We love oobleck. After our first time making it, even after doing many other experiments, the kids declared Oobleck their favourite sensory project ever! The best part is that this non-toxic, simple recipe takes only 2 ingredients and is ready in moments to start playing and learning some fascinating non-Newtonian Oobleck Science!
OOBLECK AKA GOOP OR MAGIC MUD
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Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid or liquid. Under pressure it behaves like a solid. But remove the pressure and it turns to liquid.
The stuff is bizarre, and crazy, and completely mesmerizing.
It combines science and sensory play into a perfect experience for all ages.
Although we have made it a few times, this last time we wanted to pump up the experimental value a bit and create our own oobleck science experiment. We decided to try two different recipes for making oobleck and compare the results.
Bubble Oobleck – Dishsoap Oobleck Recipe
The first batch we made with dish soap, it is sometimes called Bubble Oobleck. It started out looking like a promising oobleck but it very quickly became a paste and lost it’s non-Newtonian qualities. My kids quickly lost interest as the textures they love with oobleck simply didn’t hold up with this recipe.
We made a second batch and played with the ratios a bit, but with the same results. The good news is that clean up was a lot easier since it was half dish soap. There were bubbles everywhere!
We tried other recipes too, including using flour, baking soda and more. In fact we did a Science Fair project comparing all sorts of Oobleck recipes.
If you want to give this recipe a try, here is the most successful recipe we tried, but honestly I wouldn’t call Bubble Oobleck a success. Might need to spend more time experimenting with this one.
Bubble Oobleck Recipe
1 Cup Cornstarch
3/4 Cup Dish Soap
Bubble Oobleck Directions
Mix together using your hands. Have a helper on hand to add more cornstarch if it is too runny, or more dish soap if it is too dry. You will feel when it is ready. It will become solid when you squeeze it, then run like goopy liquid when you release the pressure.
Oobleck Recipe – The one that works!
ETA – This article is was originally written in 2015. Over the years we have made Oobleck sooooo many times, and this is the basis of all great Oobleck recipes and projects!
We also made a batch of our regular recipe oobleck, and as usual it was a huge hit. Each time we make it the kids make new discoveries and observations. This time they noted that when they balled up the oobleck then threw it into the bowl it hit the other oobleck like a solid on solid, before slowly melting into liquid again and mixing back in. As usual, the kids enjoyed placing it under pressure, tearing it, then letting it ooze again.
Another great discovery this time was that they could make sculptures with the oobleck if he worked it quickly by throwing and flicking. It was pretty cool to watch. It stacked up almost like magic. Check out the middle image to see what I mean.
Easy Oobleck Recipe
It’s crazy simple, and the results are soooo cool! All you need is:
2 Cups of Cornstarch
1 Cup Warm Water
A Few Drops of Food Coloring (optional but awesome!)
Large Bowl or Pie Plate
Mix the cornstarch and water together with your hands so you can feel when it is all mixed and ready to play. Again it will become solid under pressure, then liquefy when pressure is removed. It helps if you can have a helper ready to add a little water or cornstarch if you feel it needs it.
Coloring your oobleck is simple, simply add a few drops of food coloring during the mixing process.
My little guys played with this for over an hour and the oobleck was still going strong. They really love this stuff. It is fascinating. Try slapping it, and it stays solid!
NOTE: Never put Oobleck down the drain or you will get a BIG bill from the plumber as it can harden and clog the pipes. Simply scrape it into the garbage and then wash everything with lots of water. If it falls on the floor, let it dry. The water will evaporate, leaving just the cornstarch powder which you can sweep up.
I warned you, this stuff is crazy weird.
If you tap, slap or hit the surface of Oobleck it will feel hard, because it forces the cornstarch particles together and increases it’s viscosity. However, if you slowly press your hand into the mixture your hand slides in as easily as through water. Moving slowly gives the cornstarch particles time to move out of the way. Oobleck and other pressure-dependent substances (like Silly Putty or quicksand) are not liquids in the normal sense of how water and oil are liquids. They are known as non-Newtonian fluids. The name comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck and we have a special Oobleck activity celebrating that book that also uses Lego. So fun!
Oobleck Classroom Lessons:
We use this experiment to discuss states of matter. Kids love the immediate relationship between solid and liquid.
Another lesson is learning how not only does temperature affect states of matter, but pressure and force can also affect a matter’s state.
Discuss Newton’s theories around fluid dynamics, and why this is a non-Newtonian liquid. Plus, you can dig in to learn more about Issac Newton and his incredible life and discoveries.
Oobleck is also a wonderful sensory experience. It seems to really fill a need for my kids when it comes to their sensory diet.
So next time the kids are bored, whip up a batch of oobleck and let them learn by gooing! It is an amazing science activity that should be in your toolbox for keeping the kids busy this summer.
MORE OOBLECK RECIPE SCIENCE!
We couldn’t stop at just this one oobleck recipe. We decided to dig deep and test a bunch of different ingredients to see how it affected our non-Newtonian Fluid and the results SHOCKED us! There is an even better oobleck recipe that doesn’t use cornstarch.
Check out our Oobleck Science investigation to see how all the ingredients did and which one was the clear winner.
More Oobleck Projects That Will WOW!
Color Changing Oobleck – Check out this video!
Happy exploring with this amazing sensory science!