Cornstarch goop is a pretty amazing mixture. From a child’s perspective (and the perspective of certain adults) cornstarch goop is a whole bunch of fun. It’s goopy. Messy. Squishy. What could be better?
A more scientific name for cornstarch goop is a non-Newtonian fluid which temporarily defies the laws of physics. Basically water’s viscosity (how much it moves and flows when resistance is applied) is pretty low. No matter how much your stir the water, how much resistence you apply to it’s molecules, it will never become a thicker substance.
Cornstarch goop is the opposite. If you apply resistance to the goop (stir or mash it) the internal molecular friction increases along with it’s viscosity. It behaves like a solid. Leave it alone and it’s viscosity lowers to resemble a liquid state, like water. Very strange. Very cool.
How does this weird, messy substance benefit children? Let me count the ways! Children (and adults) of all ages can use goop in sensory exploration. Feeling the different states of matter change is fascinating! Dye the goop different colors and use it to illustrate color mixing for toddlers. Cornstarch goop is simple and easy to make. With just 2-3 ingredients toddlers can easily help out with the measurements and mixing process, which builds their cooking and mathematics skills. The goop can also be used to teach older children about scientific concepts like viscosity, internal friction, Newtonian and non-Newtonian substances, the laws of matter and states of matter.
- 2 cups cornstarch
- 1 cup water, plus 2 T additional water
- food coloring (optional)
Pour your water into a mixing bowl or container. Add the cornstarch and mix them together with your fingers. It’s a bit messy but it washes off very quickly.
When your mixture is fully combined take a moment to check the consistency. You’re looking for goo that behaves like a semi-solid when you squeeze it. Then, if left undisturbed, it reverts back into a liquid state. (Cornstarch goop is pretty amazing)
If your mixture is too runny and doesn’t hold it’s shape (briefly) when squeezed, add more cornstarch. Just add a tiny amount at a time.
If your mixture is too solid, where it cracks and crumbles, add more water. Again, use a tiny amount of water at a time.
When you’re happy with the consistency your cornstarch goop is ready to use! You can play with it now or dye it into different colors that your child can mix together. If you want to dye the goop different colors you need to gather as many mixing containers as colors. Transfer the goo into each container. Add one drop of food coloring per container and mix well (with or without gloves).
That’s it! Enjoy the cornstarch goop!
Join in the discussion in the comments section below! I can’t wait to hear how you liked playing with the cornstarch goop.
For a video walkthrough of my toddler and I mixing up this goop, visit my Youtube channel Bianca’s Family here:
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Thanks for reading!