Smooth – Goop!!! (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , October 13, 2008 2:30 am

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:

TIPS:

  • 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!

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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!

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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:

Wax

Have fun with it, and remember any connection to the theme, no matter how slim (the slimmer the better in my mind), “counts!”

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27 Responses to “Smooth – Goop!!! (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Slime is always fun! Another great sensory project is GooYuck/Oobleck… which is 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch (you can add food coloring if you want). You can squeeze it so it feels hard and dry and then hold it in your hand for a minute and it returns to a ‘liquid state.’ Very cool if you haven’t tried that one before.

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  2. Goop looks like so much fun. I’d be afraid Jayden would eat it all though.

    Julie K in Taiwans last blog post..Gelatin Printmaking

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  3. [...] have any gelatin on hand, but we did have a jello-ish dessert pack, so we used that as our smooth [...]

  4. Julie says:

    My son’s daycare makes goop on a regular basis and he loves it! (He’ll be 2 next month) I keep meaning to make some from home but the stickiness turned me off. Thanks for the tip about running it under the tap!

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  5. This goop recipe looks great! We’re going to have to give it a try. It’s the perfect thing to attract my tween/ teen boys to participate in a project.

    Wisdom Pursuits last blog post..Let’s Have S’more Fun!

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  6. Gerky says:

    Goop is always fun! This week Dill decided he wanted to use the rock tumbler to make “smooth” rocks. You can read all about it at http://homefrontlines.blogspot.com/2008/10/unplugged-smooth_13.html.

    Gerkys last blog post..Unplugged: Smooth

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  7. Alicia says:

    Looks like fun! I always avoided making this because I didn’t know if the ingredients in laundry starch would be bad for skin contact (or kids who put stuff in their mouths!) but I found some all natural starches online and it looks like there are some pretty benign ones out there. I’ll definitely put it on the to-do list.

    We did sensory handwriting for our smooth project this week. We had a great time, as always. Thanks for always giving us a push to try something fun. :)

    Alicias last blog post..Unplugged Project: Sensory Handwriting

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  8. kedakeda says:

    Oooh! What a good idea – I’m going to try this one when my little one has some friends over. Even if the kids aren’t that interested I think the mummies will really enjoy it (I know I will!).

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  9. Heather says:

    Look like you guys had fun. That is something that I really want to try with the boys. Just not sure how well they will respond to it. Thanks for sharing it though.

    Heathers last blog post..Unplug your Kids

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  10. I think goop is soooo fun, but Kiddo simply won’t touch it. Weird kid.

    Mom and Kiddos last blog post..Unplugged Project: Smmmmoooooth

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  11. Stephanie says:

    Hi I love your website! We do a lot of these activities but I do not have a website so I have never posted a comment before. I am also a science teacher and make this with my students all the time. To avoid stickiness use 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.

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  12. Bobbie says:

    I am always so busy reading the links on Mr Linky that I forget to comment down here.. just want to say that your projects are alwasy unique.. I think you and Julie K have the most unique projects (that I havent seen around) we love participating in the challenges.. thanks for the good job

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  13. Marta says:

    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…

    [Reply]

  14. Jessica says:

    I found your blog while I was surfing the web looking for ways to make learning fun. I think I’m going to like it here. It is neat to see how each reader interprets the theme.

    Jessicas last blog post..Unplugged Project: Smooth

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  15. Jenny says:

    Your 2-year-old looked a lot my 3-year-old with this stuff! I posted about something similar we made last week, and CJ still loves to play with it. I love making homemade “goo” like this- it makes me feel like I’m really creative!

    Jennys last blog post..A Long Overdue Update

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  16. ok… better late than never… :)

    cool, goop, btw! you are so much braver than I am!

    Becky@BoysRuleMyLifes last blog post..What’s Smoother than a Smoothie?

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  17. Erin says:

    This is very similar to a thing Dr. Suess calls Oobleck! He wrote a book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck. They made a similar goop, but this takes on the properties of a solid and a liquid. You would need bowls instead of cups, but it is really entertaining! It is just water and cornstarch (2 parts cornstarch, 1 part water, food coloring if you want).

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  18. Jazzy says:

    My son and I make this all the time, he loves this stuff!

    Jazzys last blog post..AirMouse.

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  19. Daphne says:

    My kids are going to go crazy over this! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  20. julie says:

    I use this in my classroom. I extend it by putting out markers. They dot or color the goop. the kids explore what happens to the colors as you manipulate the goop. Messy….. but exciting.

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  21. [...] It’s not your typical kid recipe – you can’t eat the results.  The end product is that fabulous and disgusting goop stuff that you get out of the vending machines sometimes in that little plastic egg.  Emily loves this [...]

  22. John says:

    I love the Oobleck experiment. I did it with my 4 year old son this weekend. He learned about non-newtonian fluids, polymers, and molecule chains. Cool stuff! We found a fun site with neat science experiments like this. I will put the link below for anyone interested.

    http://weirdsciencekids.com/FunExperiments.html

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  23. [...] “Ancient” Treasure Maps & Treasure Hunt (Weekly Unplugged Project) – 21,654 viewsSmooth – Goop!!! (Weekly Unplugged Project) – 14,612 viewsUnplugged Project – 12,044 viewsEasy Homemade Musical Instruments – 10,702 viewsWax [...]

  24. Sandra Koster says:

    Be careful using borax. It shouldn’t be used with really young children who will put things in their mouth or who can’t be trusted to wash their hands after the activity. The MSDS from jtbaker (http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/s3122.htm) lists the estimated lethal dose as 15 to 20 grams or somewhere around a tablespoon of the dry powder. That would be like drinking a whole cup of Stephanie’s borax mixture but still you should be careful.

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    Mom Unplugged Reply:

    Excellent point about the borax method. I really wouldn’t want them putting laundry starch in their mouth either, so young children should certainly be well supervised with this activity no matter how it is done. Thanks for the information!

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  25. Homemade Goop | CreativePlayPlus.com says:

    [...] Smooth – Goop!!! (Weekly Unplugged Project) | Unplug Your Kids [...]

  26. Susy says:

    Hi! I just discovered your website, browsing for experiments to do with my afterschool group of 5-9 year olds. I, too, am a Montessori teacher, so I am looking forward to checking out more of your site. I need some fun stuff to do when the weather is too bad to go outside – things that will keep my active kindergarten boys happy! – and I think I’ve found it in goop!

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