Goop. Ooblek. Slime. Whatever you like to call it, the classic corn flour and water experiment is one of those activities that never gets old. We’ve been making this for three years now and R (who’s now 5) still loves it. The wonderful gloopy, sloppy mess that appears to be a liquid and a solid at the same time is both a playful science lesson and a really fun sensory activity.
HOW TO MAKE GOOP
Goop is one of the easiest play recipes to make – all you need is corn flour (corn starch) and water. There are some recipes that suggest mixing one part corn flour (corn starch) with two parts water. We don’t measure our ingredients at all when we make this. We simply pour a box of cornflour into a tub and then keep adding water until it all mixes together into a soup-like consistency. We also added a little liquid food colouring to ours but that’s optional, white goop is just as fun!
TIP: You do want to make sure that your corn flour is actually derived from corn. That may sound like an odd thing to say but some manufacturers will label a box as corn flour or corn starch but in fact the flour is derived from wheat. If you use wheat based flour your mixture won’t have the same properties as goop.
R enjoys the process of mixing the corn flour and water together just as much as he enjoys the final product. As soon as his hands hit the corn flour he’s laughing and saying how much he loves the way it feels.
One of the many reasons why we love goop so much is that is brilliant for sensitive skin. R suffers from eczema and so many play recipes, like mixing baking soda and vinegar, salt trays or even cloud dough if it’s made with baby oil, can sting his hands very badly. Not so with the gloop. This stuff is just smooth and silky and lots of messy fun!
So what’s so special about goop? Well, that’s where the playful science comes in. Run your fingers through the goop and it feels like a liquid, scoop some into your hand and you can roll it into a ball like play dough, but stop putting pressure on it and it just runs through your fingers like a liquid again.
THE PROPERTIES OF GOOP
Why does the gloop behave this way? Well, it’s a dilatant material which basically means that it is a substance that will change its properties in reaction to external stimuli. There is an awesome short video taken from the Ellen DeGeneres show where Steve Spangler explains dilatant materials in very simple terms. He demonstrates how you can run your fingers through the goop and it’s like a liquid, but if you clench your hand into a fist and pound the top of the goop, it will be as though your hand is hitting a solid object. Someone even WALKS on the surface of the goop. It’s amazing.
The goop is fun enough to play with on its own. Just seeing it run through your fingers is wonderful especially for toddlers. Adding a couple of items for scooping or pouring is also fun. We tried using a slotted spoon and R really loved watching the goop ooze slowly through the holes.
I love this photo of the goop slowly finding its way through the slotted spoon.
So much messy fun!
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