I was first introduced to Oobleck in the fourth grade. My teacher broke us into groups, handed out recipes and told us that we were going to create a magical substance from a far off planet. I was absolutely entranced with Oobleck. It was one of my fondest memories of my fourth grade year.
Years later, as a daycare provider, I began using Oobleck with young children. I leave out the “far off planet” part but the result is the same. A few simple ingredients and we’ve got a great sensory material that’s safe, fun and versatile.
A Great Day for Oobleck
A couple of days ago I decided it was time for something different during our outdoor playtime. So, I dumped a box of cornstarch into our empty water table (affiliate link) and slowly added water.
My daycare kids used their hands to mix it up, making comments and giggling about the sensation. I kept on slowly adding water until the consistency was just right.
Before long there was a request for toys to use with the Oobleck. I brought over the farm animals. Dramatic play immediately ensued and the animals tromped right into the Oobleck and got hopelessly trapped. Luckily, there were a few brave girls willing to rescue them.
After the animals were rescued, they needed a good bath. I set out a clean tub of water and a scrubby sponge. Once they were all clean, those silly animals tromped right back into the Oobleck for some more fun.
A Change of Pace
After quite some time, the focus turned to the prospect of lunch for our animal friends. The Oobleck was starting to dry up in the sun. Some was still moist, some turning back into powder. It made a welcome addition to our usual mud pie cooking.
The cornstarch powder was fun to sprinkle. Adding water created a nice white liquid, perfect for milk and creamy soup.
An All Day Activity
Eventually, we had to leave the Oobleck and go inside to make lunch. I had a sneaking suspicion that the kids would come back for more after nap time, so we skipped our usual clean-up routine and left the toys and Oobleck in place.
When we came back outside in the afternoon, the kids immediately went to check on their creation. Some of the Oobleck was back to powder form. Some was still damp and gooey.
The most exciting discovery was a pan of Oobleck that had dried into a firm cake. It could be broken into pieces without crumbling,which inspired more cooking.
I filled a couple of small buckets with water so the kids could experiment with rehydrating the cornstarch. The yard became a cafe and I was served a lovely lavender and mint soup.
Make Your Own
Here’s the recipe so you can try this with your kids! Remember to add the water slowly until you get just the right consistency.
These measurements are a good place to start. Double or triple them depending on the number of participants.
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups Cornstarch
- 1 cup Water
- Food Coloring (optional)
- Pour the cornstarch into a bowl or pan.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the water (optional).
- Add the water to the cornstarch a bit at a time, mixing with a spoon or by hand.
- When it is at the proper consistency, you will have a substance that has properties of both a solid and a liquid. Tear a piece off and then watch it melt in your hand. Push hard on the surface and feel tension, then let your fingers slowly sink in.
- Explore the Oobleck. Add spoons, plastic animals, any toys or tools you’d like.
Older preschoolers may be interested in learning about the science of Oobleck. Check out It’s a Solid.. It’s a Liquid.. It’s Oobleck! for information.
I hope you enjoy!