Milk and juice are liquids: they flow, and they don’t hold their shape. Wood and rocks are solids: they hold their shape, and they don’t flow.
But slime is different. When you pour it, it flows like a liquid. But when you squeeze it or slap it, it feels like a solid.
All the stuff in the universe – even you! – is made of tiny pieces called molecules, which are far too small to see. The molecules that make up glue are shaped like long chains. These long chains can slide around each other, so glue can flow – it’s a liquid. But when you add sodium borate, those molecules link the chains up side by side, like the wooden slats that link railroad tracks together. Now the chains can’t slide around each other anymore. The substance is now slime.
Kids love playing with slime, and there are reasons to believe it’s good for their developing brains. Playing with slime, water, or playdough is referred to as tactile play, part of the broader category of sensory play – so called because it engages the senses and helps a child learn how to use them.
You can learn much more about something if you use all your senses. Sensory play encourages cognitive development, helping a child learn concepts like quantity and classification. It provides practice for motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It can help children manage anxiety and feel more grounded. Plus, it’s fun!
Make Your Own Slime
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Clear School Glue
- 1 to 3 drops Food Coloring (optional)
- 1/4 cup Halloween Glitter
- 1 tablespoon Baking Soda
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Saline Solution that contains both boric acid and sodium borate
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Cup
- Mix clear school glue with water in a bowl.
- Add the food coloring until you’ve reached your desired color. Add the Halloween glitter. Mix well.
- Slowly add 1/4 tsp of baking soda at a time and mix well.
- Add one tablespoon of saline solution at a time and mix vigorously until the mix gets sticky and starts to pull off the bowl.
- Remove from bowl and knead with hands
Important: Wash your hands after playing with slime, since sodium borate can irritate your eyes. And don’t pour your slime down the drain! It will clog up the pipes.
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Grant Harding is a puppeteer with a degree in biology and a passion for education and the environment. Follow Grant on Twitter, or check out his website.
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