Posts tagged: playdough

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:





  • 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!”


Toothpicks (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , January 20, 2008 8:41 pm

This week I have an old friend and her 2 year-old son, and mother visiting from Upstate New York, so we had an impromptu toothpick art party!

We got out construction paper, glue, playdough … and of course toothpicks, and had fun.

Here are some photos:

And the finished products:

Dolphin and Fish (5 year-old)

Dog, Butterfly, Tree and Clouds (7 year-old)

Mystery Sculpture (2 year-old)

And finally…the grownup projects:

(Note the cherry stem fishing line in this one, very clever!!)

If you did the project with us, I hope you had fun and please be sure to put your name in Mr. Linky so that we can visit.

I look forward to seeing what you all came up with! As usual, I am sure there will be many creative ideas that I would never have thought of.


Next Monday’s Unplugged Project:

At the suggestion of Becky who is overrun with egg cartons at the moment, the theme is:

Egg Cartons!!

Thank you Becky! Sounds like a fun one.


(Sorry the comments are here instead of where they should be. I didn’t want to import the post the normal way for fear of overwriting all the work I have done up until now, but I didn’t want to leave them behind! )


– said…

The “subscribe to” link at the bottom still uses the blogspot URL instead of the new one. I’m kind of new to this RSS reader thing, how do I add the new address instead?
January 20, 2008 8:33 PM

Tamara said…

Yours are super! How nice to combine various things together. I never think of using play-doh in conjunction with paper for art projects. I’m off to dig some egg cartons out of our recycle bin….
January 20, 2008 8:49 PM

Andrée said…

Somehow I remember sticking toothpicks into playdough when I was a kid. Why in the world did I do that or for what purpose? But anyhow, these are neat pieces of art. Egg cartons? Got it! I may even incorporate some art into that one. My daughter has been collecting them for the farm so I have plenty.
January 20, 2008 9:01 PM

Mom Unplugged said…

That is a good question about the RSS feed. I think you’ll just have to subscribe using the blogspot address.

When I move, I’ll put a notice up here. Then you can go to the new blog at and resubscribe there. Sorry I don’t have an easier answer.

If anyone knows of a better solution could you please post it here? Thanks!

(And thanks for your interest in subscribing to my blog!)
January 20, 2008 9:08 PM

soo said…

what beautiful art work, I’m afraid that I am another one that would never think of combining different materials such as paper and playdough.
It just so happens that I’ve been saving my egg boxes for a friend, but she won’t be getting them … well not all of them anyway.
January 20, 2008 9:57 PM

Maria said…

A great collection of things. It’s curious, because Joel (3 1/2 y) has made a similar ‘thing’ than the 2yo boy.
January 21, 2008 12:32 AM

Kate in NJ said…

We are the cherry stem use by the way!
I thought P would use some clay too, but she wanted a frame for a picture
she drew..we have egg cartons a plenty for next week.
January 21, 2008 8:10 AM

amanda said…

I love your project! Very cute results, and fun for all ages, too. clever :)
January 21, 2008 8:23 AM

SuburbanCorrespondent said…

Kids can be so creative with anything! My kids love craft sticks and duct tape (!) and tinfoil. Also cardboard. My eldest once made an entire suit of armor out of tinfoil.
January 21, 2008 9:33 AM

Claire said…

You made some cool stuff this week. I really like the way you have combined mediums. Does the playdoh stick to the coloured paper?

Took us a while to get going with the theme this week but we were soon on a roll and had great fun.

Not sure what we will do this week. I won’t use my egg cartons as I save them to give our hens eggs away to friends. I suspect we may look to doing something with egg shells instead – we have plenty of those!
January 21, 2008 12:19 PM

Heather said…

They look great. I am so in for the egg caarton project. My husband and I were just wondering the other day what we were going to do with all of our egg cartons. So a great way to use them up. Thanks.
January 21, 2008 1:40 PM

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said…

Well, my original intention was to get the play dough out and stick some toothpicks in, but then I came up with something different. I’m so glad I actually did the “assigned” project this week! :)

Your kids did a great job incorporating everything!

PS. Thanks for helping me do something with the egg cartons!

hugs to all,
January 21, 2008 2:37 PM

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