One of my 4-year-old's favourite activities is playing with slime (also known as silly putty, flubber, or gak). It all started when my mum bought a tub from for her 3rd birthday. Since then, she has been obsessed. I love it too as it keeps her occupied for extended periods, and it is actually a relatively clean activity unless it gets on the carpet or clothes (tip: vinegar gets it out of fabrics)! It was a lifesaver as a distraction when my mum had to look after her for the few hours I was in hospital giving birth to my second daughter (that and lots of lollipops of course).
Buying slime from shops can get expensive though. Shops sell them in little tiny tubs and I find they dry out quickly. So we started making our own and have never looked back!
All you need is white PVA glue (also known as white school glue or craft glue) and borax. I live in Melbourne, Australia and I easily found a tub of Borax from the laundry section at Coles supermarket. I know some countries do not sell borax to the general public in stores, so if this is the case where you live, then this recipe will not be possible. I have tried other types of slime recipes that do not contain glue or borax but I have to say nothing can compare to it. You will not get this lovely stretchy texture without these ingredients. One option I have read about is to mix glue with contact lens solution that contains boric acid, but I have yet to try that!
All you need is:
1/2 cup white PVA glue
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teapsoon of borax dissolved in 1 tablespoon of warm water
Optional: Food colouring/paint, glitter, foam beads etc
Mix the glue with a few drops of food colouring or paint and the water. Slowly start adding the borax mixture, stirring with a spoon as you go. When it starts clumping, you can get your hands in there and knead it until it comes cleanly off the bowl. If it is feeling sticky and is not coming cleanly off your hands, add a little more borax water to it. After playing, keep the slime in an airtight container. If you remember to put it away after each play and do not leave it to dry out for extended periods, it can last for months!
This picture above is what I call "galaxy slime". It was the unintentional result of my preschooler mixing two different batches of slime we had made- white slime (without any colouring added) with gold glitter and purple slime with purple glitter! She left it out on the table in blobs and when I spotted it, it had "melted" into these amazing shiny little galaxies. Incredibly pretty!
The obvious things to do with slime is stretch it, twist it, poke it, and mould it…it is like gooey play dough. One of Miss 4's favourite thing to do with it which I think is quite unique is to stretch it thinly over cups, put a little toy like a Shopkin on the thin membrane and watch it slowly sink to the bottom, forcing an air bubble to come up beside it in the process. It is hypnotising! She also loves making accessories out of it for her plastic dolls (obviously it loses its shape after a few minutes but that is the fun of it).
One of my favourite things to do with it is actually just roll it into a sausage and cut it into pieces with scissors…cutting through that rubbery texture is a bizarrely calming activity!
Another entertaining activity is to make a slime balloon/bubble. Just wrap a little piece over the end of a straw and blow, holding the ends tightly against the straw so no air can escape. Just be careful not to inhale the air when you pause to take a breath because getting a mouth full of the glue fumes (and likely glitter) is not pleasant! An alternative is to use a handheld bike pump. We like blowing up the balloons with a little Shopkin/Grossery Gang inside then holding them upside down and watching the toy slowly sink out of the ballooon…my husband says it is like watching an alien being born from its egg (especially if you use an odd-looking Grossery Gang toy)!
Have fun experimenting!