Playing with slime or more ‘scientifically’ oobleck is fun for all ages but is a great messy sensory play experience with a 16 month old (and a multi-decade old person). Oobleck is slime or more specifically a fictional non-Newtonian fluid precipitate (yes, properties of both a liquid and solid) made famous by the pen of Dr. Seuss. Squeeze it in your hands and it will seem solid but it runs like a liquid. Note: it does get messy, especially with a little one, so lay down some paper, throw on a big and put the dog in another room (oops, learned that one). It is totally fine if they eat some, tastes like paste but isn’t harmful. We played for probably 45 minutes with this, including 10 minutes to get it all mixed up (part of the fun). THAT is pretty miraculous. If you store it, keep in airtight container.
We mixed up a batch using the following:
- 1 part water (e.g. 1 cup)
- 2 parts cornstarch (e.g. 2 cups but might neeed to keep adding more in to get it more ‘solid’ and goopier)
- Few drops of food coloring if you like
Mix them all together with your hands, adding color at the end.
Clean up: pretty straightforward although mess factor can be significant. Water, towels, if dry vacuum it up. If stuck in dog’s hair. Let dry and brush out and then vacuum.
Try things like moving your hand fast and slow in the container. Then try patting the surface (it feels solid). Take and handful and squeeze. Rake hands back and forth. Just have fun. We used a 13 x 9 pyrex dish to keep it more contained but additional play area (and easier to prevent it from being spilled or tossed) but you could use a bowl or several small containers.
Fun sites with more info and links to videos of Oobleck’s strutting their stuff.
- Collection of oobleck’s in action and factoids
- Exploding Oobleck
- Nova science edition
- The word on Oobleck from Wired
What did you do with your Oobleck? Anyone else remember the show You Can’t Do That On Television…. (aka YCDTOTV; note: they didn’t use oobleck, rather slime with a more a complex flavor profile)