Friday, July 31, 2009

Feelie Goop




Wow! This was a huge hit with the kids. But, I must warn you, this project is not for the faint of heart!  Expect a little bit of a mess.  However, the mess will be well worth it since this project is a lot of fun for moms and kids alike.  

I wanted to post this project before the summer is over because it is a perfect project to do outside. It takes very little preparation and clean up isn't too bad. However, I personally wouldn't want to do this in the house. (No matter how many rags I put down!)

Description: This is a great tactile, sensory project with tons of open-ended possibilities. Cornstarch mixed with water has some very unique physical properties that can not properly be described in words.   (You have to feel it to believe it!)  When clumped into your hands, the mixture turns into a soft solid.  When pressure is released it seemingly melts into a liquid.)  liquid as it pours from a spoon.

The Science Behind this Concoction:
If you are interested in the science behind this substance, see this article here.  

Materials:
2 cups Cornstarch 
1 cup water 
Heavy baking pan or dish tub (1 per child...tots don't like to share!)
plenty Spoons, Measuring Cups, and other kitchen tools (we used whisks and sandbox rakes)
food coloring

Preparation:
Set a table up outside for older toddlers. Or, for very young toddlers, you might just set up everything on the ground. (That way the toddler can walk around and really feel, see, and manipulate the goop.)

On the table set a measuring cup full of cornstarch, another measuring cup full of water. The author suggests that you pre-measure 2 cups of cornstarch (per child) and 1 cup of water (per child). The measurements don't have to be precise...so I didn't do this. Since I only had two toddlers, I let them help in the measuring and pouring part too.

Next to the table, the author suggest having a bucket of soapy water and a sponge for clean up. (Kids love to help out in the clean up process!) I just brought out a hose and a few old towels. Some kids will love getting their hands in the goop, while others are more tentative and preferred to have you clean them off throughout the project. Just follow the child's lead and let them determine how they want to "experience" the goop. You will also want to dress the kids in some old clothes that you won't mind if they get messed up.

Process:
1) Stand at the table and allow the child to feel the dry corn starch. They might enjoy measuring it, pouring it, feeling it between their fingers, "poofing" it into a cloud. etc.
2) Have the child help you pour the water into the dry cornstarch. Have the child help you mix the two ingredients using their hands or a spoon.
3) Feel the difference between the dry cornstarch and the new goopy substance. Allow the children to explore the substance with small "pouring" cups, spoons, whisks, etc. Basically, any other fun kitchen utensils you can find.
4) For added fun, allow the child to squeeze some food coloring into the mixtures. Slowly stir it up and watch the color swirl around. Allow the child to choose the color they want to mix into their goop. And, if they want, mix a second or third color in. Talk about how different colors mix together to make other colors. (Yellow and Red make Orange, Blue and Green make Teal, Red and Blue make Purple, etc.) And...mostly likely, you will end up with beautiful gray goop by the end of the process. :)
5) MOST IMPORTANTLY: Follow the kids lead and avoid trying to control the process. (I know! This is hard for us moms!) Some kids may not like getting their hands messy. That is fine. Respect that choice...and perhaps in a couple of weeks bring the goop out again and let them try again. Some kids will simply want to pour their pan of goop out immediately instead of experimenting enough for our taste. Let them do this and know that cornstarch cleans up VERY easily with a little water. Like all open-ended art, this project is impossible to do incorrectly or mess up.

Notes:
Cornstarch is non-toxic. It tastes terrible, but won't harm children who can't resist tasting the mixture.

This picture cracks me up because right when I went to snap it both kids snuck a taste.

Our Experience:
The kids loved this process. While the pictures might not convey this (because of all of the sloppy, fun, mess!) playing in this dough was a very calming thing for the kids. They both were in full concentration mode as the played with the goop. This project kept us busy for a LONG time.

Feeling the Goop in his palms:

Feeling the Goop with his feet LOL (gotta leave it to a little boy to think of this!):

Sophia makes orange:

Mixing:

Pouring:


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