Education, Parenting

Not Another Post on Making Slime

Sorry folks, but my son has been begging me to make slime for months now.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like stores are constantly bombarding me with advertisements for slime.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this elementary classroom experiment would get boxed up and commercialized.DIY spooky slime

I’ve always used the old-school borax recipe.  That’s how I was taught to make it in elementary school, and it is the method I used in my own classroom as a teacher.  I decided to mix things up and also try some of the other recipes I’ve seen lately with this current slime craze, so that Lil’ Man could practice how to compare and contrast.

The Science Behind Slime

Making slime isn’t just a fun, messy activity for children.  It can also be used to introduce kids to several scientific concepts.

Pre-K and Early Elementary Students

  • Discuss the five senses with your children and the role they play in making observations.  Explain to them why taste cannot be used in this experiment.
  • Discuss the three states of matter (i.e. gas, liquid and solid), and have your children identify the state of each ingredient as well as the final product.  (Yes, just the three states of matter.  No need to overwhelm little ones with states like plasma.)
    • If you want to minimize the mess, have your children mix all the ingredients in a Ziplock bag.  Instead of stirring the ingredients, you will need to seal the bag and have the children squish the material with their fingers until the slime forms.

Upper Elementary and Middle School Students

  • With older children, you will want to get into some chemistry.  Discuss polymers (the glue) and their properties as well as the role of the borate ion.  (Note that some recipes swap out borax for contact lens solution which must contain the ingredient sodium borate).
    • Check out the Time for Slime page from the American Chemical Society to help teach your children about the chemical processes behind slime.

Caution

Although I did this experiment with Lil’ Man when he was 3 years-old (slime stayed in the bag the whole time and he was carefully monitored), I do not recommend this activity for children under the age of 4.  Also, I understand that some people may have concerns about using borax; therefore, we chose to demonstrate in our video how to make slime using saline solution for contact lenses.

Spooky Slime Tutorial

Materials

20171005_173349
Household items needed to make 3 different types of slime.
  • 6 oz. Glitter Glue
  • Baking Soda
  • Contact Lens Solution (with Sodium Borate)
  • Optional:  Glow-in-the-Dark Paint
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Plastic Spoons
  • Jar or Ziplock Bag for Storage

Results

This borax free recipe recipe results in a thicker slime that does not have the stretchiness of the borax recipe.  I used the Folk Art glow-in-the-dark paint I already had from when I painted this year’s Disney World’s MagicBands.  After letting it sit in the light for over an hour, I couldn’t get the slime to glow much to Lil’ Man’s disappointment.  I had an issue with the glow on the MagicBands as well.  I had to put six coats of this paint on before I could get them to emit a decent glow.  If you want to make glow-in-the-dark slime, I recommend trying a different brand of paint.

Classic Borax Recipe

If you want your slime to have a stretchier consistency, I recommend using this recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon Borax
  • 1 cup Warm Water
  • 4 oz. Glue (1 small bottle)
  • Optional:  Food Coloring
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Small Mixing Bowl
  1. In a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon borax to 1 cup of warm water.  Mix until the borax is dissolved.  This step forms the borate ion.
  2. Pour 1 (4 oz.) bottle of glue into large mixing bowl.
  3. Optional:  Add a few drops of food coloring to glue and mix.
  4. Add borax solution to glue and mix with hands (or plastic spoon) until the slime forms.  Discard excess borax solution.

If you are interested in making fluffy slime, check out this recipe from Sugar, Spice and Glitter.

There are a lot of recipes out there for slime, including ones made from cornstarch.  Have you tried other recipes?  How do they compare to the classic borax slime?  Share you tips and tricks below.  Thanks for stopping by!

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