Monday, 24 March 2008

This WILL get messy

Those of you who were traumatised at the sight of our floury moon craters should look away now ...

Last week was the Science Festival in Cambridge, an annual event packed with some imaginative and exciting activities for little and big people. Unfortunately mine were felled by colds so we couldn't quite face dragging into town and fighting the crowd; instead I remembered the fabulously weird properties of cornflour in water I'd seen described at PlanetScience (a brilliant resource for anyone wanting to make a lot of mess), and that Simmy had told me about a few posts back - so we laid out a mat and got on with it. I learned about colloidal solutions at school and university but I'd never seen it in action before.

Oh My Goodness.

Once we'd got the proportions right - the recommended 8 eggcups cornflour to 4 eggcups water was a bit thin - we could scoop it up and roll it into balls (solid phase)


then open up our hands and watch as it behaved like a liquid and ran through our fingers.





People, there was food colouring. There was flour all over the floor. There was a LOT of laughing, and we even had to save the flour bowl for Mr DC to play with when he got home.


We embedded eggcups in the goop and found that if we pulled them hard they would stick fast, but if we were more gentle the flour particles would not stick together and the cup could come free. Quicksand, anyone?

The finale was a viewing of the Brainiac Walking on Custard clip which explains it far better than I have just done!

25 comments:

  1. Hi this continues to be a favourite with my family. It is also a regular activity in children's pre-schools in the UK...where it is known as 'GLOOP'!

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  2. You are truly brilliant! I wish I lived near you so we could come and play "science" too!!!!

    What was your final ingredient ratio? (just incase I'm ever brave enough to try it myself!)

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  3. Hello Kate - Oh, so *that's* what gloop is - my little ones have come home and told me they have played in gloop but I didn't know what it was. Doing this with a roomful of toddlers would take more courage than I have ...

    Hello Lucy - I am not sure what the ratio was in the end - probably an extra eggcup of cornflour but basically we kept adding flour and water till the consistency seemed right - and believe me, you'll know when it is ;-)

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  4. I remember doing this with the kids at toddler group once - it really is the most amazing stuff to play with. Long after the kids had wandered off us 'grown-ups' were still playing with it!

    Great stuff DC :)

    xx

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  5. Messy it6 migth have been but what glorious fun, and it was even educational as well. How much better could it get? Well done you for braving the gloopity, sloopery, slippery stuff.

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  6. I think I might have to have a go myself - does anyone want to lend me some preschoolers so that I have an excuse??

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  7. How fun! Love the green. Thanks for posting the video -- it was really fun to watch!

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  8. I'm laughing at Alice wanting preschoolers - I was literally elbowing my boys out of the way last time we did this.

    Hubby and I have just had a squabble about whether cornflower gloop is thixotropic or dilatant. Sciece nerds of the world unite!!

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  9. Priceless Val! Loved the brainiac clip - hubby used to watch a lot this in the UK.(although that may have had something to do with all the scantily clad ladies). I have only one other thing to add. Are you crazy, this is definitely an OUTSIDE activity, never, never indside! See, it's no fun in my house!

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  10. What huge fun Val... wish I could have come to play!!!
    Loved the Brainiac clip too. My boys once convinced Joe (who will eat anything - it's a favourite game to see what disgusting stuff they can get him to eat)) he should try to eat a mouthful of cornflour - you can imagine the result! We thought his mouth would be gummed up forever.
    xx

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  11. Wow, so cool! And the you tube is really funny.

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  12. Hello! Hope you had a good Easter. We love the old cornflour and water mix! I made huge bowls of it for little sister's Shrek party last year, they pretended it was Shrek swamp! I love that brainiac's clip, thanks
    Kimx

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  13. Hello :)

    I was obsessed with doing this as a child, whether it was Mum making Bird's custard or making a paste to add to the cooking pot to make gravy I always had to play with the strange stuff.

    Sorry I haven't been around but I hope you had a lovely Easter - cornflour and all!

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  14. ooo! seriously messy but good fun!
    Jane x

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  15. That looks like great fun - we may have to have a go at that one wet weekend when I'm feeling brave.

    I'm afraid I'm a big Big Brother fan (especially the earlier series) so I know all about how entertaining Jon Tickle can be!

    x

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  16. This used to be a firm favourite in our household too! I'm sure they use a special name for it (other than gloop) at school - I will be on a mission to find it out!

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  17. L has been going on about doing this so I guess I should pull myself together and let her later on this week. It looks like great fun!

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  18. I love fun amid mess. And sometimes including the cleanup afterwards...well sometimes. :-)

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  19. We did moonsand at home and the kids, the kitchen, myself and every surface nearby were all a hilarious mess. Isn't great creating those memories?! Blessings... Polly

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  20. we used to play with this lots, never dyed it green though.....!
    and we called it goop?

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  21. why is it that all the most fun activities involve large amounts of mess and that clearing up the mess is never quite as much fun as making it? You are my hero for braving the mess and having fun with your girls and I vow to try and be more like you! Amy and I loved the custard video!

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  22. I love this stuff! We call it 'oobleck' (as in the Dr. Seuss book). This is great for teachers, if you're ok with the mess! I did this when I was teaching a unit on Dr. Seuss in kindergarten, and we read 'Bartholomew and the Oobleck' and then made the oobleck (with green food coloring, so it matches the illustrations). The kids loved it! And the great thing is works so well for any age - the explanation just gets more detailed as the kids get older...

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  23. Hello Kitty - no need to be ashamed of watching Big Brother - though I didn't see the series with Jon Tickle so he is new to me!

    Hello Clara - the cleanup was far easier than I expected - when we pushed the splashes they turned solid and we just picked them up!

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  24. I can't tell you how many times I've played with gloop. It's AMAZING!!!

    Me and daughter drove past the science park on the way home from my mum's. She says 'WOW, mum they have a SCIENCE THEME PARK here - that's so cool'. I didn't have the heart to shatter her dreams, let her think of DNA roller coasters, and intestine helter skelters....

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  25. The clip is great and so is your attempt to make a mess... sorry... I mean to play science! I’m unfamiliar with gloop or whatever it is called.

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