Isaac came home from school last week with a project.  He was to build a craft that would float on oobleck and carry a payload.  “Oobleck?”, I said.  “Yeah Dad, it’s this great stuff….”.  Whatever…huh….oobleck…back when I was a kid we didn’t have oobleck…and we walked to school…huh.  Anyhow, we built a ship to float and carry stuff but I figured water would be good enough…if it floats on water, we are golden.

Isaac’s craft did very well in the competition and he remained excited about this oobleck stuff.  We decided to make some, just so I can see what all the fuss is about.  I consulted the old intertoobs to find the recipe. 

So…before I say more…no matter whether you have kids at home or you are a solo adult, you MUST make this stuff!  Okay, so get this…all you do is mix 1 cup of water and 2 cups of corn starch in a wide baking dish.  See that big tub of corn starch? Only $2.38 at Sam’s! You’ll have plenty left over! Anyhow, you’ll have to mix it with your hands.  Just grab a handful of it and squish it in your hands…just like walking barefoot in the cow pasture!  I mean it now…adult or kid, you have to make this stuff…go try it…go on…I’ll wait!

Isn’t that the greatest stuff in the universe?!  We had an absolute blast squeezing it in our hands so it became solid, only to release the pressure and have it go back to a liquid state.  It’s incredible to play with.  Throw it in the air, float it in water…it’s amazing stuff!  We made a first-class mess on the table playing in it! We also learned some stuff too.  Technically, oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid which means it doesn’t react like normal fluids such as water or Mt Dew!  Instead, oobleck exhibits the dilatant effect, which means it becomes more viscous (thicker/more solid) when agitated or compressed.  

windows version if above doesn’t work

windows version if above doesn’t work

windows version if above doesn’t work

Here is a really great link explaining the age appropriate science behind oobleck if you are interested.

We also learned that there are other uses for non-Newtonian fluids including liquid armor.  Incredible!

Ok, so if you aren’t yet persuaded to make some of this stuff, check out these youtube videos of it.  We tried to make the oobleck dance on a subwoofer but we couldn’t get it to work.  In other news, I do have to replace all of my family room windows!

11 thoughts on “Oobleck

  1. I think I am the only person on earth who had never heard of this stuff?! It is sooo cool to play with. We have a lot more corn starch in the container…the kids and I had a real blast messing with it!

  2. We love this stuff! I was going to tell you they are testing using it in armor but you already found that out. When I taught high school I used to make it for my students to play with as a reward.

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  3. YD and Chris…glad I am not alone…but you have to try it…It seems stupid at first until you get it just right and it starts behaving as it is supposed to…you’ll know as soon as you apply pressure (squeeze in your hands)!

    Christy O – I am not sure how I made it without seeing this before…I am sure your students loved it!

    ETW – there are more non-N fluids too…I’d love to mess with them…I saw some other recipes out on the internets and think I may play some…I can’t wait!

    Not because I didn’t do it as a KID, but I was wondering why an intelligent person like yourself would do it?

  5. Looks like SO much fun! I had the boys come over and watch the videos, they really want to try this sometime soon. I wish I had an old water tank to fill it up with, haha.

    And you know what, it wasn’t but maybe a month ago that I first heard of oobleck also.

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