Our toddlers always have fun playing with oobleck. This is seriously the most fascinating stuff – just cornstarch & water! It is simultaneously a liquid and a solid, so one second it is oozing and dripping from your fingers, the next you can quickly scoop it into a ball and break it in half or crumble it like a cracker – it becomes hard when you apply pressure to it. Kids of all ages enjoy this simple sensory experience! We’re on the “older” end of the kid spectrum, and speaking from personal experience, we could play with it for hours.
We could try to explain the science behind oobleck and how to make it, but looky here! Someone already did that! That frees us up to share a few tips for making & playing with it at home:
- Prepare yourself for a mess! Little ones will want to “flick” it off their hands. It might end up in their hair or on their clothes, but it is more likely to end up in your hair and on your clothes. And possibly dripping down the walls. But have no fear! Rather than making a futile effort to wipe it up as soon as it hits the wall, let it dry for about an hour and it returns to it’s powdery cornstarch state and is easily cleaned up with a little broom & dustpan!
- While kids are playing with oobleck, we like to have a large bowl of warm water nearby for the fickle types who are completely entranced with it one second, and convulsing for you to get it off their hands the next. The oobleck will literally just dissolve away with a quick dunk in the water! As soon as their hands are clean, kids want to dive back in for more!
- Rather than adding food coloring to the oobleck, we recommend a super washable paint like liquid watercolor. This will give you a vibrant color but won’t stain clothing or skin. And although it sweeps up with a dustpan, if you are going to let kids play with oobleck inside, just make sure whatever coloring you use (if any) won’t stain the walls or furniture. We’d recommend skipping the color all together unless you’re playing outside. It adds another interesting element, but is not entirely necessary in order to enjoy playing with it.
- Round up some creative tools! It’s fun to use forks & spoons & pastry scrapers! Anything with which to slice, scoop, poke or prod. We also recommend giving each child their own bowl, cookie sheet, or pizza pan of oobleck. It helps contain the mess. A tiny little bit.
- If it starts to dry out as kids are playing with it, just add a little water and it magically turns back into oobleck. Mad science!
We love this clip from The Ellen Show!
No idea what the cost of a few hundred pounds of cornstarch would be, but wouldn’t it be fun to fill a kiddie pool with oobleck in the summer and let your kids go to town?! Then simply hose them off before they get near the house! Good clean fun!