How to Make Oobleck for Kids
You may have come across YouTube videos or clips on science channels where people make a small pool of what seems like a thick creamy liquid, but everybody can jump on it and not sink! That is what is popularly called an oobleck, a fluid with some extraordinary properties that make it excellent for sensory play and science projects. This article tells you all you need to know about this fascinating substance, how to make it, and the dos and don’ts of handling it.
What Is An Oobleck and How It Helps Kids?
Oobleck is the name for a type of play dough-like slime made using water and corn starch. Its name comes from the Dr. Seuss story – Bartholomew and Oobleck. In the story, oobleck is a green gooey substance that falls from the sky and wreaks havoc in the kingdom.
In reality, it has some remarkable properties – if you punch it, it behaves like a solid, but slowly dip your hand in it, and it lets you pass as a liquid. This confusing behavior makes it an excellent item for sensory play. Its benefits for kids are:
- It helps it sensory play
- It is inexpensive to make
- It is quick and easy to set up
- It is non-toxic and even safe for young children and babies
- It’s a lot of fun!
Is Oobleck a Solid Or a Liquid?
Technically, oobleck is what is called a non-newtonian fluid. Therefore it has the properties of both liquid and a solid depending on how it is stressed. If you apply a sudden force in the form of a punch or try to grab it quickly, it becomes like solid play dough. Treat it gently, and it flows smoothly.
How To Make Oobleck At Home for Kids
Here are simple instructions on how to make homemade oobleck:
What You Will need
- Cornstarch – ½ cup
- Water – ¾ cup
- Food colouring (optional)
- Large mixing bowl
- In a bowl, ask your child to add ¾ cup water.
- If you wish to use food colouring, add a few drops into the water.
- In the plastic mixing bowl, ask your child to pour in half a cup of cornstarch.
- Ask your child to add the water slowly and stir it with a spatula until it attains a gooey consistency.
- Allow your child to mix it slowly as it takes about 10 minutes to achieve an even consistency. Ask your child to make observations about its consistency and feel as they mix it.
- Once the mix is ready, your child can play with it!
How to Make Oobleck Without Cornstarch?
If you want to try other ways to make oobleck, then this is DIY oobleck for kids with a different recipe:
What You Will need
- Arrowroot or Tapioca Powder – 2 cups
- Water – 1 cup
- Food colouring (optional)
- Large mixing bowl
- Both tapioca and arrowroot powder are great substitutes for cornstarch, and the instructions remain the same as for cornstarch.
- Add all the water into the mixing bowl and add a few drops of food colouring.
- Stir in some arrowroot or tapioca powder into the bowl as you mix the ingredients slowly.
- You can mix either with a spatula or use your hands to get an even consistency.
- You can always alter the water to powder ratio to get a thicker or thinner consistency. It should ideally flow like water but turn solid when some pressure is applied to it.
- You can also use baby powder and potato starch. However, the baby powder should contain some cornstarch.
Safety Tips While Making Oobleck
Here are some general tips while dealing with oobleck:
- Cover up the floor immediately around you as you prepare this substance. It can get a little bit messy as you make it, especially in large batches.
- When making or playing with oobleck, wear your old clothes as they can get messy, especially if you have used food colouring to make oobleck.
- Although oobleck is not poisonous, it tastes awful. So do not let children stay unsupervised near it and clean their hands and feet after playtime.
- Do not drop the substance on your couch, mat, floor, or sidewalk as it is difficult to get off.
- If it gets inside toys or other objects, you can always remove it with a little water and moist cloth.
- If you leave oobleck out in the open, it will dry up into a solid cornstarch block. You could just throw it away as it doesn’t pollute.
- Never dump the whole oobleck mix into the drain to dispose of it. It could clog the pipes.
- To properly dispose of the substance, mix it with hot water, make a highly diluted runny mixture, and pour it slowly into the drain with more hot water running.
- Dried-up oobleck can be vacuumed easily. So that is one way to clean it up!
- When you add food colouring to oobleck, it might stain your hand for a day or two after playing with it. It is not a cause for concern.
- Store it in an air-tight container and occasionally mix to keep it fresh.
Things to Do with Oobleck for Children
Oobleck is a fun substance for sensory play and learning physics. Here are a few things you can do with it:
- Grab a handful of the substance and squeeze it hard to watch it become a solid lump. The harder you squeeze, the harder it becomes. When it is let go, it oozes through the fingers.
- Fill up a container with the substance and punch it hard and watch it resist as the sudden pressure hardens it.
- Grab some oobleck in your hand and start rolling it to turn it into a ball. But when you let go, it melts away like a liquid.
- Make a puddle of the substance and quickly drag your finger through it to watch it clump like clay and melt away as soon as the pressure is released.
- If you are having a science-themed party for children at home, then you could fill up a small inflatable baby tub with oobleck and have a lot of fun. When you step into it slowly, your feet sink. But jump or run over it, and it’ll stay solid!
- If you have an old disposable speaker connected to a monotone sound, you can pour some over the speaker’s diaphragm. When you play a sound, the oobleck takes weird shapes and forms based on the type of sound.
How Long Does Oobleck Last?
Oobleck can last for days when it is stored in a sealed container. You only need to replenish the evaporated water and bring it to the necessary consistency to play with it again. If you wish to store it for long periods, refrigerate it and stir the mix once in a while.
Oobleck is a slime-like liquid that can be made easily at home. It shows incredible physical properties, which make a fun and interesting sensory play item for children. As long as you follow the general safety tips, oobleck is a great science project.
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