Guest Post from Teaching "Good" Eaters: Making Oobleck

I am so excited today because Julie from Teaching "Good" Eaters is here to share a fun and messy kids activity with us.  Over at Teaching "Good" Eaters, Julie helps all of us parents of picky eaters (I know I am not the only one!) find ways to make eating more fun and less stressful.  I am all for that and I always find plenty of good kid friendly recipes and ideas there.  

I am so pleased to be able to guest post here at “Mess for Less!” When I discovered Vicky’s blog, and saw the title, one thing stood out in my mind: Oobleck!  If there’s one thing that is both very messy, and very inexpensive- It is Oobleck.

So, what is Oobleck?  Named after the mysterious substance that falls from the sky in Dr. Seuss's "Bartholomew and the Oobleck," quite simply, it is cornstarch and water. However, when mixed in just the right ratio, the result is both a liquid and a solid. Apply pressure or friction and it acts like a solid. Remove the
pressure and it melts into a liquid.

To make Oobleck you need only two ingredients: cornstarch and water.  I used a ratio of one box of cornstarch to 1 ½ cups of water. Most recipes recommend a ratio of 2 parts cornstarch to one part water, but I often find it takes a little bit of experimentation to get it just right.

Start by putting your cornstarch into a bowl, bucket or bin.  Then, slowly add the water and mix it with your hands. Continue to mix the Ooblek, adding water, until you achieve a consistency that resists against your
hand when you pull it, but seems to melt when your hand relaxes.

The more kids who will be playing with the Oobleck, the larger your container should be and the more Oobleck you’ll want to have. I was going to have my three kids plus one of my neighbors, so I made 4 batches split into 2 large buckets.

My older kids have played with Oobleck before, but this was a first for my little one. He was a little unsure when he first put his hands in the Oobleck...

But it didn't take long before he was fully engaged in the fun! (Perhaps overly engaged? Check out the Oobleck in his hair!)

The kids spent quite a long time simply grabbing handfuls of Oobleck and letting it drip off their hands.

After a while, I joined in the fun and showed them that you could grab a handful and roll it into a ball...

and then, stop applying friction and allow it to melt.

If you punch Oobleck, it will react like a solid, and your hands will stay on top, but if you stop applying pressure, your hands will sink into the Oobleck.

After about an hour, we washed everyone off (a bucket of warm water did the trick) and came inside to do Oobleck dribble painting.

I thinned the Oobleck just slightly with a little bit more water and then added food coloring.

I covered the table with brown craft paper ($1 at Dollar Tree) and let the kids dip into the paint cups and dribble the Oobleck onto the paper with their fingers.

We threw away the paper when we were done, so we were sure to take lots of pictures to capture their art.

Have you ever played with Oobleck before? If not, I encourage you to give it try. You're kids will have a blast (and I bet you will too!) If you decide to try an "Oobleck Adventure," be sure to stop back and let use know how it went!

Thank you Julie!  How awesome was that?  I love how the kids made some colorful drip paintings after they were done playing with the Oobleck.  We will have to give it a try.  Please stop by Teaching "Good" Eaters for more great ideas like this one.  

Here are a few of my favorites from Julie:
There's Love in Your Lunch
Scaffold Your Way to a Healthier PB and J
Where to Start with Picky Eaters


  1. Looks fun! I just recently(this summer) discovered cornstarch & how awesome it is, as we made sidewalk chalk paint! SO much FUN! I posted the recipe on my blog, but I will have to try this little experiment with the kiddies soon. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks like tons of fun! I think we will wait until in warms up to try this outside.

  3. Iffy- Sidewalk chalk paint sounds like fun!

    JDanile4's Mom... I had told my kids they needed to wait until a warm day to do the Oobleck. My son never paid so much attention to the weather!! One day he came running downstairs- "Mom, Mom, they said it's going to be sunny today, we can do Oobleck!" If it never warmed up, I had considered doing it in the bathtub...

  4. You all are so creative...

    Checking Vicky to make sure you got what you needed for Friday, Dec. 2.

    Hope you had a great holiday.

  5. I just bought (got)a couple of pounds of cornstarch for FREE. Now I know what I am going to do with them. THANKS!

  6. Thanks for visiting me at SuburbiaMomma! You've got some great ideas as well! I look forward to learning from each other :) New follower!

  7. Amy- Free makes it even better! I couldn't really find any good deals on it- even though it was before Thanksgiving (which is the only time I would really ever expect anyone to have a sale on cornstarch) Since it's typically a dollar a box, I wasn't too upset. Hope you have fun with the Oobleck.

  8. Oh that does look fun! you are very good with children, I can tell!

  9. This is waaaay cute! What fun!!!

  10. Thanks Stacy. Whenever we've played with it before, my kids always end up wanting to dribble it out of the buckets. I finally decided to make that a more structured part of the play by adding paper and color. The results were really pretty.