Michael and the Oobleck


It was about a year ago that I first stumbled upon The Ooey Gooey Lady.  Her website and facebook page are a constant stream of inspiration and ideas.  Here is a blurb from her website.

Ooey Gooey, Inc. is dedicated to the creation of child-centered, hands-on, play-based environments for young children and provides workshops, training, technical support and curriculum resources to those who wish the same. Lisa Murphy, BS, early childhood specialist, author, founder & CEO, is available for both domestic and international conferences and seminars. Ooey Gooey Inc. is headquartered in Rochester, NY.

Please spend some time browsing her website!  I have found her ‘Resources’ page phenomenal!  These resources have been the springboard for many of the things I’ve done with kids.  Check it out!

Of course, I can’t talk continue until I’ve also given props to the wonderful Dr. Seuss book where Oobleck actually falls from the sky and is introduced as an ultimately unwelcome form of precipitation.  This story falls into the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category.

Michael is almost 16 months old and I wanted to do a couple of sensory activities with him while I had the chance.  Oobleck is especially wonderful because it is entirely about the process and not at all about creating any sort of product.  From start to finish, not including the sizable amount of time I spent cleaning up, we spend about 1 hour lost in discovery and play.  60 minutes is quite a long time for a toddler to do any one thing, which allows me to count this as a success.

20+ pictures and nearly an entire roll of paper towel later, this is our story…

Once upon a time, Michael was walking through the kitchen and stumbled upon a container of intriguing objects.  One box of cornstarch, one sippy cup of water, measuring spoons and cups and food coloring.  Hmm…he wondered what it could be for and began clanging the spoons and drinking the water 🙂

With just a little nudging from the camera obsessed but loving Nanny, Michael discovered the texture of cornstarch.  Powdery, a bit chunky, firm, silky…fun!  Michael squeezed it and scrunched it, dropped it and pushed it around.  Interesting…but what else could he do with it, he wondered.

Again Nanny stepped in and helped Michael add the water.  Hmm…interesting…and then came the food coloring!  Michael was enamored by the swirls of color and insisted on more to create his masterpiece.

Ahh- much better!  Michael tried to pick up the colors and that didn’t work.  He slowly and carefully moved his fingers through the streaks of color when the brilliant idea struck.  I must taste it!  he though.  And with one swift lift of his hand the exploration continued.

Yuck!  Michael couldn’t believe that his beautiful masterpiece was so very distasteful!  He unsuccessfully tried to wipe his tongue off with, yes, his Oobleck covered hand.  The Oobleck water sippy cup saves the day.  Michael wonders what else this tub of goo might be good for.

A stroke of genius hits him and he quickly gets to his feet, grabs hold of the container and watches it cascade down into a puddle on the floor!  Intriguing!  It doesn’t splatter or splash, it barely spreads.  The chunks that the container seemed to have at the bottom had all quickly liquified and chased after the hard wood.  Michael finds the feeling on his toes delightful and definitely worthy of further discovery.

Sticky, slippery, gooey, silky, wet, cold, solid but liquid–this stuff is strange indeed!

At first touch its almost a solid but the heat from Michael’s hand quickly melts the Oobleck and he is able to move it around- but never pick it up!

Michael and Nanny spend quite a bit of time pushing it around and trying to pick up the strange stuff.

By the end, Nanny and Michael were nearly covered- which simply dried and felt silky on their hands but turned to liquid rather quickly!  A fabulous time was had but all (until Michael slipped in it as on a banana peel and ended up on his back in the stuff.  Hair covered, clothes covered, camera covered, floor covered: worth it.  So if you ever happen upon a box of cornstarch and some water, you’ll know what to do!  Enjoy!

*No wood was harmed or damaged in the making of this post 🙂


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