Invitation to Play. Simple Superhero Slime

Aug 3, 2016

Sensory Play is one of the few activities that I know will entertain my kids for quite a long period of time. The quicker and easier the set-up for me, the better. 

For today's activity, rather than make up some slime for my son to play with, I gave him the two basic ingredients, popped out a selection of his little superhero figurines and let him make it for himself. 
This not only means less work for me, but more importantly, it means that he is experimenting and learning a range of skills and concepts through experiencing for himself.

  • Large bowl with Cornflour
  • Jug of Coloured Water
  • Plastic figurines
  • Spoon 

This is not an activity that you need to precisely measure out specific amounts of the ingredients in order to have success. Part of the experimenting and learning process is determining how much is needed to make the desired consistency of slime. If you want more of an exact type recipe, check out how we make our cornflour slime recipe and learn more about viscosity and the science behind this cool substance.
As we've made cornflour slime at our house before, I reminded my son that to make his slime, adding the water to the cornflour needed to be a gradual thing. Adding in all the water in one go might make it too liquid and I didn't have an unlimited amount of cornflour to fix it.
For children new to making slime, it's important that you either instruct them to add the water gradually, stirring the mixture between each new addition so that they are able to make it the desired consistency, or, you have a lot of cornflour (cornstarch) on hand so that they are able to add extra cornflour as needed if they overdo it with the water. This is all part of the learning process and a great time to talk and learn about solids and liquids.
Once your child is happy with their slime and they have reached the desired viscosity (which corresponds to "thickness" in liquids), it's time to add their superhero characters.
One of the awesome things that I love about sensory play (be it with slime, water, sand, playdough etc.) is that often the play ends up involving imaginary play and lots of dialogue, fabulous for creativity and language development.
And then there comes a time when they are done playing with the characters in the slime, but don't worry, the play is far from over! Now is the time to introduce a tub of clean water (can be warm water on cold days, perfect for dissolving the slime) so that the kids can clean up after themselves.
Turn it into a bit of a game with reluctant children by enthusiastically adding voices and dialogue. "Argh, Captain America is covered in the poisonous green lava! Who or what can save him now? SPLASH!!! Lucky there's this fresh water pond, perfect for neutralising the lava and dissolving it from his person"
Provide children with a little face washer to help them clean off their toys, and a clean tea towel or hand towel for them to pat their figurines dry, once clean. The younger the child, the more enthusiastic they will probably be about the clean-up part!

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity with younger kids by sticking close by so that you can aid your child with adding the water in gradually, stirring through all the flour and can talk with them about the process they are going through.

- Extend this activity for older children by having extra cornflour on hand, and allowing them to decide the quantities of each to mix. They can also add the colour to the water themselves. Some correction may be needed in order for them to reach the desired consistency, so encouraging them to keep both extra flour and water on the side to add as needed, is a good move. For a class, they can try writing up the directions of how they made their slime as well as recording any observations they make about it's characteristics. They can also research more about why cornflour slime acts the way it does and try some of the extra experiments here.

- This activity is great for practicing essential life skills such as controlled pouring, consistent mixing (getting everything stirred through evenly, keeping the mixture in the bowl), etc. Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and concentration are required and these things get better and better with more practice and with time.

- Go easy with the food colouring or liquid watercolour that you use to colour your water with. A couple of drops is plenty if you'd prefer to colour the slime and not your hands.

- Activities like this are great for expanding vocabulary so be sure to use the appropriate language that goes along with this activity, such as, "consistency, thickness, fluidity, solid, liquid, viscosity, flow, etc."

Cleaning up. If you're really concerned about mess, try this activity outside or in a bathtub, otherwise, you will find that any little droplets that end up on the floor or table, dry out very quickly and can be easily swept or vacuumed up. We did ours on a covered table, on a tray, over a tiled floor and found there was very little to be cleaned up.

- You can keep your cornflour slime, covered in the fridge for a couple of days without it going bad. You may need to add some more water and give it a good stir to reinvigorate it!

- More fun sensory play recipes and ideas:

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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