For our homeschooling activity this month we made slime. We’ve done this before, but I’ve always used the recipe that calls for Borax. This time we made slime with liquid starch instead, since I’ve discovered that it creates a stretchy pliable material that I prefer to my traditional Borax slime recipe.
We talked very briefly about the science behind making slime, the way that the liquid polymers in the glue are bound together by the liquid starch. We’d gone into more detail about this at an earlier activity club when we made slime with Borax, so I did not feel it needed an in depth review.
In addition to being a fun activity, it was also an experiment. The slime directions I was using, found here called for clear glue. I was reasonably certain that regular glue would also work, but I didn’t know for sure, and when I tried it at home with the only glue I had (wood glue), it didn’t work, so there was some element of uncertainty. I decided I’d have the kids try both types of glue so they could discuss differences (if there were any) and see if one type of glue made a better slime. As it turned out, they both worked about equally well. As you can see in the picture above, the only real difference was in the color quality. The clear glue produced vivid translucent color, while the white glue created pastel colors.
We mixed more or less equal parts clear glue and liquid starch, plus some liquid watercolors and glitter to make the slime more interesting. The original directions say to add the starch a little at a time, and when I made a practice batch (since it’s never a good idea to try something out with an expectant audience), that’s exactly what I did. However, when it came time to make it with the group, I ended up just splashing the liquid starch into their bowls, since it made the sharing of the starch bottle easier. I would definitely recommend the slower method. It took much longer and a lot more stirring and kneading to get the slime to really come together when we put a lot of starch in at once. This is good to know because I want to re-use this activity as one of my summer science crafts, where I will be working with a much larger group that might not adapt well to patiently stirring.
The original website I found the recipe at indicated that if you had straws, you could blow bubbles with the slime. Of course we had to try it. Getting the hang of it took a little more concentration than the kids were expecting, and the younger members struggled a bit. But we did have some great success once they figured it out, and the adults had some fun blowing bubbles for the younger crowd. (As you can see in the picture, I provided gloves for the children who wanted to play with the slime, but didn’t want to actually touch it.)