Friday, February 24, 2012


Ooblek! (Recipe & Dr. Seuss Birthday!)

This super fun inspired-by-Dr. Seuss science activity is perfect for kids in preschool, kindergarten, and even grade school! 

To kick off Dr. Seuss' birthday in one week, we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and (of course) made ourselves some Ooblek!  This ooblek is a sure 3-year old, 4-year old, and two 1-year olds absolutely loved it!  They had all sorts of ideas of ways to experiment with it, and I was happy to let them go wild.  Added perks: it's natural, easy to clean, and edible (if a bit nasty-tasting).  This was particularly important because I had two young toddlers today, and one of their favorite experiments is the taste test!

I also made up The Ooblek Song...if you're really lucky, I'll figure out how to turn it into a YouTube video before Dr. Seuss' Birthday!  I loved hearing all the little guys singing, "Ooblek, Ooblek, Ooblek..."{Update: You can see it now here! Be's my first attempt at anything like this!)

Oobleck Supplies:
  • 1 pound corn starch (one small box)
  • about 10 drops green food coloring
  • about 1 1/2 cups water

The Quick and Easy How-To:

Pour water into a small bowl. Dump in the corn starch.  Add the food coloring.  Mix it with your hands!  You can easily halve or double this recipe.  Your child can play with it in the bowl or on the table.  As long as he is playing with it, it will stay solid. He can roll it into a ball or even smack it!  As soon as he stops playing with it, it will ooze out and away as a liquid.  Once it is left alone, it soon dries up and is easily dusted into a trash bin.

Note: Over time the cornstarch will separate out of the water and make solid clumps--it is best to throw the mixture away when you are done (not dump it down the sink).

If you do this with older children, it might be fun to tie a bit of the scientific explanation in to all the crazy experimenting!  Ooblek is a suspension (a liquid mixture that has particles large enough to eventually settle out of the mixture), just like quicksand or some paints.  When you roll it between your hands like a ball or slap it on the counter, the force from your hands or the counter presses long starch polymers together.  They trap the water and the suspension behaves like a solid.  When you stop applying force, the polymers relax, the water flows, and it behaves like a liquid. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to share some more ideas for Dr. Seuss's Birthday (March 2nd) for Sharing Saturday!

2016 UPDATE:  It's been four years, and this is still one of our favorite inspired-by-Dr. Seuss science activities!  But if you love Dr. Seuss books and science experiments, you should definitely check out my growing collection of inspired-by-Dr. Seuss Science Activities!  It's sorted by book and even includes some STEM projects!  You'll love it!

And if your kids are into science experiments, be sure to stop by my collection of almost 200 science experiments and activities!  There is something for everyone--preschoolers, older kids, and even grown-ups!!

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I may share at these parties!


Lauren said...

So much fun! My daughter will love this!

Thanks for linking up to A Pinteresting Party this week. :)

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

This is a blast! Thanks for hosting the Pinteresting Party!

Shiloh said...

This looks so much fun! I bet your kids love it!
Thanks so much for stopping by Everyday Gameplan.:)

Didi {Duck Duck Octopus} said...

This looks like so much fun! I love messy projects like this. Thanks for sharing.

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Yes, Shiloh, they wanted to do it again that afternoon!

I agree, Didi! Sometimes the mess makes it even more fun! Luckily, this is easy to clean!

Sierra @ H is for Homeschooling said...

I wish I had seen this earlier today! We tried a different recipe and something went wrong and it was so disappointing. Boogie didn't really like the idea anyway. Next year!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

True, Sierra, you can always try it again! I'm not sure what your recipe said, but the cornstarch and water make it really nice--you can easily add more water or cornstarch depending on the consistency. Good luck next time!

Unknown said...

Ahh, I love this stuff! I could play with it all day all by myself. Luckily I have kids that will play with me so I don't look so silly ;)

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Shantelle, I completely agree! Who says "sensory experiences" are just for babies?!

Ticia said...

Oobleck is always fun! Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday.

Michelle said...

It is kind of addicting isn't it? My favorite thing about it is that it's a non-Newtonian substance. It is soft and smooshy as long as you handle it gently, but if you hit it with any force it gets all hard. Very cool.

Charlene@APinchofJoy said...

Thanks for sharing with Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy! Love this stuff -- but I don't want to share when I make it! Little ones love it too! Hope to see you again this week!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

I agree, Ticia!

Michelle, It's totally addicting! I love how many different science concepts you can discuss with it, depending on your children's age and readiness!

Charlene, I know, right?!! It's a good thing they share! I was just thinking this same thing today--we were experimenting with some geodes to get ready for a giveaway (hopefully going up tomorrow or Thursday!), and I wondered what the kids would think if they knew that I was having at least as much fun as they were!

Crazee Cat Lady said...

This was one of my favorite "experiments" to do as a child, but I had completely forgotten about it! I'm going to have to do this again now, thanks for posting it!