Jello Cell – Biology Activity for Kids

I was homeschooled growing up and my mother found creative ideas to teach us different concepts – this is even more impressive in pre-pinterest and blogging age, before the internet! I remember her doing this activity with me using beans and pasta, and although I was around 8 or 9, I remember it vividly.

Understandably, this activity was a little advanced for my three-year old, but she still had a lot of fun making it with me! She loved sounding out the funny words and putting in the different pieces. If I was to make it again, I’d use a different supplies so it would be completely edible and we’d eat it afterwords – I’m sure that would be a hit with a little kid! πŸ™‚

To make your own cell, you’ll need a small casserole dish and some jello. I used orange jello as I felt this color was appropriate for what I was doing.

I used one package to fill up the dish halfway as I didn’t want my cell parts to sink to the bottom when “installed” – I allowed it to solidify before starting my second part. During this time, I hard-boiled an egg and cut it in half to make my nucleolus and nucleus.

I put my egg in the center and filled around it with the second package of jello.

Now for the fun part! πŸ˜€

Coming up with what to use for each cell part was a challenge but also fun. I used things I already had in my cupboard, but if I had had more time to prepare, I may have used different things.

Here are a list of what I used for my cell:

  • Cell Membrane – Casserole Dish (duh!)
  • Vacuole – Water Bead
  • Centrosome – Corn Pop Cereal
  • Golgi Body – Onion
  • Ribosomes – Sesame Seeds
  • Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum – Spaghetti
  • Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum – Spaghetti w/Quinoa
  • Mitochondrion – Pinto Bean
  • Lysosome – Lentil
  • Nucleolus/Nucleus/Nuclear Membrane – Hard-boiled Egg
  • Cytoplasm – Jello

I allowed the second layer to semi-solidify and then popped different cell parts into the “cell” – I then allowed it to completely harden overnight in the fridge. Downside is that my egg nucleus dried out a little…

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Next step is I labeled all my cell parts. Here is a *.pdf  of the little tags for you to use on your cell. I laminated them and then attached toothpicks to make them stand up in the cytoplasm… πŸ˜›

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Now the fun part. My preschooler liked repeating the funny sounding names to me. When she is older maybe we’ll talk about what each part of the cell does. But for now, she was impressed by our jello creation as a work of art, with funny sounding words.

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I would love to see what you come up with – comment with a picture or description and how it went over with your kid(s)! πŸ™‚

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