So, you have heard about Oobleck and are ready to take the plunge into this gooey science experiment. Finding the right Oobleck recipe is the very first step and you have come to the right place!
Let's learn a little about what Oobleck is and where the word came from and then we can get into how to set up your Oobleck science experiment, Oobleck recipes included!
Check out Oobleck in action, then read on for some awesome Oobleck recipes and a guide on how to present a great Oobleck science project for your preschooler!
Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid. This means the substance becomes more or less viscous (thinner or thicker) depending on the amount of pressure that is applied to it.
It is called non-Newtonian because it does not follow Newton's Law of Viscosity.
Other examples of non-Newtonian fluids are honey, shampoo, and paint.
The very special thing about Oobleck is that it turns solid when squeezed, then returns to a liquid state when your child relaxes their hand.
Oobleck and Dr. Suess
The word Oobleck come from the 1949 Dr. Suess book, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”.
In the book, a young child must save his kingdom from a sticky green goo, which Dr. Suess named Oobleck.
What is oobleck used for?
Oobleck is a popular tool for teaching science to young children.
Montessori primary programs frequently utilize it for early science lessons and many parents use Oobleck as a fun and easy home science lesson for their children.
Oobleck is also a great addition to your list of sensory bin play ideas.
How to make oobleck
Chances are, you have everything you need to make Oobleck right in your pantry.
Whichever Oobleck recipe you decide on (you can always try them all for some extra science-y fun), you and your child are sure to learn a lot while having a blast.
In addition to the science lessons involved, oobleck is great for fine motor strength, in preparation for writing.
Oobleck is traditionally a cornstarch and water activity, however I've put together some alternative Oobleck recipes for you in addition to the traditional Oobleck recipe.
It is important to note that an adult should always be present when children are handling Oobleck. Oobleck is not to be eaten. Please keep your children safe!
Oobleck: the cornstarch and water experiment
The most common method of making Oobleck is with cornstarch and water.
Whether or not you are presenting this as a Montessori activity or not, it's a good idea to get prepared with everything you will need before starting the activity.
For each Oobleck recipe, you'll need:
- water pitcher
- mixing bowl
- measuring cup
These are the items you will need, no matter what Oobleck recipe you decide on.
Every Oobleck recipe follows the same general instructions.
Water is added slowly to the chosen substance(s) by the parent or caregiver while the child mixes the mixture using a very slow punching motion with their fists, following an initial stirring with a spoon.
If you are making Oobleck with a science lesson in mind, here are some observation points you can talk with you child about:
- The premixed water is a liquid and behaves in the way most liquids do.
- The premixed cornstarch (or other powder) is a solid.
- Mixed together, they are called a mixture.
- How the Oobleck hardens when pressed upon or squeezed.
- How the Oobleck liquifies and drips through their fingers when released.
- The difference between how water and Oobleck act when stirred.
Presenting Oobleck to your child in this way promotes their observation skills and teaches them about different states of matter.
This is a great early chemistry project!
Adding food coloring to your Oobleck recipe
While the Oobleck in Dr. Suess's book was green, your Oobleck recipe can include any color you like.
All you need to do is add a splash of food coloring to the water in whichever Oobleck recipe you choose before mixing.
You can adjust the amounts in each recipe to support making small batched of Oobleck in an array of colors for some additional fun that also reinforces your child's knowledge of colors.
Cornstarch Oobleck recipe:
- 2 cups cornstarch
- 1 cup water
Oobleck recipe without cornstarch
If you don't have cornstarch available or there is an allergy issue with the ingredient, don't fret.
It is absolutely possible to make great quality Oobleck with other pantry items you may already have on hand.
Oobleck recipe with borax
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Borax
- 4oz tablespoons Elmer's glue
For this recipe, you will need to warm the water, then dissolve the borax in it.
Then, pour all of the ingredients into a plastic bag, seal it, and squish everything until it has fully mixed.
This recipe is slightly more work, however unlike the other Oobleck recipes, it can be used and then stored for later use.
Keep in mind the consistence of the glue you use might be different from bottle to bottle and brand to brand.
A little experimenting may be needed to get this one just right.
That's the fun of science though!
Oobleck recipe with baby powder
If you are saving your cornstarch for the kitchen and your Borax for the wash and you happen to have some baby powder leftover from your diaper changing days, making Oobleck with baby powder actually works really well!
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups cornstarch
The proportions are the same as with the cornstarch Oobleck recipe.
There are a few reasons I caution against this Oobleck recipe, though.
- The smell is pretty overwhelming.
- The powder becomes aerosol and it's pretty yucky for the lungs.
- Baby powder is pricey. If there's a chance you'll need the baby powder for anything in the future, you save yourself a few bucks and grab some Borax or cornstarch.
Make Oobleck with baking soda
I was skeptical about the proportions for this recipe, but it's a great Oobleck recipe that achieves similar results to the tried and true cornstarch and water Oobleck recipe.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup baking soda
You may discover there is a little extra stirring involved to thicken the mixture initially.
After it thickens, it behaves just as you would expect Oobleck to.
I hope you and your little one have a great time mixing and using oobleck for some science experiment fun!
Cheers and don't forget to subscribe!