Thursday, 1 May 2014

Trying my hand at Xanthan gum

So I bought some Xanthan gum before the holidays.  Its like cornflour but ridiculously more potent, in fact one teaspoon seems the same as a cup of cornflour!

So my idea was to make some frozen chalks.  You usually make them with equal parts cornflour to water, mix furiously, add colour and glitter as well as flavouring and then freeze.
Well with the Xanthan gum I had to try and work out the measurements.

How to make (before you follow this recipe, keep reading..):

4 teaspoons Xanthan gum
4 US cups of water.
2 teaspoons of red food colouring.
1 Sachet of Kool Aid lemonade (really improved the smell!)
Vial of glitter (does glitter come in Vials?)

We poured this into the fancy minibeasts moulds which I bought from asda and froze overnight.

Today I set up a simple minibeast small world in the black tray.  Upon opening the freezer I discovered that the Xanthan gum hadn't worked the way I had hoped it would.  When we were mixing we noticed that it had so many lumps in!  No matter how hard we mixed they would not come out. I had hoped that freezing might break them up a bit - it did not.

But I put them out.  It wasn't long before they were playing happily with the frozen mini beasts.

Some of the children even got some tools and were having a good old play.
- It may seem strange on the photos to have diggers and dinosaurs in amongst minibeasts but this is part of our continuous small world/creative provision so in a way its nice to see the children using them so creatively!

As the ice started to melt I noticed something interesting about the Xanthan paste we had created - it was super gooey.

Once it had all melted entirely we played with it amongst some white stones (Which are now soaking in Nursery overnight and are doomed to be gummy forever it seems!).

You know I think I've discovered some kind of slime!  (Borax free too!)

On reflection this activity did not go as I had planned, but thats not such a bad thing.  The children really enjoyed playing with the paste and I've learned something new too.  
We as practitioners get too hung up on following plans and ideas through but forget the best ideas come when you throw a dozen things into a pot and play with whatever it makes!