Learn how to make oobleck for this melting snowman activity. Study non-Newtonian fluids and build fine motor and sensory skills all while having fun! A fantastic hands on science project that is fun for all ages.
We love playing with Oobleck. It is a fascinating substance that has so many cool uses. When made correctly it is also incredibly calming and soothing. This time we wanted to create something really fun. The result was this super cool Melting Snowman Oobleck, which turned into such a fun game. Kind of like a minute to win it science game.
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What is Oobleck?
Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that is absolutely fascinating to play with. It becomes solid under pressure and liquefies when the pressure is removed. This is due to a process called sheer thickening. Essentially, oobleck is a suspension which means the molecules are floating around in the liquid. When pressure is applied, those molecules pack tightly, which causes it to solidify. Once the pressure is released the molecules can flow and move again.
We’ve played some fun games with oobleck in the past such as this Halloween inspired spooky spider oobleck plus hide and seek oobleck where the kids are blindfolded and need to find and identify items in the oobleck. This melting snowman oobleck was so much fun, the kids ranked it up with our all time favourites – Colour Changing Oobleck and Glow in the Dark Oobleck!
This time we wanted something new. It’s winter and really cold out. Too cold to even build a snowman, the snow won’t pack. So we decided to bring our snowman indoors and create an oobleck snowman. The best part? Watching the snowman melt!
How To Make Oobleck
It is really easy to make Oobleck. The most popular recipe uses 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water. And this recipe is just fine. But we recently did an in depth investigation into oobleck recipes and found a much better recipe that creates a far superior oobleck. Instead of cornstarch we use potato starch.
Melting Snowman Oobleck Supplies
2 Cups Potato Starch
1 Cup Warm Water
Decorations – buttons, googly eyes, foam pieces, small sticks or dowels, etc.
Melting Snowman Oobleck
Start by making your oobleck. In the large bowl add 2 cups of potato starch and 1 cup of warm water. Mix slowly with a spoon until it is combined and behaving like a non-Newtonian Fluid. This means it will become solid under pressure and liquefy when you remove the pressure. If it is too liquid, add a bit more potato starch. If it is too thick, add a bit more water. Make sure you mix completely. This becomes harder as it becomes a non-Newtonian Fluid.
Now it’s game time!
We found it really hard for my son to do this by himself. Heck it was hard for me to keep up the pressure so my snowman didn’t melt before I could get him decorated! So you may want to do this in teams, especially with younger kids. Once they start to master the idea, they will want to try it by themselves.
The idea is to keep the oobleck under pressure so it stays solid like a snowball while you put the decorations on to turn it into a snowman. Then when you are ready set it down and watch your snowman melt!
Check out this video of our Melting Snowman Oobleck
What Are We Learning With Melting Snowman Oobleck
This activity is great for learning about states of matter (solid/liquid), fluid dynamics and specifically non-Newtonian Fluid. You can dig more into the science of oobleck with this article. This is a great approach to take with your older kids to really up the science lessons.
For all ages, this activity works on coordination, fine motor skills, and provides sensory inputs. If you work in teams you will also be developing team work and communication skills. Plus of course we are having fun learning! Since oobleck is non-toxic and taste safe you can do this melting snowman oobleck with preschoolers, or up the challenge for your tweens and teens and delve into the science of fluid dynamics while challenging them to make their snowman before it melts. The more oobleck they hold the harder it is to do, plus the more pieces you add the harder it gets. So challenge those older kids with this activity too! They will definitely have fun!
Have fun exploring winter science!