Slime has taken over as the must do activity for kids everywhere. It’s the new rainbow loom or Pokemon Go. Kids are loving making and playing with slime. Kids of all ages, especially tweens and teens are embracing this new trend, but like any activity there are tips and tricks, plus safety issues that kids and parents need to be aware of with slime.
Since slime has become so popular people everywhere are trying to make it. I discovered a new saline recipe in January and posted here where it instantly became popular. We unknowingly jumped on the slime train just at the right time. Our slime has been a huge hit. Not only here in our home where my son begged me to make him a batch after his fish died to help him deal with his grief and anxiety, but also in my community and around the world. The support and feedback has been amazing.
Why we love slime
Slime is an amazing tool for getting kids exploring chemistry and science, for sensory play, for anxiety and stress reduction (I’ve been known to use it myself as a stress ball!), and for getting kids off their devices and connecting with each other face to face. The stories I’ve heard have been so amazing and inspiring. This is one trend I love supporting!
We had so many slime failures!
Here’s the thing though, I mentioned it in the original recipe article, and I’m going to say it again: Our recent success making slime came after almost 2 years of failure. I must have tried well over 50 times in 2 years to make slime using the recipes I found online. All of them failed in some fashion or another.
So that’s what I thought I would share here today, some of my research and experiences learned over 2 years of trying to make slime.
WHAT I LEARNED – TIPS FOR SLIME SAFETY AND MAKING
The first thing I learned is to check the ingredients and learn as much as you can about them and why they are needed. There are so many different ways you can make slime. If you discover a recipe you think looks promising, google alternatives and see if there are any variations or tips specific to that recipe. Chances are many have made the recipe and you may pick up some valuable information.
Ingredients also vary widely, even from the same brands, based on where you live. Read labels. You’d be surprised how much things vary between countries.
Be very cautious with substituting any ingredients. Remember, the slime recipes posted used specific types of ingredients. Changing those can affect the chemical reaction or some alternatives may not be safe for use around kids.
For example the glue used by most people to make slime is Elmers White School glue which is non-toxic and washable. There are many glues on the market that are not safe, that come with extensive warnings about toxicity or not being safe for use around kids. So not only may these glues not work, they may not be safe.
Don’t substitute ingredients without doing a lot of research.
Even though the end product may be safe for kids, the process of making it may not be appropriate for kids. When dealing with chemical reactions the ratios are important and the process critical. Kids may skip steps, or mix up tablespoons and teaspoons, or even misunderstand which ingredients to use and use the wrong things. All of these could lead to either a slime fail, or worse a result that could cause harm. Adult supervision is critical.
If you are using laundry detergent, use common sense and caution. Many are not meant to come in contact with your skin as they will cause irritation. Read the labels if you are making a recipe using laundry detergent. Be aware that most laundry detergents will not even work for slime making.
Reactions and allergies
I have extensive allergies, highly sensitive skin, plus asthma and a severe heart condition. I need to be extremely cautious in all the ingredients I use.
For example, when I have used powered borax in the past either as laundry soap or in making crystals, it really irritated my sinuses and breathing. The powder gets into the air where I breath it in causing a reaction. Yet many amazing kids activities use borax and especially powered borax. Not to mention the many slime recipes that use borax as one of the ingredients.
I have not removed borax completely, but I do severely limit our use of it and I use a lot of caution. Especially in light of recent announcements such as here in Canada where our government warns against using borax in children’s activities. Do your research and be informed so you can make the best decision for your family.
Communicate with your children. If they start to experience any itching, redness, irritation, with any activity or experiment, slime or otherwise, stop immediately and take it away. I discovered most of my allergies accidentally playing with or eating normally “safe” things as a child. After a number of anaphylactic reactions I learned quickly to notice that early tingle and address it right away. Young children will need help identifying the warning signs of a reaction, so be on the alert for signs of a reaction.
The unexpected impact of soap
Soap is the enemy of slime. I spoke with a fellow mom the other day and she was saying how her slime would get really slimy and nasty every time her son played with it, but it was fine when she used it. We discovered it was because although her son was washing his hands, like many children he was not the most careful about completely rinsing and drying. That little bit of soap residue caused big issues!
Edible slimes are great fun, but use common sense. If you have young ones that may not understand that some slimes are edible and others are not, you may cause a lot of confusion for little ones. Some edible slimes are taste safe, but not actually edible. The consistency makes them prone to sticking in the mouth and possibly choking. Be safe. Perhaps your little one should wait a while before starting to use slime if they are still at the stage of putting everything in their mouth.
Saline Slime Tips
If you are making saline slime using my recipe note that you need to spend a lot of time kneading it to work in the saline. It will be sticky at first when it reaches the stringy point that shows it is ready to be kneaded, but after a few minutes (approximately 5 minutes as I noted in the original article) of working it, the stickiness will go away. If you use too much saline it will lose the stickiness faster, but the resulting slime will be prone to breaking. It takes time, but it is time well spent working the saline into your slime to ensure you get the most stretch.
Storing slime safely
Slime is not meant to be stored and used for long periods of time. I personally do not keep any slimes for more than one week if it is being played with. If the slime gets dirty or anyone that has touched it is sick, I immediately toss it out. Don’t put your kids at risk, make your slime, play with it for a day or two, then toss it out. Especially if multiple kids are playing with it such as in a classroom or daycare environment. It takes 5 minutes to make a batch of saline slime. When it is needed, make it, don’t store it.
Most of all, use common sense. If you have any concerns educate yourself so you can make the best decisions for your family.
Slime has so many amazing benefits, we just want to make sure kids are making it properly (and not dealing with years of failure frustrations like we did!) and using it safely.
Do you have any other tips for making slime? Or slime safety?
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