“What is that?” was one of the most common questions adults posed last week at Baby Bloomers: Exploring the Color Red as they pointed to the pinkish goop covering a tray. The answer is that the pinkish goop was a mixture we like to call OOBLECK. It’s made by mixing cornstarch and water, then you can add food coloring to color it. OOBLECK is wonderful for young children to explore for several reasons.
- OOBLECK acts like both a liquid and a solid at different times because of the mixture so it is unpredictable and very entertaining. It provides opportunities for adults to introduce simple science concepts and provides youngsters who are verbal a chance to use descriptive language in telling what the OOBLECK is doing, what it looks like and what it feels like.
- OOBLECK is made entirely out of food products so when a toddler decides to explore by tasting it is perfectly fine!
- OOBLECK encourages young children to pinch, pour, scrape and poke exercising their fine motor skills using simple tools or by getting their hands dirty!
Sensory Play is important for young children and something we strive to provide Early Learners at the Thinkery. From the moment we are born humans naturally respond to sensory stimuli. Babies cry when they feel wet, turn to get the sun out of their eyes and cover their ears around loud noises far before they have the words to tell you what is wrong. So it stands to reason that children learn best when they can use their senses to explore, as proved by the many children had their hands covered in OOBLECK before their caregiver could finish asking what it was. In exploring OOBLECK young children are acting as scientists. Whether outloud or internally early learners first question what something could be, then move to investigate and collect data by exploring with their senses.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” Last week we had plenty of little ones involved in learning as they poked, pinched, pulled, scraped, collected and poured OOBLECK.
Want to make OOBLECK at home?
Mix 1 part water to 1.5 parts cornstarch. Add food coloring if desired. Explore.
PS- A squirt bottle of water or wet towel will quickly remove OOBLECK from hands, toes, faces and other smooth surfaces but it has been known to stick to fabrics until thoroughly wet.
Bethany Lynn Corey is our Early Learners Manager at the Thinkery.