Grab your cornstarch and water – this Valentine’s oobleck is going to rock your kids world!
Maybe you’re a big fan of oobleck like I am – or maybe you’re saying, what the heck is Valentine’s oobleck and why does it look so messy?
Oobleck, a term that was named after a Dr Seuss book according to the all mighty google, is a non-newtonian fluid. In other words, it acts as both a solid and a liquid! This substance is simple to make but oodles of fun to play with at any age (yes, I enjoy oobleck activities just as much as the kids do). It’s a quick, easy sensory activity that the kids love and the kids loving it is the main reason I set up our valentine’s oobleck. Oobleck can turn into a mess pretty quick, however it’s easily vacuumed when dry and usually washes away easily with water.
We use our Ikea Flisat table for almost all of our sensory play so that’s what you’ll see in photos of our Valentine’s oobleck. If messes are a source of anxiety for you, or you aren’t in the mood for cleaning, you could easily do this valentine’s oobleck in the bathtub and then end it with a shower. Or outdoors near a hose if you live somewhere warm enough!
- Corn starch
- Red food colouring
- Ikea Flisat Table
- Heart shaped cookie cutters
- Heart shaped lacing beads
- Heart shaped gems
- Various kitchen utensils
Oobleck on its own is cheap, quick and easy: all you need is corn starch and water. The generic recipe is 1 cup of corn starch with 2 cups of water, and you can absolutely double, triple or quadruple that recipe and beyond. For an Ikea Flisat table you’ll need a good couple cups of corn starch for a layer on either side: for this valentine’s oobleck, I used 3 or 4 cups of corn starch total and it gave me a super thin layer on both bins.
If you want to colour it as I did you’ll want to add a few drops of food colouring to the water prior to adding corn starch. You could add it after if you forget but you’ll have a much easier time mixing the colouring into your Valentine’s oobleck if it’s added to just the water first.
While I know some do activities like this Valentine’s oobleck as a science lesson to teach the properties and science behind oobleck, in this house they’re mainly a way for me to have an hour without someone climbing on me or asking for a snack.
If you did want to be involved with it, some questions to ask to further the sensory learning part of oobleck could be:
“How does the oobleck feel running through your fingers?”
“What happens when you try to make the valentine’s oobleck into a ball?”
“Wow, look at how the oobleck runs through this funnel!”
“Can you think of other items that feel/act the same way as oobleck?”
If you wanted to focus on the science aspect of the valentine’s oobleck, some points to focus on could be:
- Is oobleck a liquid, a solid or it’s own category?
- How does oobleck react to different stirring and pouring speeds?
- How do different objects sit on the oobleck? (IE do they sit on top of, or do they sink into?)
- How does oobleck react to different actions – stirring, hitting, scooping…
- Does oobleck change or stay the same if we add more water to it?
- Does oobleck change it’s state into more solid, or more liquid, the longer we play with it?
Focusing on the science of it or not, this valentine’s oobleck is the perfect activity for a quiet morning – I used it as a way to drink a cup of hot coffee for once.
Looking for more easy activities? Check out some of the ones below!
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