Saturday, 6 April 2013

Making Messy Goo

cornflour, messy play

Our favourite thing for some messy, sensory play is to make some messy goo!  Using cornflour, water and food colouring, this goo takes advantage of the strange properties of the mixture.  It isn't a liquid.  It isn't a solid.  The more you mix it, and handle it the stiffer it gets.  Let it run slowly through your fingers and it liquefies.  It is fascinating stuff and an ideal play idea if you want to get messy but are short on time and space.

To make it, simply take a cup of cornflour and add warm water slowly to reach the desired consistency.  Not too much though!  Add a couple of drops of natural food colour and you are ready to play.  It is really quick and easy to set up so little ones can be having fun fast!

  • You can roll it into a ball in your hands.
  • Let it drip through your fingers.
  • Break it into pieces quickly.
  • Hit it.
  • Drop it from a spoon.
  • Squeeze it slowly.
  • Stir it fast or slow.
  • Cut through it.

The mixture responds differently to quick and slow actions which gives so much scope to explore the properties  Kizzy was interested in the science behind what was happening.  She would lift up a lump of it as a solid and watch in amazement at it dripped through her hands.  I explained about it being a suspension of solid particles within a liquid.  Impact traps the water molecules inside the long starch chains forming a temporary semi-rigid structure.  It is a non-Newtonian liquid where force alters its viscosity.  It doesn't follow the usual rules!

Freddy was fascinated by the mixture, but also slightly afraid of it!!  He was a bit freaked out by how it would solidify on his hands.  He kept washing it off in the sink and enjoyed seeing it turn the water blue because of the food colouring.  He must have got messy and then washed it off twenty times making his own entertainment!!

The bits that fell on the floor could be vacuumed up easily as solids and the surfaces were easily wiped down with a damp sponge. Adding extra water to the bowl turned it into a free flowing liquid which could then be poured away. So tidying up afterwards was really easy.  It is an easily containable, small scale activity that still allows little ones to get messy and explore their world through play.

Matilda Mae
See More Ideas at Edspire


  1. I know you say not too much water, but how much is not too much? I've never done, or seen, this before and it could be good fun tomorrow for The Boy.

  2. I start with a 3:1 cornflour to water ratio, then slowly add a dessert spoon at a time. Making it is part of the fun as it is just so bizarre! it's ready when a lump in your hand drips through your fingers. Have fun with the boy. xxx

  3. Not made this before but it looks so much fun I think I'm going to have to x

  4. Definitely making this - love the colour!!

  5. ghostwritermummy15 April 2013 at 07:05

    I agree, 'gloop' is fantastic for messy play. My son hated touching it too so we used a range of utensils which worked really well

  6. Sorry for taking so long to come check out your messy play post, Wendy. Life is pretty hectic here at the mo. I'm loving the goo although I'm not sure MC would be too impressed with it. I think she may be a bit wary of it like Freddy. Might have to try it and see xx



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