Saturday, May 7, 2011

Liquid or solid?! Oobleck play.

Ty and I finally got around to making and playing with a classic kid (and adult) favorite, Oobleck! Oobleck is made from a combination of cornstarch and water and is considered non-Newtonian, as it is both a solid and a liquid. When sitting in whatever container you decide to use, it is a solid mass. When you dig at it to break it up (applying pressure) it instantly becomes a liquid, sliding through your fingers or pouring out of a cup/scoop/spoon. I delighted in making this amazing and fun concoction when working with little one's in daycare years ago. I dare you to try to keep your hands out of it! For the mess-phobic, you may want to take this one outside, though I have to say it does clean quite easily with water.

To make Oobleck, combine 1/2 cup water with 1 cup cornstarch. Adding food coloring is optional. I've always found it interesting to play around with the amount of water and cornstarch while we play as well.

Tyler found Oobleck quite interesting, but wasn't sure he wanted to touch it. When he did try, he was much too unsure and ginger with his touch to dig in and scoop anything up as needed.

So I provided him with a wooden spoon and a measuring cup. He had much more success experimenting this way, and though he didn't want it on his hands, covering his feet with it was quite fun!

Ty was still able recognize the liquid/solid aspect of Oobleck, even without touching it. He was quite intrigued by the fact that he would pour the liquid into the dish, drop the cup into it, and the cup stayed on top rather than sinking in. He noticed as well that it looked like a liquid when in the dish, as it appears wet, but touching it with is hand gave him a different message.  

  By the end, Tyler wanted me to dribble the Oobleck over his hand. Yay! Perhaps next time he'll dig in!

As an extension to this play, there is a classic prose work by Dr. Seuss called Bartholomew and the Oobleck. In this Caldecott Honor book, a king who is bored with the everyday weather asks his royal magicians for a different kind of precipitation. What he gets is sticky green Oobleck falling from the sky, and hence, all over his kingdom! In the end, the king's Page, Bartholomew, then teaches the king a valuable social lesson...saying sorry. Highly recommended!

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