Top 10 STEM Activities for Oobleck aka Corn Starch Goo

Oobleck Activities PinterestWhat is Oobleck?

The name “Oobleck” is derived from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It is sometimes called corn starch goo or slime. Oobleck belongs to a class of materials known as “non-Newtonian” fluids, or substances that respond differently depending on how quickly you try to move them around or how much pressure is applied. Oobleck doesn’t follow the rules of solids or liquids, it is both simultaneously. Depending on the transfer of energy, Oobleck can move from liquid to solid and back to liquid again. We have the top 10 ways for kids to interact with Oobleck and learn more about STEM related principals, all while having fun!

Oobleck recipe:

Tips from our team:

  1. Adult supervision is required for all activities. All activities are super fun for adults too!
  2. While testing out these activities, our team used 25 pounds of corn starch and had about 10 participants. Buy your corn starch in bulk directly from our website or your local restaurant supply store. One 16 oz. can of corn starch contains about 2 C. of product, which would work on a couple of the activities below if the Oobleck is re-used or you have just a couple of participants.
  3. For smaller groups of participants, you could mix up one large bowl of Oobleck and test out almost all of the activities (the walk on it activity require more mixture).
  4. We set up the activities as stand alone stations on a large meeting table. Each participant had 5 minutes at each station, for a total of 30 minutes of activity. This circuit was perfect for our participants, but you may want to give different age groups more or less time at each station.
  5. It is easier to add water to the corn starch and mix than to add corn starch to water and try mixing. Getting the proper consistency is a lot easier if you wear rubber gloves and rub the corn starch and water together, similar to making biscuit dough.
  6. We recommend protecting surfaces with plastic table cloths and people with aprons! Gloves are also great for mixing the Oobleck, which can get stuck under finger nails.
  7. Oobleck is easily washed off skin with soap and water.
  8. If Oobleck gets on clothing, wipe them off with a wet cloth and any remaining stains should come out in the washing machine if washed promptly.
  9. Oobleck can be kept in an airtight container for 24 hours, but may require more water before it becomes the right consistency again.
  10. Dispose of Oobleck after 24 hours or it can develop mold. Do not pour Oobleck down a drain! We put all of the Oobleck into the bin used for the walking activity and then disposed of it.

#10: Mix ‘n’ Mold

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • 3-5 qt. bowl
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • gloves, optional

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck with your hands.
  2. Grab a handful and mold it using just your hands. Try creating a cube or a sphere shape.
  3. Try to break the Oobleck into two pieces by grabbing it and pulling it apart rapidly.
  4. Open your hand and allow the Oobleck to drip back into the bowl.

What you’ll learn:

Oobleck is fun to mix up using just your hands. It can be molded into shapes, but as soon as you stop trying to mold it, Oobleck will not hold its shape. Oobleck will hold its shape when you exert force upon it. As soon as the force is lowered or removed, it returns to a liquid state and becomes slimy or gooey.

Let it Go Oobleck Activity#9: Let it go!

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • 3-5 qt. bowl
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • gloves, optional

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck together in the bowl.
  2. Pass Oobleck in between your hands and let it stretch out as you move your hands to different heights.

What you’ll learn:

When you dip your hands into Oobleck and allow it to melt off, you can experience the liquid state of this non-Newtonian liquid. When you do not exert force on Oobleck, gravity alone will act on it. This causes Oobleck to fall off one hand and onto the second hand below.

Colorful Oobleck Activity#8: Make it Colorful

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • gloves, recommended
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • 3-5 qt. bowl
  • liquid water colors
  • 2 C. plastic bowls

Activity:

  1. Put on gloves to prevent the water color from temporarily staining your hands.
  2. Mix Oobleck together in the bowl.
  3. Grab the Oobleck with a gloved hand and break off a piece.
  4. Add the Oobleck to your smaller plastic bowl.
  5. Add liquid water color to change the Oobleck color.
  6. Try combining two different colors to create a completely new color.
  7. Can you make orange, teal, brown or grey?

What you’ll learn:

When you grab Oobleck, you can break off a piece just by the force of action of your hand. Mix different colors and even create tie dye effects in your mixing bowl. Older children can be taught that mixing different colors together creates brand new colors, such as red and yellow creating orange.

Melt Oobleck Activity

#7: Get Melty

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • 3-5 qt. bowl
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck together in the bowl.
  2. Dip your hand in Oobleck slowly.
  3. Watch how the Oobleck melts off of your fingers.

What you’ll learn:

By slowly interacting with Oobleck, it will remain in a liquid state and stick to your hands like slime. Even though you are not exerting force on the Oobleck, gravity will pull the mixture down to the ground.

Surface Tension Oobleck Activity#6: Feel the Tension

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • 9-inch pie plate
  • 4 C. water
  • 8 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck together in the pie plate.
  2. Quickly slap the surface with your hand.
  3. Alternatively, try slowly sinking your hand into the pie plate to see what happens.

What you’ll learn:

When you quickly slap the surface, the Oobleck instantly firms up instead of allowing your hand to break through. This is due to the surface tension created by the tiny granules of corn starch suspended in water.

Walk on Oobleck Activity#5: Walk on it

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • large storage-type plastic bin
  • (3) 3.5 lbs. Clabber Girl Corn Starch Tubs
  • 1.5 tubs of water (use empty Clabber Girl tubs)
  • rubber gloves (optional)
  • chair
  • towels

Activity:

  1. Pour corn starch into bin, then slowly add in water.
  2. Use your hands to mix the Oobleck to the right consistency. You may want to wear rubber gloves while mixing the Oobleck together.
  3. Set up the station so that kids can remove their shoes, have help into the bin, walk across the surface, have help out of the bin and into a chair to wipe off their feet (if needed) and put on their shoes again.

What you’ll learn:

Oobleck is much like water-logged stand on a beach. If you quickly walk across the surface, you do not sink and may not even get any of the goo on your feet. However, if you stand still, you will start to sink into the mixture. This is due to the surface tension created by the tiny granules of corn starch suspended in water.

Heat Treatment Oobleck Activity#4: Heat Treatment

Age range: 10+

Supplies needed:

  • 5 qt. heat-safe bucket
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • hair dryer
  • 2 C. plastic bowls

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck together in the bucket.
  2. Heat Oobleck with a hair dryer on high for 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to touch the Oobleck as it will be hot!
  3. Try pouring the Oobleck into the smaller bowls, or just swirling it around the heat-safe bucket.
  4. Determine if the Oobleck becomes a solid or a liquid when heat is applied.

What you’ll learn:

When Oobleck is heated, it is more likely to stay in a liquid state even when force is applied. While in this slimy state, you can swirl it around the bowl and pour it more easily. If you let the Oobleck rest, its temperature will normalize, causing it to return to its normal state.

Freeze Treatment Oobleck Activity#3: Freeze Treatment

Age range: 6+

Supplies needed:

  • 3 qt. bowl
  • 8 C. water
  • 16 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • freezer

Activity:

  1. Mix Oobleck together in the bowl.
  2. Put Oobleck into freezer for two hours.
  3. You can make the Oobleck the night before and allow to freeze overnight, but take it out of the freezer 2-3 hours before you plan on using it.
  4. Build your own shapes out of the frozen mixture and stack the shapes to see how high you can go before it starts to melt.

What you’ll learn:

When Oobleck is frozen, it is more likely to stay in a solid state even while manipulated. While in this solid state, you have to use your hands to remove it from the bowl. Trying to force out the Oobleck with a scoop or other object won’t work as the Oobleck will seize up. However, the more you work with it, the heat from hands will transfer to the mixture, causing it to revert to its normal state.

Sink or Float Oobleck Activity#2: Sink or Float?

Age range: 3+

Supplies needed:

  • clear plastic bin (ours was 4-inches tall by 12-inches wide by 18-inches long)
  • enough Oobleck to fill the bin with 2-inches of corn starch goo
  • everyday waterproof objects such as bath toys, water bottles, silverware, action figures, etc.
  • sandbox tools (optional)

Activity:

  1. Pour corn starch into bin, then pour in water.
  2. Mix Oobleck together in the bin.
  3. Pick out several common objects and guess if they will sink or float.
  4. Place the object on top of the Oobleck and allow it to sit on the surface for 30 seconds.
  5. Record how the objects reacted once placed on the Oobleck and again after 30 seconds.

What you’ll learn:

This activity can help to demonstrate density of objects to children. It isn’t the size of the object that determines whether it will sink or float, but the object’s density. Heavier metal items are likely to sink after 30 seconds. Lighter or air-filled objects such as bath toys and action figures will stay on top of the surface. The plastic bin may also be the perfect shape for kids to experiment and dig in with sandbox tools.

De-Stress Oobleck Activity#1: De-stress

Age range: 10+

Supplies needed:

  • 2 funnels
  • straws, optional
  • 3-4 water bottles
  • colorful party balloons
  • 3-4 C. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
  • 1.5 – 2 C. water

Activity:

  1. Attach the opening of a balloon to the top of the bottle filled with Oobleck.*
  2. Flip the bottle over and squeeze the contents of the bottle into the balloon until it is 3/4 full.
  3. Take the balloon off the bottle, remove any extra air and tie off the balloon.
  4. Cut the end off of a second balloon, and cover the filled balloon to give it extra protection.
  5. Move the Oobleck inside the balloons. Try squishing it with your hands, rubbing it against a hard surface or stretching the balloon out.

*It is easiest to mix Oobleck in the water bottle instead of trying to add already mixed Oobleck to the bottle. Using a funnel, fill the water bottles with 1 C. of Clabber Girl Corn Starch each. You may use a straw to help get the corn starch to flow down the funnel. Once all of the bottles are filled with corn starch, slowly add in 1/2 C. of water. Put the cap onto the water bottle and shake to mix the Oobleck together.

What you’ll learn:

Oobleck flows slowly and cannot be forced from one vessel to another. If you try to scoop the Oobleck into a balloon, the force you exert on the vessel is likely cause the Oobleck to seize up. Once the Oobleck is added to the balloon, it can easily be manipulated, making it the perfect medium for a stress ball! Adding the second layer of balloon is essential as squeezing the balloon too hard or filling the balloon too much can result in leaks.