Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ooblek at Family Functions

I did Ooblek on a smaller scale than the video that Viola posted below. Just a cup or two of it (recipe below) in a tupperware container. It was a big hit with the daughter and nephews on Christmas day. I gathered them around the sink and rolled small balls of ooblek to put in their hands. At my direction, they kept it rolling between their palms for a few seconds then stopped. As the balls melted into piles of goo, their eyes went wide, and smiles played across their faces. Sure, electric keyboards were fun, but so were 20 cents worth of cornstarch and water. It blew their young (3-8 year old) minds just a tiny bit. Watching the video (below) after they'd played with it blew their minds a tiny bit more. Never again will they draw a firm line between solid stuff and liquid stuff. At any minute anything in the room - the TV, their shoes, their dog - might melt into a pile of goo. And if blowing a kid's mind isn't awesome, what is?

Recipe for Standard Oobleck from

Oobleck is not a precise recipe - it is basically a thick solution of water and corn starch - with food coloring to suite yourself. Put together roughly equal amounts of each. If you can stir it, add more corn starch. The thicker the solution the harder it will become to stir the solution together. You may have to leave it to soak together. Pick it up in the spoon and you'll have chunks, but as the tension releases you'll see them go back to liquid.

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