Lisa Boggess from MCC’s Francis Institute was featured on the July 29 edition of the KCTV5 show “Better Kansas City,” with tips on how to beat summer boredom with children. Boggess provided ideas on integrating children’s literature and sensory stimulation with slime and oobleck. All of these activities can be found on the Francis Institute’s Pinterest board.
For one project, read Dr. Seuss’ book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. In the book, a green substance falls from the sky and makes everything stick together. After reading the book, experiment with different Oobleck recipes to see which is most like the Oobleck in the book. Depending on where you look (check out this Oobleck pin on our Francis Institute Pinterest board for instructions and pictures), you can find at least three different ways to create a slime or an even cooler, non-Newtonian fluid that is a liquid when poured, but acts like a solid when being pressed on with a force.
About Oobleck Slime Recipes
One slime recipe pairs clear or white glue (school glue is fine) with Borax dissolved in water and the other one pairs glue with liquid starch. The glue almost immediately globs up when paired with the other recipe ingredients. Of course, for the Oobleck effect, add green coloring, such as liquid watercolor, food coloring, acrylic paint, or other paint.
The key to creating the best slime Oobleck is to find just the right balance of ingredients. You probably won’t need to follow a recipe to a T; in fact, it works great to put most (but not all) of the glue in a bowl and then add small amounts of the Borax mixture or liquid starch, stirring/working the substance in between each, until you are able to pick it up and work it in your hands. Continue adding and kneading until it is no longer too sticky to play with.
For the non-Newtonian Oobleck substance, just mix about 2 parts corn starch with 1 part water. For the best results, you will probably have to use hands to mix this! Just dive in and experience this cool substance! Adjust the corn starch or water amounts until the substance stays solid when you quickly tap or punch it, but allows your hand or finger to sink while lying on it. Another fun thing to do is dig out a chunk of Oobleck and quickly roll it or pat it into a ball (keep it moving in your hands), then stop moving and just hold the chunk. It should liquefy if it is mixed correctly.
All three of these are great to experiment with, because not only do you get a fun sensory experience and can see what happens to the substances when manipulated, but you can also see what happens when you increase one ingredient at a time (i.e. adding more glue creates a stickier slime, while adding more Borax or liquid starch creates a harder or more solid substance; adjusting corn starch and water amounts changes the state of the mixture).
For a second activity, create hatching dinosaur eggs out of only baking soda and water! Of course, add food coloring (black is nice) for a more “realistic” look. Just pour some baking soda in a bowl and add little amounts of water until it is moldable (if you’ve added too much water, it will be too runny and won’t form into the shape of an egg). Put one clump of wet baking soda in one hand, add your dinosaur to the middle, and then pick up another handful to cover the dinosaur. Pat into the shape of an egg and let it sit to dry. The outside will harden a little, to create kind of a shell. Place them outside for children to hunt and crack open, or help it hatch by squirting it with vinegar (baking soda and vinegar react together and foam up).
For all of these activities, help your children research the science behind all of the reactions. That could be as easy as looking it up online or going to your local library. This is a great life skill to learn!
Who doesn’t love to play with stringy, squishy slime? Here’s an even more visually amazing way to play with it! Using a super easy recipe of combining about equal parts of clear or white glue (like school glue) and liquid starch (found in the laundry aisle) with food coloring or paint, and glitter, you can make your own starry, swirly galaxy slime. Just put glue in multiple bowls, stir glitter and a different shade of purple, blue, or black color into each, and then add a slightly less amount of liquid starch than glue. Add the starch in small increments so you don’t get too much. Once it becomes thick enough to dig out of the bowl, pick it up each color of slime individually and knead it in your hands until it becomes less sticky (add little bits of starch if still too sticky).
Once you have each color of your galaxy created, hold the slime blobs side by side and stretch them together. The colors should form swirls, like looking at the galaxy. Go outside at night and compare it to the night sky (away from city lights). For an even more exciting experience, use glow-in-the-dark paint for some of your colors!
This is a great sensory experience, not only for touch, but also for visual and auditory stimulation. The slime may make little popping noises as air bubbles are formed and popped while kneading. Add a flavor extract or drop of essential oil to stimulate the sense of smell.
Just like in our Oobleck experiment, this is also a great experiment for predicting what will happen when the ingredients are combined, experimenting with different amounts of ingredients and with manipulation of the slime, observing, concluding, and describing what happened. Afterwards research the science behind what happened.
For a great way to increase children’s language and learning, pair this with a book about space, planets, stars, or the galaxy!
Another fun slime to make using the same basic recipe as galaxy slime is alphabet (I Spy) or polka dot slime. For this one, make sure to use clear school glue and don’t add any color to it. Glitter is optional. Instead, add plastic alphabet letters or jewels for alphabet (I Spy) slime or add pom poms for polka dot slime. This will create a different texture in the slime and you can also make up games to play while searching for the letters or objects in the slime. For a slightly different experience, use a Borax and glue recipe instead of a liquid starch and glue one. Or, make both and compare!!
Need a creative way to store slime, create a party favor, or send a friend home with the day’s project? Create glitter slime monsters! (Or other creatures/objects) This is as easy as collecting little containers or jars, like baby food jars, and decorating them. Look for little doo-dads or knick-knacks around the house to make hats, bow ties, and hair. Use pipe cleaners for arms or bows. Stick on some fun wiggly eyes, and you have instant containers to fill with your favorite homemade slime (glitter slime is pretty cool to use).
To make glitter slime, just add glitter to any basic slime recipe, like equal parts of school glue and liquid starch. Of course, add food coloring or paint to color your slime.