Easy, bubbly, slimy messy play

As a lot of Internet-using moms know, Pinterest is just brimming with play ideas for kids of all ages. It’s amazing that we have access to such a resource, but it’s just overwhelming sometimes. Some of the ideas are so elaborate that I just know I’m not going to even try them—I mean, c’mon. Me??

Fortunately, there are also easy ones, like the oobleck–a mixture of corn starch and water. The result is described as a “non-Newtonian fluid.” It behaves like a liquid when poured or allowed to flow, but behaves like a solid when pressure is applied. It looks wet, but it’s actually dry (ish). It’s great to handle, actually, but yes, it can get a bit messy.

I love the idea of messy play, but the twins can get a bit finicky. They don’t want to be messy! They’d poke their finger tentatively into the material, giggle, then wipe it off on their clothes or dump the material onto the floor. Apparently messy clothes and floors are okay, but messy hands are not. Sometimes our finger painting sessions have to be cut short because they’d ask us to wash their hands already! Then we’d move on to water play. They love playing with water! Set a basin of water in front of them and they’re happy. No need to set up complicated sensory play actually 😀

Our activity this morning, however, accidentally managed to combine the best of both worlds of sensory and water play. Our material, off an idea seen in Instagram this time: a combination of corn starch and liquid soap. That’s it. Pour out the corn starch onto a basin or tray and gradually add the liquid soap. It starts out as kind of doughy, and you can stop adding the soap if that’s what you want, but I put a little bit too much, or maybe it was the bit of water that I added, but I ended up with something a little slimier and sticker and ooblecky, which I actually liked. Too bad I don’t have photos of it actually getting stretched and stuff, I guess I was having a bit too much fun, plus it was messy.

By this time the twins were picking out tiny handfuls of the material and dumping it onto the floor, to my horror—not because of the mess because we were outside anyway, but because I didn’t want them to waste all our material! There wasn’t a lot to begin with!

So, it was time to add the color. I brought out a couple of tubs their finger paints and let them dot the colors in. And my, were they pretty.

adding color

adding color, oh-so carefully

So the coloring took a while, until they realized that their hands were messy. I got them some water in a biscuit container so they can wash their hands–and surprise, surprise: because they’ve got the corn starch and liquid soap material all over their hands, the water became all bubbly!

Now they’re really into it.

bubbles, bubbles!

bubbles, bubbles!

I kept saying “bubbles,” and it so happened that the previous night we were reading a book where about 70% of the words are just “bubbles.” And that’s how, after a few moments of playing with bubbles and me saying bubbles, they were able to say “bubbles” for the first time.

bubbles book

Sesame Street bubbles book, only P10 at the Books for Less Warehouse Sale!

playing with bubbles

Now you see it, now you don’t!

We always do our messy play in the morning before bath time, so they just played their fill and then it’s straight to getting cleaned up. Nice way to spend a sunny Saturday morning!

soapy oobleck5

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25 thoughts on “Easy, bubbly, slimy messy play

  1. It looks like pancake batter! Or maybe gutom lang ako? Haha. Like your twins, my toddler doesn’t like handling messy stuff, too, pero only at first. Then later, di na titigil sa paglalaro. 🙂

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  2. my daughter loves bubbles, she always makes her own bubble mixture using our dishwashing liquid and sometimes she plays bubbles while taking a bath using our bath soap. I’ll try your procedure and I’m sure, she’ll like it. Thanks for sharing:)

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  3. My son loves getting messy, I have yet to find a bigger space where we can set up some sensory play activities. You can never go wrong with bubbles, even I love bubbles! We DIY our bubbles too, same ingredients. 🙂

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    • the first time I tried oobleck I made the mistake of doing it indoors. gaak, the mess when they tired of the game and insisted on walking around the living room! and the corn starch made the floor slippery! so now all our messy play are done outdoors 🙂 hope you find the right set up for you!

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  4. Thanks for the idea, mommy! We’ve never really done bubble bath with the daughter although she does get her dose of bubbles from her baby bath soap. Haha. Maybe we could give this a try!

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