Make Blue Bread with Butterfly Pea Flowers

Not that my kids need any convincing to eat bread, but here is a fun spin on a yeast bread that only requires one extra step to get a gorgeous purple-blue hue without a flavor change!

Why make blue bread, you ask? I don’t know, why not? It’s pretty, it makes you go wow, and its a fun special activity to do with your kids.

All you have to do is replace the water in your recipe with strongly brewed butterfly pea flower tea. Butterfly pea flowers contain a large amount of the amazing class of molecules called anthocyanins. They normally appear as a gorgeous, deep purple-blue color in nature, commonly seen in blueberries, but anthocyanins are also responsible for the deep pinks found in fruits like pomegranates and cranberries.

Butterfly pea flowers are still pretty new to western supermarkets, so I buy mine from Amazon here.

To make this bread, I added 1/2 cup of loose butterfly pea flowers to 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan, brought them to a boil over medium high heat, removed from heat, and let the flowers steep for about 10 mins. The resulting tea should be a very dark, dark blue. I waited for the tea to cool to about 105F, added the recipe’s sugar, then proofed the yeast straight in the tea. Afterwards, I just followed the normal recipe.

Butterfly pea flower tea doesn’t really taste like anything, maybe slightly reminiscent of normal green peas but not off-putting when you drink it by itself (kind of boring to me though). In the bread, the taste was undetectable. If you’re familiar with anthocyanins, you might be wondering if this bread changes color, as anthocyanins will change to pink when in acidic conditions. It does, but I couldn’t get it to change under normal palatable bread conditions. If we doused it with lemon, it changed to a bright pink after a few minutes, but then we had soggy lemon bread. Not too great, but still pretty. I want to try using cultured butter one day, as that is slightly acidic. Let me know if you ever try this yourself!

When you find yourself with lots of leftover flowers after you make this loaf, try some of these other activities with your kids that utilize butterfly pea flower tea! It undergoes a color change at different pH values, which opens the door to some amazing projects! (Some of these project say to use red cabbage juice, but that and butterfly pea flower are interchangeable for color changing activities).

Magic Snowflakes for Frozen 2!

We made these magic snowflakes to get ready for Frozen 2 this week and my daughter couldn’t get enough of them! They utilize differing solubilities of markers to make it look like color is coming out of nowhere!

Materials

  • Coffee filters
  • Black indelible marker
  • Washable markers (any color)
  • Eye dropper
  • Water

Method

  1. Draw the snowflake with the black indelible marker.
  1. Color over it with the washable color markers, being careful to stay only on the black lines.
  1. Give it to your kids and have them drop water on to the snowflake to see the colors evolve and dance about!

Discussion

The black marker is not soluble in water so it does not run when you drop the water on it. The washable markers are colored by molecules that are soluble water, however, so they are lifted from the coffee filter and carried around the plate. It is a beautiful, surprising effect and one that can be modified for many other themes besides Frozen!

Playdough Symmetry Activity

This simple activity has become an after school staple for us ever since I saw it on @themakermum on Instagram. It’s a nice mental exercise that also includes a level of focus that is calming and almost meditative for my daughter after a crazy day at school. All you do is shape half an image made out of playdough, then have your child finish the other half. Sometimes before I pick up my daughter from school, I’ll set this up and lay a damp paper towel over the top so it doesn’t dry out before she gets to it.

The possibilities are really limitless and you can make whatever image your child is interested in, or stick with seasonal ones, like for Christmas or Halloween.

Taste-Safe Sensory Foam

Sensory play has been a boon to me with a three year age difference between my kids. It’s something they can both have fun with and play in their own way, but they are playing together in the same space, which makes my life immensely easier. I also love for them to experience different sensations, especially my youngest. We play with slimy, messy, gritty, powdery, crunchy, you name it, and I’m always looking for more things to introduce them to and to hold their interest.

I was just about to empty out the liquid in a can of chickpeas (called aquafaba), and I thought about this vegan meringue recipe I wanted to make for my aunt last time she was over, but then it hit me. We could use the chickpea foam for a sensory base! So here is the recipe, which has taken the sensory world by storm!

  • Liquid from a can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Whip it at high speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks.

That’s it! It couldn’t be easier and I love that it uses something you would normally throw away. I’ve seen some beautiful, messy play with this after I shared it on Instagram, and I’m so excited to share it with you all here! Let me know how it goes!

Notes:

  • If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can try a splash of vinegar or lemon. I haven’t tried the foam without it, but it serves to form and stabilize the foam through its acidity.
    A blender will not get the thick, stable foam like a hand or stand mixer, but if it’s the only thing you have, give it a shot!

DIY Patterned Playdough Roller

It really can’t get easier than this. It’s just hot glue on a toilet paper roll. Yeeeeep. Use your fingers to support the roll as you imprint it into playdough, or stick it around a rolling pin if it fits! We’ve made so many variations of this so far, including these mermaid scales and a honeycomb print!

Original idea from @playtime.messy.madness on Instagram!

Bubble Writing with Happi Crafts’ Resin Sprinkle Letters

Practice letter writing with bubbles and sprinkles! This fun activity not only works out little hands by engaging their fine-motor skills, but it also helps with coordination AND encourages ingenuity as use they everyday items in new and interesting ways. This project was inspired by the amazing blog Teach Beside Me and utilizes the wildly popular resin sprinkle letters from Happi Crafts that range from $7 to $80 with lots of design options!

Recommended age is 4+ because it requires a good amount of coordination to pinch and release the balloon to write properly.

Materials

  • Large bowl, plastic bin, or casserole dish
  • Dish Soap
  • Water
  • Balloon
  • Pen or marker with no ink left
  • Duct tape
  • Waterproof letter prompts (can also use any type of letter prompt here, just lay them next to the bowl instead of submerging them if they’re not waterproof.)

Method

  1. Remove the ink chamber in the pen or marker till just the casing is left. Wash all the residual ink away, if any. Leave the casing open at both ends.
  2. Secure the balloon onto the non-writing end of the casing with duct tape.
  3. Add a squirt of dish soap to the bowl and fill with water so bubble form.
  4. If you’re using waterproof letter prompts, put them in the water.
  5. Scoop away excess bubbles if you have too many, then blow up the balloon through the casing.
  6. Instruct or show your child how to pinch and release the opening of the balloon to control the flow of air.
  7. Have them fetch a letter from the bowl, submerge just the tip of the casing, and release some air while drawing the letter!

Discussion

Though this is a very fun activity because every kid would love bubble writing, it also sneaks in a lot of different types of learning. Not only does it support letter forming and recognition, but it also engages fine motor muscles and encourages coordination skills. Since blowing up the balloon is easier with the casing mouthpiece than without, it encourages independence and confidence. Setting up these types of unique activities encourage creative thinking, ingenuity, and resourcefulness.

IKEA Flisat Table to Light Table Hack

This is so simple that I hesitated posting it because, well, you’ll see! But this is by far the easiest way you’ll find to make your Flisat table (or any two plastic bins!) into a light table!


Ok get ready for it. Take a bin and put some fairy lights in there:

Put the other bin on top of it:

You’re all set! Have fun with your new light table! It works like a charm!