It’s a not-so-scientific fact — kids love messes. The sticker and gooier those messes are, the happier your kids will be. That’s why everyday camp from the beginning of time has done the “liquid starch glue” craft, in which kids combine white glue and liquid starch to make a runny, gummy pile of goop that fascinates kids for hours.
But liquid starch glue isn’t the only type of slime you can whip up at home. There are other recipes for fun you can pull together in a matter of minutes, with ingredients you have sitting around the house. Making your own slime offers a perfect distraction on a rainy day as well as a homemade science lesson. Your kids get a chance to learn about chemistry and how the properties of a material can change when different chemicals interact.
So, what’s happening to make the materials interact this way? Ions from the starch attach to the long polymers of the glue to stop them from flowing, turning what had been a liquid into something a little different. For a fun learning break once you’ve whipped up your solution, ask your kids if they think the slime is a liquid or a solid. Point out that when you remove the water from a slime recipe, it does become a solid because those H2O molecules help the polymers slip-slide away from each other.
Ready to dive in? Here are two fun slime recipes your kids will love.
How to Make Fake Snot
Achoo! Your children will be fake-sneezing and pulling out this long, green slime all day.
- Corn syrup
- Lime gelatin
Place the gelatin in a bowl. Boil some water, enough to fill half a cup. Stir three teaspoons of the gelatin into the water. Give the gelatin a few minutes to become soft. Then stir both ingredients with a fork. Slowly pour in ¼ cup corn syrup, mixing with the fork. The mixture will begin to cool down. Add a bit of water to smooth it out and get it to that gooey consistency.
Sell them on the science: See those long strings visible in the snot mixture? Those are strands of protein, and they give the “snot” its stickiness.
How to Make Glittery Slime
Kick up your slime-making experience by really making it sparkle. Hit the craft store to grab a vial of glitter beforehand.
- Epsom salts
- White glue
Measure out a half teaspoon of Epsom salts and place in a cup. Pour in a half teaspoon of water and let the salts dissolve as thoroughly as possible. Add a tablespoon of white glue and half a teaspoon of glitter to a second cup, then add the salts-water combo to the glue and stir. You can easily increase the measurements to make more.
Sell them on the science: Experiment with adding more and less water to your mixture to see what happens. Talk to your kids about the properties of liquids, such as wetness, and solids, such as resistance to changing shape.
Learn More About Slime, Solids and Liquids
If your kids take to your home lesson on slime or they just can’t learn enough about snot, they may also enjoy our “Potions, Powders, and Polymers” program, one of many we offer to kids ages 4-11 in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. We think science is fun, and we’re sure your kids will as well — especially if it involves messes. Contact us for more information.