I recently heard a presentation by Bev Bos (a renowned play-based preschool founder and expert on preschool learning). One thing that particularly struck a chord was her comment that, "children have to use too much!" If he pours his own cereal, squirts his paint, pumps his soap, dumps his ketchup, etc., my son wants what in my eyes is "too much!" Building a hair gel aquarium was a reminder that sometimes "too much!" is just what my 3-year-old has in mind. To build this fun tactile aquarium, you need a sturdy Ziploc bag, hair gel, sea creatures and some food coloring (optional). I picked up the sea creatures at our local party store. The hair gel had been sitting in my medicine cabinet for years and I was happy to repurpose.
My son was drawn to the sea creatures. He unwrapped each one and lined them up on the table. Jabbering away about, "Grandma has a seahorse on her shirt. The crab going to pinch you. Owee, ow. This fish is pink. The fish are at the a-care-ium. . . ." These particular creatures were stretchy, which was also a hit.
Next, we put food coloring into the plastic bag. Given free reign over the dropper bottle, he happily squirts in "too much." He also enjoyed squeezing the hair gel bottle. While emptying the bottle, I try not to say "too much!"
Now I tell him to pick some animals to put in the aquarium. He selects all the animals. I think "ahh, too much!"