5 Messy Ways to Play Brain Surgeon


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I picked up a fun gelatin mold the other day.  It’s a brain.  I mainly got it because I’m Left Brain Craft Brain, you know, and thought it would be fun for Halloween.  Then I realized how much fun this could be for The Babe.  So every other day we pull the brain out along with some new supplies!  Ice, baking soda, play dough…  You can use them for Halloween or Mad Scientist parties.  Or you can use them to actually learn a bit about the parts of the brain.  Either way, get ready fore a lot of messy fun!

5 Messy Ways to Play Brain Surgeon Left Brain Craft Brain

Slime Play Brain Surgery

First up is slime play with the brain mold.  Because I don’t know about you, but I always have assumed a brain is pretty dang slimy.  The Babe used the leftover slime from our Sunset Slime project (recipe included).  The amazing thing was that after a few weeks, the colors had faded to a perfect shade of brain.  slime brain surgeon play left brain craft brain

What you need:

slime brain surgery sensory play left brain craft brain 2

Ice Play Brain Surgery

This one may have been the grossest of all the brains.  It was just ice play with a bit of salt and colored water.  But once that red water hit the bin, ewww…  Perfect for Halloween!!ice play brain surgery left brain craft brain

What you need:

  • brain mold{affiliate}
  • bin to contain the mess
  • water
  • salt
  • food coloring
  • syringes
  • small containers for colored water
  1. Pour water in mold and freeze for 3-4 hours or until solid.
  2. Put out bowls of salt and colored water with syringes to play with and to help the ice melt faster.

Parts of the Brain and their Function

This is a great opportunity to teach older kids about the parts of the brain and what they do.  Lay out six different colors of play dough and talk them through the different areas of the brain.Human brain parts highlighted  with clipping path

The brain is made up of distinct areas where various functions are processed and controlled.

  • Cerebrum:  Includes four parts called lobes.
    • Frontal lobe:  Manages decision-making, problem solving, control of purposeful behaviors, consciousness and emotions.
    • Parietal lobe:  Receives and processes sensory information from the body.  Manages comprehension and the process of letters becoming words and words becoming thoughts.
    • Temporal lobe: Manages visual and auditory memories, language and some hearing and behavioral aspects.
    • Occipital lobe:  Controls vision processes.
  • Cerebellum:  Controls basic body functions such as balance, posture and coordination.  Also called the “Little Brain” because it is believed to be the precursor to the human brain as it exists today.
  • Brain stem:  Controls essential life functions such as breathing, blood pressure and heart beat.

Also, I figured this is the best time to chat about that whole Left Brain Right Brain thing…  The brain is separated into two hemispheres, the right and the left.  Historically, scientists have believed that logical thought is controlled by the left side and creative thought on the right side.  But more recent research has shown that many processes tend to use both sides of the brain.  For example, mathematical thought was believed to be controlled solely by the left hemisphere.  But in reality only fact retrieval and exact calculations are managed on the left.  Numerical estimation and other math deductive processes appear to require both sides of the brain.  Hmm…  maybe I need to rethink the name of my blog ;)

Play Dough Brain Surgery

What you need:

  1. Press play dough into the inside of the brain mold.  If learning about the regions of the brain, follow my diagram above.  (Do not follow my example in the picture on the left.  Getting the colors in the right places was a curiously difficult, spatial awareness exercise that The Babe and I did not get right the first time!
  2. Carefully pull away the play dough from the inside of the brain.  Then place on the upside down brain for support.  I used a balled up dish towel to support the dough while I was moving it.

Play Dough Brain Surgery Left Brain Craft Brain

Vinegar and Baking Soda Brain Surgery

This is your standard science activity of baking soda and vinegar with a brainy twist.

What you need:

  • brain mold{affiliate}
  • bin to contain the mess
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  1. Fill brain with vinegar and freeze until solid 3-4 hours.
  2. Fill bin with several cups of baking soda.  We used about 3-4 cups of baking soda to make it extra bubbly.
  3. Place frozen brain in a bin of  baking soda.  It may take a bit for the reaction to start, but once it does, there’s tons of foamy fun.  Be sure the brain is frozen completely or this activity will go really quickly as the vinegar empties into the baking soda and starts the reaction right away (can you guess that this may have happened to us?).

Vinegar and Baking Soda Brain Surgery Left Brain Craft Brain

And yes, my daughter does have a jaguar costume on with her safety glasses.  She loves dress-up!  Plus didn’t I tell you this is perfect for Halloween parties ;)

Gelatin Brain Surgery

After all this play, we decided we were hungry :)  So we played zombies and ate some Jell-O brain.  And then played with the leftovers.

jello brain surgery left brain craft brain

What you need:

  • brain mold{affiliate}
  • bin to contain the mess
  • 1 6 oz box Jell-O
  • gummy worms
  • spoons
  1. Make Jell-O according to package instructions and pour into mold.  Refrigerate until set.
  2. Once the Jell-O has set, dip outside of mold into a bowl of hot water to help loosen the brain.  After the brain has loosened around the sides (approximately 30 seconds), place plate on top of mold and invert to remove the brain.  If it doesn’t come out, repeat the hot water dip and invert again.
  3. Insert gummy worms into the brain or arrange around it on the plate.
  4. To play with leftovers, pour brain into a bin.  Have towels ready because this is a sticky one!!

Whew!  Long post today, but this was literally the play that just kept on going.  If you have more ideas on ways to use one of these brain molds {affiliate}, let me know in the comments!

5 Messy Ways to Play Brain Surgeon Left Brain Craft Brain FB


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