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    Oh the places you will go…..

    Posted by  ·  March 2, 2007

    making oobleck to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday today.

    Bartholomew and the Oobleck 180px-bartholomew_and_the_oobleck.jpg

    This stuff is amazing. My boys (okay and me too) were totally taken with this goo. Oobleck defies Newton’s third law of motion–for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you quickly smack oobleck with your hand it immediately turns into a solid, instead of splashing or moving. If you slowly move oobleck it reacts like a liquid. Needless to say our oobleck took a lot of fist smacking! Our kitchen was filled with lots of “Wow,” “Cool,” wide eyes of amazement and much laughter!”

    oobleck-1.jpg oobleck-2.jpg

    To make your own mix 2 cups of cornstarch and 1 cup water in a bowl. If you want to color your oobleck like we did, add a few drops of food coloring to the water before adding to the cornstarch. It took some effort to mix the water and cornstarch. Try it out (hit it with your fist and pour it off a spoon to see if it works) before you give into the urge to add more water to make it easier to mix. When the kids weren’t playing with it I covered it with plastic wrap.

    Too Cool! Really, you must give it a try!

    Leave a Comment


    1. Nancy
      Saturday, March 5th, 2016
      I can't believe the non-science people that are so offended because Ann Harter corrected a misconception especially since, she was so gentle and nice about it. Why do some people have to put others down to make themselves feel better about who they are? I did not get the impression at all that Ann was belittling or trying to make anyone feel dumb. No one knows everything. And just because you may be incorrect in your understanding of science - doesn't mean you may not want to learn the correct explanation. Some people are life-long learners and enjoy learning. And some people like to introduce good science to their kids while they are still young, having fun, all ears and all inquisitive. The very best time! Young kids may not understand a scientific explanation but, I guarantee, when they are older and hear it again, they will remember it faster than kids that have never heard it or had it explained incorrectly.
      What am I saying? As a secondary science teacher, I have students come into my classroom with preconceived notions that learning science is hard or boring. What I'm hearing from the comments here is disappointing and helps to explain where that type of thinking comes from. Science is too complex and difficult for younger kids to understand and to provide a scientific reason would kill the fun? Science can't be understood nor explained by parents that aren't chemists and physicists and should be saved for serious upper level classroom learning? Please give your children an advantage. We live in an increasingly technological world and it would be extremely beneficial to your child to be familiar and comfortable with scientific explanations. Without science, technology would not exist. Guess where the jobs will be in the future?
    2. Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
      U love it thanks for the idea!!
    3. jewelsmama
      Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
      Very cool, something so easy to make but also something for kids to play with without it harming them. Very neat
    4. Wildpuppy57
      Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
      OMG!! Seriously people - this post is for something FUN to do with kids! They will learn the science/physics stuff soon enough in school - let them enjoy the summer and being a kid!! I agree with Brooke - my 6 yr. old grandson is NOT going to come all the way up here to see me for a science/physics lesson! Some people just have to be a "know-it-all" and suck the fun out of everything! This is the best website with wonderful and fun things for both kids and adults - if you want to teach a science lesson, go somewhere else, please!
    5. Cat
      Friday, July 4th, 2014
      Hahah! I was just looking around for some fun, tactile/sensory objects and activities to do with the special needs teens I work with and came across this post. I'm excited to try it...and as fun as it was to read the comment thread, I probably won't be mentioning anything to them about Newton!
    6. Friday, December 20th, 2013
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    10. Angie
      Sunday, July 14th, 2013
      I've been making this with my kids for 14 years :)

      Did you also know that if you leave it open to air in just a few hours it turns to chalk... and yes you can write with it on your chalk board using your fingers. SO much fun!

      If you want to re use it just add a bit more water, it comes right back to goo :)
    11. Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
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    12. PJ
      Thursday, May 30th, 2013
      Good Grief, someone takes the time to create a post that promotes a parent spending fun quality time with their kids and some party pooper has to try to take the fun out of it !! Shame on you Ann Harrter..
    13. Brooke
      Friday, May 17th, 2013
      What a great idea for a fun experiment with kids! I'm pretty sure when I do this experiment with my 4 year old niece she will neither care, nor remember if it denys newton's third law of Motion or not. :) keep up the great posts, and remember that not all parents are physicists or chemists. I think that may even be why we send them to school.....
    14. Talia
      Sunday, April 21st, 2013
      I just tried this today, and it's so fun!! I really worked for me! At my school we did this but I was absent and really wanted to do it. So, when I found this, I WAS SO EXITED!! Thank you so much:)
    15. Kari
      Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
      that lady is such a jerk - it's all in fun !
    16. Dre Knows
      Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
      But an arguing is purely subjective as is relativity so i say were discussing and enlightening eachother
    17. Dre Knows
      Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
      Ok Ann I kinda understand why she posted originally and she was correct to do so and im not trying pick on her and "gang" up on her but what Robin said was sorta right she didnt need go in say last comment and oh and to make u feel dumb actually some laws are not laws and hate that they are called such like Boyles law which states as you double pressure the volume of gas will half is not a law because you can imagine at some point when the molecules are touching you can double the pressure but the volume will not half. Thus its really a limiting law. So actaully the guy who posted isnt to far off becuase there are few laws even newtonian mechanics and the standard model and yes even the most accurate of sciences which have been proven to billion of degree of accuracy such as quatum physics have their limitations so you to be careful with what you say and how you say it :} Party On!
    18. Philippe
      Sunday, March 24th, 2013
      Something fun for kids to do, turns into something for adults to argue about.... Who's acting like kids here anyway???
    19. Mrs Frizzle
      Saturday, March 9th, 2013
      Ooooh yeah, because science is so un-fun. Whatever Kristine, you Luddite. I only came to this post because I was interested in the assertion that Oobleck is non-Newtonian fluid, who knew! We used to play with this stuff as kids too and I always wondered why if you compressed it quickly enough it would shear off like stone and then melt together like butter. Interesting stuff.
    20. Kristine
      Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
      Oh dear God can you people suck the fun out of something.
    21. Tiffany
      Sunday, January 6th, 2013
      Dolly - this stuff isn't meant to keep. It's just cornstarch and water, so there are no preservatives in it. It's just something fun to make and play and then throw away.

      It might be possible to add a bit of tea tree oil to the water as a natural preservative though.
    22. Dolly
      Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
      I made this and after about maybe 3 weeks it got moldy?????Any suggestions.?!?
    23. Mrs. Lady Loves Science
      Monday, December 31st, 2012
      I loved the physics discussion I found here while perusing crafts! I just took an introductory university physics class (at 35 years old), and reading "Oobleck defies Newton’s third law of motion" certainly piqued my interest.

      Kudos to everyone who posted to clear things up! I think this stuff is awesome and I think this experiment absolutely benefits from the Wikipedia link regarding non-newtonian fluids that Jen posted.
    24. A. Nerd
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      Ann, Jen, Brian, let's clear up all this fluid dynamics fun!

      First of all, not many phenomena we can observe deviate from Newton's laws, but it does happen in some of those spooky realms of physics (just ask Einstein). Secondly, as Jen so kindly pointed out, oobleck is certainly a non-Newtonian fluid, so it doesn't behave in the way we traditionally anticipate fluids to behave. However, to correct Brian's comment (sorry Brian, no disrespect intended), Newtonian fluids, such as water, do not change their viscosity when you "hit them." Well it could be said that they do change, but the change is so insignificant it would be extraordinarily difficult to measure. Oobleck, on the other hand reacts quite differently to a sudden force because it is what is known as a dilatant or "shear-thickening" fluid. In fluids like this, the viscosity DOES change when you apply a sudden force, and in fact it increases with the amount of shear stress applied. So, when you give that jiggling bowl of slime a good slap, the viscosity increases so much that it reacts similarly to a solid.

      I hope this helped shed some light on the earlier points of debate so we can all get back to playing with green slime!

    25. brian
      Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
      to ann harter This fluid indeed does not follow newtons laws of motion this is why it is called a non-Newtonian fluid. These fluids do not change there viscosity when force is applied unlike most other liquids. This is because it is made out of a liquid and a solid. The cornstarch has big molecules that are usually tightly packed together making it a solid, but when you add the small water molecules to the mix they get stuck in between allowing the fluid to flow when not applying pressure. although when applying pressure the smaller molecules go to the surface temporarily and the cornstarch molecules get slammed against each other making them hard. Your example of water is not a nonnewtonian fluid because of the change in its viscosity when you hit it although it does hurt when quickly slapped because of the cohesion in the water molecules but it is not the same as in oobleck because it only happens when you hit it quickly yet you sink rite after but in oobleck you can push all you want and you can never squish threw it
    26. Jen
      Thursday, November 29th, 2012
      Ann's totally right to encourage a bit of learning.

      If you're gonna do this, go read this:

      Take it in, simplify it, teach your kids. The more a kid learns the easier and more interesting learning becomes to them. Science doesn't have to kill the fun and boosting kids' brains a bit can give them a real advantage in life, so why not do so when you can?

      Also, cool post! Even if it is nearly six years old; I arrived here on Stumbleupon.
    27. Melissa
      Sunday, November 11th, 2012
      I am with you ladies! Ann was way off base and there was no need for her "corrections" to this fun experiment. The most important thing is to keep young minds active and this is what this experiment does. FUN!
    28. Leeanne
      Thursday, November 1st, 2012
      Yeah I'm totally with Robin & Erin... Who cares about physics or truth? Darn smart people ruining all the fun (sarcasm)
    29. Robin
      Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
      I have to agree with Erin. Obviously, Ann had to post her comment to "correct" the poster, then think about it even more so that she could come back to the site and make another corrective comment an hour and a half later. Wow, bet that makes you feel really smart, huh Ann?
      However, I had to give this a try and I loved it! Thanks for posting. Great idea, whether it defies Newton's third law, or not. lol
    30. Erin
      Sunday, October 28th, 2012
      Looks like fun... On the "seriously?" side of things, it's a shame people so often feel the need to criticize others. Furthermore, I am amused by someone who has nothing better to do than try to make other people feel stupid. (I'm looking at you, Ann Hartter.)
    31. Ann Hartter
      Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
      Furthermore, if anything defied a law of physics, it wouldn't be a law.
    32. Ann Hartter
      Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
      On the physics side of things, it is a high viscosity liquid. It doesn't defy the third law at all. If you belly flop on water, it's similar to striking the cornstarch fluid: for a moment the water is as hard as concrete.

      Your post is great and gets lot of traffic. You should be careful the accuracy of the statements in your posts.
    33. m
      Sunday, August 19th, 2012
      This has nothing to do with motion it is force applied to a non-newtonain fluid. Applying force to ooblec kmakes the non-Newtonian fluid thicken. Home science is amazing and fun but only when the facts are taught as well.
    34. Jamie
      Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
      Super neat! Pin'd ya!
    35. Saturday, June 9th, 2012
      This is a lot of fun ~ messy, yet clean.

      We discovered that when it is left to dry, the pieces crumble like the floor of a dried river bed ~ but then just add water and it is back to being "magic mud" (love that term! Thank you Robbin)
    36. Monday, November 14th, 2011
      You can certainly see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.
    37. Monday, June 27th, 2011
      Gak!!! always a summer camp favorite :)
    38. Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
      I read "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" and brought Oobleck to my son's 2nd grade class. I do every year on Dr. Seuss day. It never gets old, the kids LOVE it.
    39. Michelle
      Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
      I make this with my students every year for our final solids/liquids unit lesson.
      Try mixing it in a heavy duty Ziploc bag - it is easy to "smoosh" the bag, rather than mix the oobleck with a spoon. Also, add the water to the cornstarch slowly - if you go overboard, you will have a watery mess, rather than Oobleck!
    40. aleks
      Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
      i tried it according to your recipe and it didn't work >:(
      • Thursday, December 30th, 2010
        ummm, we make this all the time. What did it turn out like? You can try adding a touch more water.
    41. Teresa Verhoestra
      Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
      We made this and the taffy tonight. I must say this was so exciting to watch.
    42. Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
      If you're feeling really brave try putting a speaker on its back (facing up) and wrap it in seran wrap to waterproof it. Then make a bowl or saran wrap over the speaker and put this mixture into it. When you play inth music the mixture becomes solid and bounces around to the beat.
    43. Bobbie
      Friday, March 5th, 2010
      Yesterday we celebrated Dr Seuss's birthday ( a few days late) with the residents( I am an Activity Director at a nursing home)- I had some kids come in to read Dr Seuss books to the residents. I read bartholomew and the oobleck and when I got to the part about the magicians I started mixing up the oobleck- I stole a hair from one of the boy's chins and shook my stocking foot over the bowl and mixed it with my hands- the residents and the kidlets were making all the fun noises "eeew, gross, can I touch it?" I scooped some oobleck into small containers so the kidlets could take it home. Thank you for the recipe, it was so much fun! It was even easy to clean up- just waited til it dried and it wiped up fine!
    44. Aleigha
      Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
      How could I have forgotten about Oobleck!?! I can't wait to make this! My 4 year old is going to have so much fun! Thanks for sharing this with us!
    45. Bill Hoot
      Sunday, February 28th, 2010
      There's no end to the amazement on this site...I rec'd a copy of Dr. Suess's Bartholmew and the Oobleck for Christmas 1960, it was among my favorites and glad to know someone else remembers it.
    46. Rochelle
      Saturday, February 27th, 2010
      Oh my gosh! I saw this and had to run to the kitchen to make it! We have no kids, but it did entertain my husband and I! Thanks!
    47. Thursday, September 10th, 2009
      Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post... nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.
    48. Robbin Buchtel
      Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
      Oobleck is only one of the names for this crazy stuff. When I taught Preschool, I would make this with my class again and again. We called it MAGIC MUD. I would send the receipe home so that the parents could make it and the best part was that if it got on the carpet or clothes, you just let it dry completely and then sweep/vacuum or throw in the washer. I also used this with the very little ones ( 1-2 yr olds) since it was safe for them to put in their mouths.
      It is also called QUICKSAND and all you do is make it a tad thinner and then do a lesson around how quicksand works in real life.
    49. lizi
      Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
      This is so awesome! I mean like I already knew how to make it but i just wanted to read it & make it at home!
    50. Friday, January 30th, 2009
      Just made this not too long ago, I added another dash of water, and it worked super. :D
    51. Sunday, October 19th, 2008
      OK, So we made this stuff to play with before Halloween. My entire kitchen is a total wreck. We played with it so long I had to start spritzing it with water! We had the best time!
    52. valarie
      Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
      Here is something really cool and fun- take an old speaker (the huge kind) and pull the cover off so the little funnel is visible. cover securely with plastic wrap (not tightly, just completely) secure with duct tape. NOw plug it in to your stereo, lay it flat on it's back, and fill the little funnel with oobleck. Turn the music on (something with a lot of bass) and watch your oobleck dance!

    53. Courtney
      Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
      I used to make this in my daycare class. I loved it because it was an activity that I could combine with a book, therefore making reading come alive. The other neat thing that I saw, was a scientist or product reviewer on a talk show, who made an entire batch of this stuff (enough to fill the bath tub that they created it in). They allowed several audience members to run across the substance. They were "walking on water".
    54. Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
      I LOVE this stuff. I can't decide on what color to make it... Pink, or orange? Or blue? Maybe green... Turquoise? *shrugs* Purple. Hmmm... I think I'll do purple. That sounds fine. Nah, I'll just ask my sister which one to do.
    55. Friday, February 29th, 2008
      That thing is awsome the first time i did it was at school two days before Dr. Seuss's B-day.Everybody asked for the recipe.
    56. Sunday, October 28th, 2007
      i can't wait to see my kids face when she trys this :D
    57. Tuesday, August 14th, 2007
      My daughter is having her first sleepover for her birthday. She will be turning 9 years old)My daughter is having 10 girls over(not including her and her sister) The theme is Hello Kitty. The times will be from fri. 6pm - 10am sat.
      Am I crazy to have agreed to this . I have no ideas and I am usually very creative. I am an artist and I was an art teacher. I love kids but I do not know how to fill the time or make it fun.
      My daughter is like Martha Stewart Jr. she thinks she has all the plans . I need some good sleepover/Hello Kitty ideas. Do you have any?
      Heather Doub
    58. JULIE
      Friday, May 18th, 2007
    59. Friday, March 30th, 2007
      Thanks for the recipe. 3 drops of red food coloring is plenty to make the substance pink (my daughter's FAVORITE color).

      I had a blast with it!!!
    60. annabel
      Sunday, March 25th, 2007
      I love making this with kids! We add dinosaurs and other toys that don't have moving parts and pretend that they are in a swamp or quick sand. You can put it in plastic shoe box or something with a little more room.
    61. Tuesday, March 13th, 2007
      Excellent! This is neat-o. Thank you so much for putting this up. I am going to measure out 1/2 portions, with directions, and give them to my daughter's pre-school class for St. Patrick's Day. A cool alternative to candy!
    62. No1Alicat
      Sunday, March 11th, 2007
      Just being a nerd - the adjective to describe the way the cornstarch mix is behaving is "thixotropic"

      Love the website by the way. I'm a knitter (in the UK), getting back into sewing, and have been looking at some fab ideas on blogs! I've bookmarked yours!!!!
    63. Monday, March 5th, 2007
      no way!! I have an ancient childhood memory of seeing this on some kid's science show. I was just telling my husband about it about 2 weeks ago - how there was this amzing liquid that was solid when you hit it!! I never knew what the stuff was made of (and never thought to look it up).
    64. Sunday, March 4th, 2007
      this has been a favorite at our house as well...
      we once made a huge batch of it outside
      in our sand and water table
      and just let the kids go...
      great fun...
    65. Friday, March 2nd, 2007
      That is so neat. Thanks!
    66. Friday, March 2nd, 2007
      We love that stuff at our house. The first time I made it, I added too much fod coloring, and our hands were blue for quite a while.