Making Goop is one of the best things I’ve learned how to do as a parent. Have you tried it? The recipe is simple and children are riveted by the magic of this weird substance.
Goop, better known as Oobleck (named for a slime in Dr. Seuss’ book Bartholomew and the Oobleck ) is a fun material to play with: At one moment it’s a solid, and at the next it’s a liquid…it’s unbelievably silly to play with, and I’ve witnessed adults get lost in the strange sensation of its texture. For my science friends out there, this is a dilatant material, which is one that changes its properties in reaction to external stimuli. We don’t have the Dr. Seuss book (yet!), but I imagine it would be fun to read the book in conjunction with this activity.
I set this corn starch exploration up as a 3-part activity, so that my daughter could experience the medium in multiple ways.
- Big tub for mixing — I used an under-the-bed storage container. Contains the mess well so my child can play unencumbered by my tidy concerns
- Cornstarch (I used a 16 oz. container)
- Water (about one cup…add as you go)
- Spoons, little bowls, toys for playing, scooping, and filling
I placed the jar of corn starch in the tub, alongside a spoon and a couple small bowls. I expected my daughter to pour the whole tub of corn starch out, but she carefully scooped it from the container spoonful by spoonful. This took a while, as she was wholly invested in the process of measuring and then pouring. Once playing with dry corn starch ran its course…
We added water. I gave her just a bit at a time, so she could enjoy the process of mixing it in. Ultimately, the cornstarch:water ratio is about 2:1. And as we went along, we chatted about what it felt like in our hands, if it was easy/hard to stir, and what we were doing. And once she seemed to have her fill of playing with this funny material…
We added a few drops of liquid watercolor to the Oobleck (food coloring would also work), which she swirled around and mixed up. She was really interested in dropping the color into the mixture, but stirring it up barely sustained her interest. After focused play with the Oobleck for the last 30 minutes, she seemed to have had enough…ready to move on to the next big thing.