Playing with Oobleck

Playing with OobleckToday Miss G and I tried making and playing with the ridiculously fun {and equally messy} substance called Oobleck.  It’s made out of only 2 ingredients (or 3 if you want to add a little colour), and it isn’t quite a liquid and it isn’t really a solid…  In fact, it behaves like both. 

While teaching in Kuwait, my team members and I always made Oobleck with our first grade classes during our solids, liquids, and gasses unit and it was definitely one of the favourite lessons.  Today, Grae enjoyed it just as much as my 6 and 7 year old students did, so this is definitely something that can be done with children of all ages.

IMG 2043All you need in order to make Oobleck is water and cornstarch, plus food colouring if you wish.

IMG 2047I like to start by adding the colouring to the water first because it’s a lot easier to stir colouring into water than into the finished Oobleck.

IMG 2050Plus, this way you get to watch the colouring disperse into the water, which is always kind of neat.

IMG 2052Start by giving your water a little stir to make sure the colouring is evenly dispersed.

IMG 2055Then add your cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring it into the water as you go.

IMG 2058When the mixture is nice and thick and you’re not able to pour off any excess water, your Oobleck is ready.

Now go ahead and play!  Watch what happens when you touch the Oobleck quickly with a lot of pressure, versus when you touch it slowly and gently.  

IMG 2060IMG 2062IMG 2064IMG 2067

Be prepared to get messy – it’s more fun that way!  Putting a towel or tray under the bowl of Oobleck should catch most of the spills, and since Oobleck is best played with with hands, you won’t be left with a sink full of dishes afterwards.  ☺

Here are a couple of quick iPhone videos I managed to take of us playing with our Oobleck…

Oobleck

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 or 2 drops of food colouring

Start by colouring the water with food colouring.  Add the cornstarch a cup at a time, stirring in between additions.  The Oobleck is ready when the mixture is thick and excess water cannot by poured off.

(Many recipes on the internet will say that for 1 cup of water you should only need between 1 and 2 cups of cornstarch, but my experience has been that the 1:3 ratio works out perfectly every time.  My suggestion is to add slowly after the second cup and see what works best for you.)

Enjoy!

To learn more about Oobleck, click here.  To see where Oobleck got its silly-sounding name, click here.

10 thoughts on “Playing with Oobleck

  1. I tried this with Elliot, but unfortunately he’s inherited my fussiness! He wouldn’t put more than a fingertip in. He wouldn’t do papier mache with me either!

    1. Aw, shoot. Some kids just don’t enjoy the feeling of being messy… Have you tried something equally as fun but less goopy? I bet he’d like playing with water beads! 🙂

      1. Oh! I’ve never heard of those. Where do you find them? He loves pouring, and we wash a pile of coins and then let him put those in different cups in water. He’s not much of a sit down and play child though, to be fair, I spend a lot of time watching him race around playgrounds or following him on his bike.

    1. A lot of people buy water beads online, but if you don’t mind them being just the clear ones, you can find them in almost any dollar or craft store in the floral section. I also stocked up them at one of the Vancouver night markets in Richmond this past summer… They had the dried out kind in every colour of the rainbow. There’s a ton of ways to play with them, but this will give you an idea of what they are at least: http://mamapapabubba.com/2012/09/17/water-bead-sensory-bin/. And hey – having a child that likes to be out and about enjoying nature and fresh air is NEVER a bad thing! 🙂

  2. We made this yesterday and it was a ton of fun! We had a mess in the entire kitchen and all over the kids! I have four ranging from 16-7 so you can imagine how it got out of hand, lol. It was no big deal though because it wipes up so easily. I look forward to making it again 🙂

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