Slimey – Ooh, Ah, Ohhhhhh….
This is the first edition of my Science Playdates series!
For the past three years, I have been running some really fun classes in local park districts. I’ve felt like some of the stuff we have been doing is so cool that it should be shared with the masses- so here you go! I love the idea of hosting a playdate with a science purpose! So here’s to inspiring you to organize some activities for the kids in your lives and to the reward of seeing them super excited about science!
If you are a parent, a teacher, a camp counselor, a babysitter, or someone that just likes science, I started these playdates for you; so that you can do these fun activities at home, camp, or school with your own kids or groups of kids!
Here’s the plan! It is structured like a class. You can of course adjust the class to suit your own playdate’s needs! Just have fun with it!
General Course Plan:
If you are going to do this playdate with more than a few kids- I highly recommend getting an assistant. I usually ran these classes with up to 14 kids. I would often hire a local teenager or another teacher that would help with set up and clean up. This particular class is VERY messy, so helpers are key. I ran my classes in park district venues that were great because I didn’t have to mess up my own house! You can certainly do these activities at home, just be ready for the mess!
Before kids arrive:
Set up the activities (listed below) with all of the materials ready to go. Have name tags (if needed) pre-written, and a roster ready to check off (if there will be many kids). Note location of bathrooms for hand-washing and bathroom breaks. Goggles are preferred for this class.
Love these: Link: http://amzn.to/2rEzen1
Have water pitchers or water source ready for experiments and rinsing.
Start the playdate:
If you will be having a group of kids, I recommend being formal with them and treating the playdate as if it is a class. You will have more engagement from the kids if you are acting as a teacher.
- Introductions-What is slime? How does it work? Talk about polymers, cross-linking, etc…
- Introductions- names, age, school attending
- How is science used for slime? What is slime? Talk about polymers and how liquids flow and when you mix certain things together they get caught in each other and slow down the flow…. this will happen in several of the slimes.
Move to table(s):
Pre-assign 2-3 groups- talk about messes and clean up. Talk about fun and responsibility! Each time you make a slime you will clean up in between and they can help each time. Talk about not making this mess in their house, they get to do it here, and that we still have to respect the home/park/facility by cleaning up.
For each slime, get at least one bin to make it in and then a place to throw waste in and rinse it out. I like the simple white bins from the dollar store. These would also work and be very durable and reusable: http://amzn.to/2smfuUZ
Here are the slimes that you can make with your group. There are many more slimes out there! Here are a few that are tried and tested by me, Jen B, The Science Lady!
1. Snow– water and snow. Do this one in a plastic champagne glass- do in 3 batches so each group has enough to play with. Use the white bins to contain the mess!
Here is the snow that I like: http://amzn.to/2sqiBMv
2. Moon dough– flour and baby oil (8:1)- one small bag of flour to about 1 cup of baby oil – I buy these items at the dollar store!
3. Fluffy stuff- 2 boxes corn starch: 1 can shaving cream- also buy at dollar store!
4. STEM activity: Ooblek- water and corn starch- what makes the best batch? Give each group a bin with a pile of corn starch. Tell them to add (some number) of dixie cups of water- what happens?
Then have them change the formula. Tell them to add water slowly (in some number of dixie cups) to see what gives the coolest Ooblek. Usually you need less water than you would think. If they go too far you can add a little cornstarch to their bin. Ooblek should flow but get hard when you push on it. It is a non-Newtonian fluid. I guarantee this is an easy, safe, and awesome slime. I use this slime with kindergartners and high-schoolers- every one loves it!
5. Gak- Borax- free slime. I usually do this one as a “take-home” slime. Kids get a Ziploc or a Tupperware container to take their creation home with them. I posted a similar recipe on a recent post: https://the-science-party.com/slime-time-slime-thats-fun-and-easy/
Here’s the recipe I’ve used with my class: In a dixie cup, take a blob of glue and a glug of liquid starch (clearly these are not exact amounts- and don’t need to be!). I have them stir with a Popsicle stick. Once a slime has formed, they pour off the extra liquid into a waste bin and then they can keep their slime in their cup- or they can transfer it to a container to take home!
You can dress up the slime with glitter, food coloring, or start with glitter glue. Even add tiny sytrofoam balls to make it super cool and awesome.
Here’s a link for some slime additives: http://amzn.to/2smaDTK
Have fun with it! It’s very safe and fun to play with!
6. Dinosaur dig– Frozen snow. You need to make this slime at least a day in advance because it is frozen. I buy disposable pie plates, baking soda, cheap objects from the dollar store, and water droppers for this experiment. Kids will be digging for treasure like a scientist would! Basically, I add a layer of small toys from the dollar store- like jacks, little cars, mini-dinosaurs, etc…. Then I cover them with baking soda, carefully add water, add more baking soda to make sure everything is covered, then put the pie plates in the freezer. When frozen, they are ready to excavate!
Set up cups of water and cups of vinegar- probably one cup of each for each group. They should have some sort of dropper to melt/react the frozen pie plates. They get a pie tin with the buried treasures and then get to have some fun digging! Popsicle sticks could be useful too to pick out their artifacts. They get to keep their treasures- they can be put in a Ziploc or Tupperware container to go!
It’s a Wrap!
At the end of the play-date, I would have the kids help clean up and then vote on their favorite slime. You might be surprised by which one is their favorite! Take some pictures and post them!
Here’s your Amazon.com shopping list!
These are all products I’ve used or a product similar to one I’ve used:
- Goggles: Love these: Link: http://amzn.to/2rEzen1
- Here is the snow that I like: http://amzn.to/2sqiBMv
- White bins for messes: http://amzn.to/2smful
- I buy a big gallon of glue: Link: http://amzn.to/2qAS3Ua
- I like this liquid starch: http://amzn.to/2qANclF
- These mini dinosaurs would be great for your Dinosaur Dig activity: http://amzn.to/2rppT2Z
- Pretty much all of the other materials needed for this playdate can be found at the dollar store or grocery store.
So setting up all of these activities is A LOT OF WORK! I’m not going to lie! But, the reward of your kids loving all of them should pay the price for the work!! My kids have loved helping me set up these slimes and have loved playing with all of these slimes. I’ve been lucky to see the joy of many other kids loving these slimes- and I know your crew will love them too! And who knows- maybe they will be inspired to be the next cutting edge Polymer Science Engineer (cause that’s what all of this is really all about- right?)!
If you are looking to plan a complete science party, check out this post from my blog:
If you are looking for another simple slime idea, check out this post from my blog:
Take lots of pictures- and you’re done!
Feel free to post pictures, comments, or questions!
Hope you have a great Science Party!
Jen B, the Science Lady
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to amazon. If you purchase any of these items, I will get a certain percentage of the purchase cost.