By Robin Shepard, Early Intervention Program Leader

During our recent Under the Sea theme week, the children in the Pudong early intervention program did some unique, hands-on experiments.  First, we used dish washing liquid and various non-toxic paints to print bubble designs on paper. These designs looked like coral in the ocean, but this technique can produce many strange and beautiful effects. The process is so much fun that we thought you might like to try it at home. It’s easy!


Printing with Bubbles


6 parts water

2 parts dishwashing liquid

2 parts non-toxic, water-based paint

* You may need to experiment and add more of one ingredient to get the right effect.


Mix all ingredients together in a shallow bowl or pan. Use a straw to blow into the mix and fill the bowl to overflowing with bubbles. Place a sheet of paper over the bowl so one side is covered with the bubbles and then remove the paper.  Try not to pop the bubbles on the page and allow to air dry. The effects can be very interesting.

NOTE: Even if your child cannot blow through the straw, they can still have lots of fun helping mix the ingredients and placing the paper.

Next, we made starfish and tropical fish ornaments out of salt dough.  Salt dough is simple to make, easy to handle, and can roll out like cookie dough. We used cookie cutters to make the various sea creatures. We then put them in the oven to bake and painted them with colorful acrylic paint.  Playing with dough is one of our favorite activities and we thought you might like to try it at home, too.



Salt Dough Ornaments


2 parts all-purpose flour

1 part salt

1 part water


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl using a large spoon. Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and start kneading. You can cover the surface and your hands with flour so the dough does not stick. The more you knead and play, the better the texture of the dough.

If desired, roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to make shapes.  If you would like to make ornaments for hanging, be sure to make a hole in the dough shape using a pencil or chopstick so that a string can pass through it after it bakes. Bake on a low heat (100°C) for about 1 hour.  When cool, use paint or markers to decorate.

NOTE: While this dough is harmless to eat, it is certainly not delicious.

We hope these suggestions will give you some ideas of ways to have fun with your children this summer.

Salt douugh shapes


Robin Shepard

Robin Shepard

Program Leader

Before joining The Essential Learning Group in 2013, Robin worked with children in a mainstream international school environment in Guangzhou. She spent over 4 years developing curricula that incorporated music, full body movement, and learning through play.