Whether the weather outside is frightful, or you just need a fun activity for the kiddies, here's the ticket: flubber. Everyone loves it. It's super easy to make. Your kids can customize it. And, it will keep them entertained for hours.
Here's what you will need:
This can be either the white, goopy kind that comes in a plastic bottle or the clear school glue.
You can find this in the laundry aisle at your supermarket. It's granular, white powder and used to boost detergent's cleaning power.
This is optional, but loads of fun to let your kids choose their own colors.
To stir the mixtures.
To store it in.
Scientific procedure (I prefer to read the instructions out loud to the children and let them do the work):
Add 1 tsp. borax to 1 c. warm water in a measuring cup.
In a different bowl, mix in 1/2 c. glue (4 oz. bottle) to the 1/2 c. of colored warm water and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Add a couple of drops of food coloring to the glue mixture and blend thoroughly.
Combine A + B
Stir the borax and water mixture slowly into the glue and water mixture and watch it form the flubber. It should become thick and gloppy as it is stirred. Once it becomes thick, have your kids work it with their hands until it is the consistency they like.
Store flubber in airtight plastic bag when not in use.
What activities like this teach children:
First and foremost, this teaches your kids that they can create something of value with their own hands.
Kitchen chemistry can be fascinating to children. They find out that combining different ingredients together has interesting outcomes.
Recipes like this one require you to follow instructions to a tee. This is a great opportunity to show your kids how important it is to measure carefully and follow the right steps in order. If your children are old enough to grasp this concept, you might consider illustrating this idea to them by asking, "Do you think it matters if we measure carefully and follow instructions?" If they don't think it does, show them by failure. Great object lesson.
There are sometimes variables in formulas. If you use the clear glue, you will get a more translucent flubber. If you use white glue, you will get a more opaque color. Let your kids try both.
The kids will quickly learn that if they don't care for their flubber properly, keeping it stored in an airtight container, that it will dry out and become unusable. They will also learn that this toy they've made has undesirable effects on other things, like carpets. Teach them the importance of using things properly and caring for them.
This plaything costs under a dollar to make. It just takes a little time and a few simple ingredients. Make the point of letting your kids know that they have it within their power to solve issues like boredom by creating their own fun. They don't need a lot of expensive toys.
There are lots of recipes for fun things to create in the kitchen. Take advantage of snow days or those afternoons when it's too hot to be out by filling them with a little kitchen magic. The lessons learned will stay with them.