‘Mum, have we got any algae….can I have a wee bit in a jug…..and the other things’…..the child appeared with an armful of plastic kitchenware balanced like the Lakeland company had revived ‘Double or Drop’ for the cupcake generation.
‘I’m doing the ice cubes’ came the explanation as the sound of the freezer door thunking and ice gliding across the bath….
This game has become an infrequent regular in our house, it started about 3 years ago when Glasgow based play company ‘Rattlin Boag’ did a brilliant and inspiring water workshop in the Hidden Gardens…..the child spent several wet hours watching and making water travel through tubes and everyday objects in new ways.
At home many months later when a cold winter day kept us flat bound cocooned in our secure close, double glazed, heated against the elements but bored and craving elemental excitement…..I got herbal on it……as I do……we had spent the previous afternoon in the Kelvingrove studying tempera pigments: ground minerals and other substances used to paint the glorious Italian art surrounding us……beautiful but it didnt hold us in its thrall like the piles of intense powders sparkling lapis lazuli, eggshell….we had gone home and exploited the tapestry of jars in the kitchen: wheatgrass, turmeric, paprika, mixed with olive oil and water. So the next day the logical follow on as water and bathtime called was to create a toddler chemistry set…..spirulina made deep emerald green, turmeric a rich gold and the red? a bath staining child tinting beetroot water ruby!
I added some old powdered milk for white, we gathered plastic jugs, straws (with the intention of blowing only…but hey nothing was poisonous ), added a bowl of ice cubes a tub of warm water for contrasting temperatures, herbal bubble bath….and floated the whole lot in a clear perspex tub…..ideal for watching the swimming plastic toy fish under the bubbles like a mediterranean tourist…..
It was great…textures, colour mixing, temperatures, pouring mixing , pretend cooking and potion creating….time passed very quickly…
Its a game thats never been forgotten, most birthdays sachets of powdered wheatgrass or spirulina make there way into the goody bags…for turning baths into skin friendly frog ponds……and every so often we remember and reconstruct it, the ideas expand and change every time, we’ve done a version with a drop or two of different essential oils in different containers and turned it into a perfume lab, we’ve experimented with dried herbs: marigold, rose petals and oatflakes……but the original version is one of the best.
it leads to great role play and story telling too, roles that wouldn’t normally leap out in children’s games….scientist, pharmacist, perfumier, marine biologist, as well as the more obvious painter and chef.
Now I’ve been asked by the child to think of new variant, now its getting cold and wet again and we’re indoors again more…..and I’m sure I’ll think of something soon…..but I was wondering….what would you use? Any good ideas would be very welcome