By

Safari Ltd sent us a TOOB free of charge at my request.  My review of their products is not swayed by this as I already loved them!

One of the most classic subjects for a small world is the ocean.  Full of amazing, interesting, and often cute creatures - oceans are full of wonder for toddlers and preschoolers.  An ocean is a great setting for some small world imaginative play!  When I think of oceans, I think of sand, shells, and beautiful blue water.  Rather than just fill a tub with blue water, though, I wanted to come up with something a little more creative.  To stay true to my goal with my Simple Small Worlds series, I wanted to keep prep and materials to a minimum.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

We had SO much fun with our fizzing treasure rocks during our Find the Leprechaun's Gold Hunt - it gave me the idea to make some baking soda dough and shape it like shells around several of the Ocean TOOB creatures.  

I promise that this is SUPER easy.  Really.  In fact, I did it in less than five minutes as I was needing to pick S up from preschool!  You will need to make the dough/baking soda shells a day in advance, though, to give them time to dry and harden.  That's the only hard part!

To make baking soda dough, you just need baking soda and water.  I used two boxes of baking soda to make six shells.


Once you've emptied the baking soda into the bowl, add just enough water that the dough is crumbly.  Err on the side of too little water.  Here I could have actually done a little less - so think of the below picture as showing you the maximum amount of water to add.  :)


After that, I took six of the Ocean TOOB figures and using a shell as a reference point, made the general shape of a shell by hand (this took about 15 seconds per "shell") and then placed the shells on a sheet of wax paper.  After making the shape, I used the back of a real shell to make some grooves like the shells I was planning to use in the small world.  Like I said, the whole thing took less than five minutes - I happened to be watching a clock.  I hope a lot of you will give these a try because they are just so much fun.


One of my favorite things about the Safari Ltd TOOBS is that they have natural groupings that lend themselves to both cohesive small world play and to learning about different groups of animals.  I knew that the Ocean TOOB would include a sea lion, eagle ray, starfish, two turtles, penguin, octopus, moray eel, humpback whale, sperm whale, hammerhead shark, tiger shark, and a dolphin - so I headed to the library last weekend and picked up a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books on those animals.  When she saw the small world, S was able to identify a few of the animals because of the reading we'd done, which was pretty cool!


 So for the set-up, I set out our splat mat and filled our plastic storage bin with the now dry baking soda shells, several different shells,the glass gems I used in Frog World (we found ours at the Dollar Store), and the remaining Ocean TOOB animals.


S was already so excited that she sat down to play for a few minutes before she realized - "wait, Mama, where's the water?  Shouldn't there be water in the ocean?"


To get the "ocean" started, I provided her with four squeeze bottles full of blue vinegar.  I used four drops of blue food coloring per bottle, though you could absolutely use liquid watercolors.  In fact, I would have used Colorations Liquid Watercolors, only our blue (from the tropical series) is really more of a green-blue, and I had my heart set on a bright blue ocean.  :)  


I instructed her to use the squirt bottles on the white shells to see what happened.  She gleefully went to work dissolving the first shell...which revealed a turtle!



After removing each animal, she loved squirting more vinegar to watch them fizz and "to clean them off".  


Moving on to the next shell!


"A cute little penguin, Mama!"


This one had the best reveal!  The octopus' eyes peeking out as its shell dissolved were cracking me up.


"Ooh!  Mama!  A ray!"  Once S was finished finding all the hidden creatures, I added several containers of water from our sink to make the "ocean" a bit deeper.


After all the shells were dissolved, the baking soda doubled as "white sand" at the bottom of her ocean world.  She smoothed out the "sand" and kept commenting on how soft it was.  I couldn't resist playing in it myself, and she was right!  The baking soda is silky smooth at the bottom.  We could even write and make designs in it, which was fun.


S found out that adding some of the residual vinegar in the squeeze bottles would still make little foamy eruptions, so she used every last drop of the blue vinegar.  :)


Here S was helping the whale swim over to his friends on the other side of the ocean. 


We had so much fun with this world!  S played with it for almost 3 hours and declared it "the best project you've ever thought of, Mama!"


You can also read about our other Simple Small Worlds:

Safari Ltd TOOB Giveaway is now closed.

Click the photo below to buy it on Amazon or click here to read more about our book!

Follow along with Fun at Home with Kids on FacebookGoogle+Pinterest or Subscribe by Email or Bloglovin'!

All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.




Comments

  1. Well I want to play in the ocean now! Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook! Thanks for so many awesome ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue! Hahahaha! Each separate comment is counted as an entry, so be sure to leave the "Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook" as a separate entry!

      Delete
  2. I always look forward to your posts--such great ideas---my little guy loves to play with water and I think this would be awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christianna! I agree with your little guy - playing with water is always fun! :)

      Delete
  3. I'm also following you on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now following Safari Ltd on Facebook...and there goes 15 minutes...so much stuff on there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? I love all their stuff!!!

      Delete
  5. "Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook"

    brhoff06@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Now Following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook"

    BRHOFF06@HOTMAIL.COM

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want to enter the giveaway!

    brhoff06@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. My 4 year old and I love this idea. We read the post together, and she wants to do it RIGHT NOW!! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) It's got S's seal of approval, so I think you can't go wrong.

      Delete
  9. Totally following Fun at home with kids on FB!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whoop whoop! Following safari ltd on FB!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Soooo many awesome dinos on there.... :)

      Delete
  11. We LOVE the toob animals and already have a bunch...but not the ocean animals! I loved your idea and will for sure be replicating it for my kids :

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TOOB animals are so addictive, right? Glad you liked the idea and hope it's as big of a hit at your house as it was here! :)

      Delete
  12. And now I am following you on FB

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks like a blast! I so want to win this!

    ReplyDelete
  14. also like fun at home with kids on facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  15. ALSO like Safari Ltd on facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love this idea!!! Andy loves playing with baking soda and vinegar, and I'd never thought of shaping baking soda to hide objects! Brilliant!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just can't beat baking soda and vinegar, right? We have a whole drawer in our kitchen dedicated to storing boxes of baking soda and jugs of vinegar, hahahaha. I bet he'll love it! It's a super fun twist on the classic. :)

      Delete
    2. Looks like so much fun my kids would LOVE this project. Always looking for something fun to do with my kids. But, how long does the vinegar Smell stay on your child?

      Delete
    3. I didn't notice a lingering smell at all! Especially since it was diluted with water ultimately, there wasn't much of a scent even during play. Hope that helps! :)

      Delete
  17. I also like Safari Ltd. (and Fun at Home With Kids) on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Following Safari Ltd. and Fun at home with kids on facebook. I like the ocean world. My little sister lives sea creatures!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am following Fun at Home With Kids and Safari Ltd. kn Facebook. I like the ocean world a loy. My little sister loves ocean creatures.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I actually have almost everything to do this already! Just missing the TOOB Ocean animals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I am trying to use common things and/or repeat elements in the Simple Small worlds so hopefully that happens more and more often. :) And I think the girls will love the ocean world - it's SO fun!!!

      Delete
  21. I follow Safari Ltd on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love the shell idea but I don't think I could get past the smell of the vinegar. Is there such a thing as an odorless vinegar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha - I know what you mean! S didn't mind at all, and it did get MUCH better once I diluted with all the water, for what it's worth.

      Delete
  23. I have been following you on Facebook and talking about you to friends. I think I've gotten you a couple of followers :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Thank you! I love getting more fans/followers!!!!! :) :) :)

      Delete
  24. Hi,
    I actually have two different questions for you. How can I email you? I am soo excited about your blog...just redid my basement and am in the process of purchasing things for the climbing wall/the haba ship and the rings for my four kids ages 4 and under! YAY sooo exciting thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi adh384! OHMYGOSH - that's SOOOOO COOL! Your kids (and their friends!) will be in heaven. :)

      You can email me at funathomewithkids@gmail.com or you can message me via our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FunAtHomeWithKids).

      And this comment also enters you in the contest! :)

      Delete
  25. I am following Fun at Home With Kids and Safari Ltd. on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  26. sorry also like Safari on facebook!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love love love reading your blog! Always inspirational!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thank you so much, Crystal!!!!! :)

      Delete
  28. Now following Safari Ltd on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Already following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've been following you and loving your ideas for a while

    ReplyDelete
  31. We did this today and my kids ended up IN the water they wanted to squish the 'sand' with their toes!!! It was really fun! Thx for the idea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so cute! The sand *is* really soft, so I can't say that I blame them!!! :)

      Delete
  32. This is a *great* idea! Definitely going to try this. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maureen! Thank you and awesome! I hope it will be a big hit!

      Delete
  33. And... I follow you on FB! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I "like" Fun at Home with Kids on Facebook :D

    ReplyDelete
  35. AWESOME! I can't wait to try this at home with my kiddos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I hope they have a blast, too!

      Delete
  36. I "like" Safari Ltd. on Facebook :D

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is so cool! I love using baking soda and vinegar and never thought to make things with the baking soda! Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so much fun! They hold up so well - the reveal is nice and slow and dramatic! :) We've had lots of fun with the idea!!!!

      Delete
  38. I am following Fun at Home with Kids on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I also like Safari on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  40. We love Safari Toobs and I was just about to order another set to fill up our plastic easter eggs (they usually fit perfectly by the way). I am anxious to try this with my daughter. I need a waterproof mat like yours.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Valerie! We do that with Easter eggs, too! Miniatures last so much longer than candy. :) We just do 2 yards of oilcloth (as opposed to a finished splat mat). Works fabulously! Before that we did a waterproof disposable tablecloth, but that wore through more quickly. The oilcloth is SUPER strong and hardy. :)

      Delete
  41. I am already a fan of Fun At Home With Kids on facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  42. and I'm now a fan of Safari, LTD on facebook as well. my address is vkutansky at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. I liked fun at home with kids on Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  44. Now Following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  45. We would love to have our own ocean at home! Thanks for the opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Now Following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook! Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi! Just found your site through Pinterest, I love all of your ideas, and especially your focus on keeping the set up as streamlined as possible! Anyways, I would love a toob, and am now off to follow you on FB and Pinterest! My email is tparose@yahoo.com.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne! I'm so glad you found me (love that Pinterest!!!), and thank you so much for the kind words! You are entered in the contest and be sure to leave two additional comments: one for following me on FB and one more for following Safari Ltd (if you choose to do so)

      Delete
  49. Now following you on FB!
    Tparose@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Aaaand now following Safari LTD on fb!
    Tparose@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I just found your blog and I am in love!! I plan on following you obsessively from now on. I have a very active and curious three-year-old boy who also happens to be on the spectrum - so far the ideas I have read here sound so perfect for engaging and expanding his creativity. I am really so excited to learn more. And of course I wanted to enter the giveaway. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jessica! I'm so glad you found the blog! Oh, I bet he will love some of these activities. :) Sensory play is awesome like that. And consider yourself entered in the giveaway! :)

      Delete
  52. Now Following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook - yay!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Great idea! So fun and educational!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook (Jaymee Houser, Google account Maggie--Mae)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Now Following Fun at home with kids on Facebook (Jaymee Houser, Google account Maggie--Mae)

    ReplyDelete
  57. We love TOOBS! Thanks for the great ideas in this post! Tupperfrannie@Gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TOOBS are awesome! You're welcome! :)

      Delete
  58. Following safari
    Italiancookies@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  59. Following u on FB
    Italiancookies@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  60. Id.love to enter
    Italiancookies@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  61. Starting these for my 3 water babies, the baking soda hidden treasures are fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yay! I hope that they love them as much as we do! :)

      Delete
  62. following fun at home with kids on fb

    ReplyDelete
  63. following safari ltd on fb

    ReplyDelete
  64. This is a really cool site :) Thanks for the giveaway

    Davis

    est 4679 (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  65. I already follow Safari on FB

    Davis

    est 4679 (at) gmail (dot ) com

    ReplyDelete
  66. I found this idea via Pinterest and LOVE it! I can't wait to try it out with my little one. I'm also way excited to have discovered it in time to enter the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diedre! Pinterest is rocking my world. :) So glad you found my blog and awesome that you made it in time for the giveaway - we're down to the final 13 hours now! :)

      Delete
  67. Now Following Fun At Home With Kids on Facebook. So excited to get to see all the other fun things you do!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Now Following Safari Ltd on Facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I love this activity so much! I actually went out and bought some Safari animals and planes based on your recommendation. It's what I put in my son's Easter eggs. We also now call them our "guys". My little boy is so obsessed with them. He's been playing with them every day and even takes a few to bed with him at night. This set is next on my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so awesome, Sam! S got the Pets TOOB in her Easter eggs. :) Glad we've got a new little one hooked on "guys". S also used to sleep with them when she was his age! Ah, memories...

      Delete
  70. Hi Asia - I was inspired by this post to do our own version. Thank you! http://craftulate.blogspot.com/2013/08/magic-dissolving-abc-rocks.html

    ReplyDelete
  71. I am so excited to try this for my daughters ocean party on Monday. Can you or anyone else tell me how hard the baking soda dough gets and how long it takes to dry? I need to start these tonight. Thank you for any help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen! YES, start them ASAP. They ideally need about 24 hours to dry, but get them as close as you can. If you make them right now and they sit out overnight they should be pretty hardy. They'll be more hardy after a full 24, but just move them gently tomorrow for the party and it shouldn't be a problem. Good luck and happy birthday to your daughter!

      Delete

Well, hello there!



Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

Follow by Email


Powered by Blogger.

Translate