This week’s Unplugged Project theme was smooth, and I confess that the choice was premeditated. We are away this weekend for fall break, so I knew a project would be hard to fit in. Instead I chose to write about one that we did in August when we were doing a babysitting coop with some friends.
This particular day about 10 kids were at the house. A friend who was moving brought over some liquid laundry starch that she couldn’t pack (the movers wouldn’t take it).
At her suggestion, we combined it with some white glue and made this wonderful, smooth, shiny, slimy, icky, bizarre goop!
All you need is liquid starch and white (Elmer’s type) glue. Mix glue and starch in a cup or bowl (disposable is best…sorry environment!) in about a 2-1 proportion (in other words: 1/2 cup glue to 1/4 cup starch, vary amounts proportionally as necessary to get the amount you need). Don’t worry too much about accuracy, I just eyeballed it and it was fine. You can add food coloring as we did, or keep it “natural:”
We started mixing in a civilized manner with spoons:
But the children quickly abandoned the spoons for the pleasure of feeling this stuff with their hands:
I wish you could see the expressions on the children’s faces as they mixed and ultimately experimented with the finished goop! Even I found the strange texture fascinating!
They all had a blast, and are still talking about it.
My 2 year-old especially loved this. She sat at the table all alone with her goop for about a half an hour after the other kids had run off to play on the swing set. The sensorial experience for her was totally absorbing:
- The goop is pretty sticky (yet smooth!) in an almost dough-like way once it is mixed. We found that running the finished ball of goop under the tap helped alleviate some of the initial stickyness. It will be very wet and runny at first, but once it dries out you’ll have a nice workable ball.
- Try to keep goop away from carpets, clothes etc. Although it doesn’t really stick to skin, tables, counters, etc., it sticks if left to rest on any fabric surface. It does wash out of clothes well though, as I found out with my 2 year-old’s shirt (after all, it is only washable glue and laundry starch), but carpets would be more of a problem.
- We kept ours in baggies and containers for a few days until I started finding it left out around the house. Then I got sick of it and the baggies began gradually “disappearing.”
EDITED TO ADD: Thanks so much to science teacher Stephanie who left a comment on this post with her alternate recipe that avoids the stickiness:
…make a solution of 50% water and 50% glue in one container and in another take one cup of water and 1 tablespoon of Borax (found in the laundry aisle). Then mix in equal parts of each solution (1/2 cup borax + 1/2 cup glue/water). If you make it in a plastic baggie the stickiness at the beginning in contained. Too sticky add a little more borax.
Thanks Stephanie! Next time we’ll try your version!
AND YET ANOTHER ADDITION: Marta left a comment with some useful information about a fun trick with this, and a cleanup tip:
Just a clean-up note, in regards to Stephanie’s post. Our daycare kids call this mixture flubber. They like to lay it flat on the table and put a straw under one edge. Inflate! Makes great big bubbles. Vinegar seems to work well to get this mess out of clothes, hair, carpets etc…
Thanks very much for the tips Marta. Very useful information!
If you joined us for this week’s smooth Unplugged Project, then please post a link to your project in Mr. Linky. If you did not do a smooth project, then please do not link, but feel free to browse everyone else’s projects. To find out more about how to participate, please read more here. We’d love to have you!
I feel like I should make a list of all the themes we have done so far since I am beginning to forget. The wonderful thing about the Unplugged Project is that one theme can generate so many different ideas, so I guess it doesn’t really matter if we repeat.
Next week’s Unplugged Project theme (and I don’t think that we have done it yet) is:
Have fun with it, and remember any connection to the theme, no matter how slim (the slimmer the better in my mind), “counts!”