 1/3 cup borax, and enough warm water to saturate it all. It takes more water than you'd think. Then you plunge your hands in and mush mush mush it. This part is enormous amounts of fun and you can do this for ages. Use scoops and spoons, plus little plastic thingys they can hide in the mush. Then! If you want to, add food coloring. I ignored the tiny bottle of green and used only red, blue, and yellow so we could mix the secondary colors ourselves. One reason this project is so great is that I had fun playing in the mush too. My hands were all pruney after.
After a while I squeezed the water out of some and put it on newspaper to mold like clay, but that wasn't so successful as Clark kept wanting to add wet unsqueezed mush from the table, which made quite a mess. Warning: the whole thing is rather messy. The little bits that splash onto the floor dry to a crust, and cleaning out the water table was not so easy either but it was definitely worth it. Bits of it got in Clark's hair too but at least it was soapy and clean, though he might still have blue food coloring on his nose. Today, the very day after we did this, Frances said, "You remember last week when we did that project with the toilet paper? Let's do that again." We will do it again, but not so soon.
Doing these projects makes me feel like the best mom in the world. I haven't thought too hard about why that is, because I don't care. I'm going with it.