Are you thinking of a mind-blowing science experiment for kids or a fun activity to do at home? Well, then look no further than Oobleck.
Kids love sensorial play and nothing comes close to Oobleck in this context. It is a perfect activity to get your kids excited and explore science hands-on. Sure to leave your kids and you, both fascinated and enlightened.
Oobleck is a quick and simple science activity for kids that can be done at home with a few ingredients that are readily available in your pantry.
Keep reading to learn how you can make Oobleck at home and discover more about this fascinating substance.
Table of Contents:
What is Oobleck
Oobleck is a rather odd name that comes from one of Dr. Seuss books known as Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
The book explores the journey of a King who gets frustrated with the weather and asks his magicians to make something new fall from the sky.
Related: Stories are a great way to spark imagination. Indulge in these Inspiring STEM Books for Kids to open your child’s mind and give them the confidence in their abilities.
The magicians create a slimy green substance called Oobleck that rains on their kingdom. A young man named Bartholomew Cubbins is tasked with rescuing the kingdom from the disaster caused by Oobleck.
Oobleck is a non-Newtonian liquid that mimics properties of solids as well as liquids. It is quite similar to quicksand but is much more fun and safe to play with. Other examples of non-Newtonian fluids include Silly Putty, Kinetic Sand and quicksand.
Oobleck has a gooey and slimy texture, and acts differently under different conditions.
This non-Newtonian fluid behaves like a normal solid when you apply pressure but immediately becomes a thick liquid when the pressure is released.
Oobleck is certainly unlike any other substance you may have touched before.
What is Oobleck – A Solid or A Liquid?
There is no doubt Oobleck is fun for both children and adults alike. A common confusion among anyone who has played with Oobleck is if the substance is a solid or a liquid.
Oobleck is neither a solid nor a liquid. It is classified as a non-Newtonian liquid because it does not obey Newton’s law of viscosity.
Related: Learn all about States of Matter with fun, hands on activities that make learning experiential with KidpIllar STEM Matter e-journal.
It occasionally behaves like a solid and sometimes like a liquid. When you tap on the surface of Oobleck it feels like a solid but if you slowly dip your fingers into it, it feels like water.
This is because the solid cornstarch particles move together when you apply pressure. This pressure forces the water particles to move out, giving Oobleck a solid-like texture.
However, when you move your hands slowly through Oobleck, it allows the solid cornstarch particles to move smoothly away, giving it a liquid-like texture.
Related: If you think Oobleck is the only crazy experiment to do with kids, try making Bouncing Rubber Eggs. These eggs really bounce!
How to Make Oobleck?
Kids love making Oobleck. So let’s dive into the interesting part of the activity – Making Oobleck!
This non-Newtonian liquid can be made at home with just two ingredients making it an easy and inexpensive activity.
This activity can be very messy and can stain your clothes and furniture so please take appropriate precautions to avoid staining.
What you will need:
- Cornstarch – 2 cups
- Water – 1 cup
- Food Coloring – Optional
- Mixing Bowl
How to Make It:
Step 1: Take a mixing bowl and add cornstarch and water into it.
Step 2: Using a spatula, stir this cornstarch and water mixture slowly until it has a slime-like consistency.
Step 3: Add a few drops of food coloring of your choice to the cornstarch and water mixture.
To get the right consistency you may need to add more cornstarch or water, depending on if the mixture is too dry or too runny.
Now you can start playing with this crazy concoction that is neither solid nor liquid!
Related: Also check out these amazing Science Activities for Kids that are certain to excite your kids.
How To Make Oobleck Without Cornstarch?
Oobleck can also be made with baby powder but you should make sure the baby powder contains cornstarch in the ingredients before beginning the activity.
Related: Now that you have made Oobleck, try another fasicating, mind blowing science experiment for kids – Elephant Toothpaste!
Can you eat Oobleck?
Fortunately, this cornstarch and water concoction is not poisonous since it is made out of corn starch – a common kitchen ingredient that finds its way in many recipes.
But it can potentially cause stomach pain if eaten in significant quantities.
How Long Can I Play With Oobleck?
Unfortunately, Oobleck does not last too long. Non-Newtonian fluids change their consistency over time and do not maintain constant viscosity.
Adding little water can help them regain their consistency. To make your Oobleck last longer, store it in an airtight container if you want to play for longer periods.
However, Oobleck must be disposed of after 24 hours because it tends to develop mold and can become harmful for children.
Related: If your kiddo loved playing with Oobleck, we are certain she will also love playing and making Moon Sand. Moon Sand is quick, easy to make and promises excellent sensorial play.
How To Dispose off Oobleck?
Getting rid of Oobleck is very simple and straightforward. Oobleck can be disposed of in two different ways.
It can be washed off in the sink after diluting with plenty of hot water. The water makes Oobleck more liquid and easy to drain.
Alternatively, Oobleck can be left to dry in the open air. Once the mixture hardens, it turns into a solid, which can be broken into smaller pieces and thrown into a trash can.
Oobleck is biodegradable and thus would not cause any harm to the environment.
Where is Oobleck used?
Oobleck has numerous uses in the industry apart from just being a fun science experiment. The uses and applications of Non-Newtonian fluids are being extensively researched in universities as well.
Currently, Honda Motor Company uses it as gear dampers in vehicles. Gear dampers help to control the impact on internal components due to moving speed.
This non-Newtonian fluid is also used in vehicle hull applications by Lockheed Martin to minimize the effects of explosive blasts.
In addition to that, the use of Oobleck as a traffic control device that is sensitive to the speed of the vehicles is currently being researched.
Furthermore, the use of Oobleck in flexible body armor is also being studied.
Non-Newtonian fluid is an extraordinary substance that can prove to be very useful in a variety of industries when scientists have fully understood its behavior and properties.
Cleaning and Tidying Up After Playing
Kids have loads of fun making and playing with Oobleck. But, do not forget to clean up after playing with Oobleck.
Smeared surfaces can be cleaned using a damp cloth, and dried Oobleck can be wiped away with a dry cloth.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly in running water after playing with Oobleck. Soap can be applied to remove any Oobleck clumps stuck to your hand.
Also do not forget to grab yourself a copy of “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”! It is a great Dr. Seuss book that would keep you glued to the seat.
Is Oobleck The Same As Slime?
The name Oobleck was first used to describe a type of slime that was first described in Dr. Seuss’ book. So, in a way Oobleck is a type of a slime that you can make at home.
The most visible difference between Oobleck and slime is that the latter is translucent, gummy and less putty-like.
Over to You…
Now that you understand pretty much everything about Oobleck – how it is made, how to clean it and the science behind it’s crazy properties, it is time to make oobleck and get kids jumping with excitement.
It is a perfect rainy day activity to keep children entertained and banish boredom blues. We bet nothing can be more fun!
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