Keeping 'Em Out of Trouble


Little Scientist: How To Make Magic Mud And Silly Putty

Making Science Fun!

Our momstown Victoria moms and kids did something incredible at our Little Scientists program last month! Kids love to get their hands dirty and experiment, so what better way to teach your little ones about science than with these cool and messy recipes for magic mud and silly putty.

Fun with Magic Mud

Magic Mud is a suspension of cornstarch in water that has the bizarre property of being a liquid when it is resting or moving slowly, but solidifies once you slap, punch, or squeeze it. The science behind it? The cornstarch is ground into such fine particles that the molecules line up like little plates.

We mixed up a huge blue batch, and let our lil' scientists dip their hands into it, squeeze it into a solid, and punch the surface, which would become instantly hard. Amazing! You can also do a lot of other cool tricks with Magic Mud (also known as Oobleck), like using sound waves to make it take on life-like movements, or running across a huge container of it!

Magic Mud Recipe:

Stir together approximately:
3 or 4 parts cornstarch
1 part cold water
Optional: several drops of food colouring

little scientist at momstown, magic mud

Getting Silly with Silly Putty!

We gave each child a cup and added Elmers Glue, water, and food colouring. We mixed our ingredients and then added a solution of borax and hot water. When the ingredients started to solidify, we took them out and started to squish and knead. Voila, silly putty!

Like Magic Mud, silly putty is another non-Newtonian fluid. It has characteristics of a fluid and will form a puddle if left to rest, but it has elastic properties and can stretch and bounce, or even break if given a sharp blow. Our kiddies had so much fun playing with these bizarre properties!

Silly Putty Recipe:

1. Mix 250 ml of hot water with 7 ml of borax powder until all the borax dissolves. Set this solution aside. It is called borax solution.
2. Get a cup and mix 30 ml of Elmers White Glue with 20 ml of water. (Elmers works best!)
3. Add two or three drops of food colouring to the glue/water mixture.
4. Once the glue, water, and colouring is mixed together well, add 20 ml of borax solution. Stir this all together.
5. Take the mix out of the cup and knead it in your hands (it's messy). Be sure to pop all of the bubbles of glue. More borax solution can be added if it is very gluey. Knead it until it has a consistent texture. You now have silly putty!

Keep it in a closed ziploc bag when you are not using it.

Experiment! Does the silly putty bounce? Does it stretch? Can you break it?

momstown making silly putty

Kids, do try this at home! 

For more fun craft ideas to do with your kids, click here.