Slippery Fish Taste-Safe Sensory Play

Hey friends! We’re back again with another fun ocean-themed sensory play idea. This one only takes three ingredients and is safe for little ones to taste (although it doesn’t taste that great so doesn’t encourage further nibbling), so those of you with younger tots can try this one out.

Slippery Fish Taste-Safe Sensory Play

Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Play

Have you heard the song “Slippery Fish?” The twins came home from school one day singing it weeks ago and we’ve basically been humming it ever since…it’s one of those tunes you just can’t get out of your head (even if you desperately want to). It is super cute though, and seeing as it did inspire this entire activity, here’s a link with lyrics and a video so you can hear it for yourself: Slippery Fish Song. I’ll be adding this to my repertoire of songs to inflict upon the children of my students next year as well 😉

Slippery Fish Edible Sensory Play

Anyway, back to the topic at hand- slippery fish sensory play. I decided we needed some slippery fish to go with our song, so I whipped up a batch before bed last night and presented them to the twins this morning in a plastic bin with a couple inches of water.

Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Play

 The fish were indeed delightfully slippery and inspired all sorts of squishing and a fair bit of poking,

Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Playlots of dumping, filling, and pouring, 
Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Play

and even a few instances of tasting (although they don’t really taste like much, so the tasting wasn’t that exciting).

Slippery fish sensory play

Slippery Fish Recipe

Wanna make some? Here’s what you need (Amazon affiliate links included- click on highlighted items to see products):

  • 2 cups cool water
  • 3 envelopes Knox Gelatine  (available at grocery stores)
  • Food coloring (you could also use liquid watercolors if your children don’t taste, or substitute fruit juice for totally natural and taste-safe coloring, although that might make your kids want to chow down- it’s up to you!)
  • Rubber fish mold and Starfish mold (I linked to the exact ones I used, but you can use any flexible mold that you desire- there are some really cute ones out there!)
  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil

To make the slippery fish, first coat your molds in cooking spray or vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Then place your water in a small saucepan and sprinkle your gelatin on top. Wait a couple of minutes and then heat your gelatin over medium-high heat, stirring until it’s dissolved.  Color your gelatin with your coloring of choice, spoon into your molds, and pop into the fridge for a few hours until set. You may have to run the outside of your mold under warm water or use the end of a butter knife to pop them out, and then you are good to go!

Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Play

The kids had a great time acting out the words to “Slippery Fish” with these little gelatin guys,  and are already begging me to make some more. Filing this one away for the classroom!

Developmental Skills

This activity is a super fun form of sensory play, which you can read more about in this article: Sensory Play: Is This Really Necessary? Themed sensory play activities are fantastic for young children because they are so engaging and are full of opportunities for imaginative play. I love seeing my kiddos incorporate new things that they’ve learned (such as knowledge of ocean animals and their habitats) into our play setups.  You can see our entire sensory play gallery by clicking HERE– we’ve got tons of fun stuff to try!

More Ocean Fun:

Soapy Sea Foam Sensory Play

Slippery Fish Taste-safe  Sensory Play


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  1. After years of teaching k and pre-k, I know ALL the words to Charlotte Diamond’s “Octopus/Slippery Fish” song (in English and Spanish). My kiddos will love trying this sensory play as we sing along!!!!

  2. michelle says:

    How many did u get from this recipe

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Michelle! I filled both my molds (around 12 little shapes in each mold) and had TONS left over- I poured the rest into ice cube trays and made gelatin cubes with them. Just depends on the size of your molds how many you get, but you could fill the molds I linked to in the post at least twice with the amount that this recipe makes!

  3. Katharine says:

    Thank you for a fun activity. My son had a great time, but the fish dissolved after only a few minutes in the water. Any suggestions to help them last longer?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hmmm. Was your water warm? That’s the only thing I can think of- keeping your water at a cooler temperature would prolong the life of the gelatin shapes. Ours didn’t ever dissolve!

  4. Question: Is there a way to make these vegetarian friendly? Gelatin is made from animal products and was wondering if you knew of a veg friendly alternative to the gelatin in this recipe?

  5. Because of this post I have introduced slippery fish to my classroom and my kids love it! However I made these gelatin slippery fish and they disolved in the water the minute I put them in :-(

  6. This is the same recipe I use to make my sons “jello” but I use juice. I may give him some to play with in water to see what he does :)


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