Is Slime Worth Your Time?
by: Krissy Weeks
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you are aware of the newest tween and teen craze that’s sweeping the nation. Of course, I am talking about Slime. You can buy kits at every big box store, watch how-to video’s hosted by precocious teens on Youtube, and if your child is between 3 and 13, I would be willing to bet they have already asked you if they can make Slime at home. So, is slime worth your time?
As a preschool teacher and mother of two busy boys, I am here to tell you the answer is a resounding YES! For starters, slime is great for developing fine motor skills. Working, squeezing, and manipulating slime, strengthens those small muscles in their fingers and builds coordination which will help your child when they use scissors, hold a pencil, or tie their shoes. But that’s not all. Measuring and mixing the recipe builds early math skills. Creating and testing a hypothesis and watching a liquid become a solid right before your eyes makes it a perfect hands on science experiment for younger and older children alike. Add to that, the low cost to high fun ratio and the time your child will be screen and media free, I call it a win all the way around.
Now that you know why you should make Slime with your child, I bet you want to know how. Let me assure you, it’s much easier than you think. Your experiment starts with a run to your local grocery store, dollar store, or basically any store that ends in Mart. You will only need a few items to make the original recipe, once you get comfortable with that, you can let your creativity flow by trying some fun add-ins. First, you will need a bottle of glue. You can go with Elmer’s or any discount brand. I like to shop for the cheapest so I have tried every discount knockoff brand and I can tell you they are all the same. Next, you need Borax. You can find this in a big retro looking box in the detergent section.
This is where I need to add my Borax disclaimer. If your child is still at that stage where he puts everything in his mouth this is not the recipe for you. Borax is poisonous if ingested. In fact, it’s also a great, natural way of getting rid of ants in your house (that’s another article). I have some fabulous nontoxic homemade play dough recipes for children under three that I will be sharing in future Play Day Friday’s articles, but this slime recipe is strictly for children who are no longer in the oral stage of development.
You will only use a tiny bit of borax powder with each batch of Slime, so it’s safe to say this one box will last you forever. The only other thing you will need is warm water and you, my friend, are on your way to Slime city. Now, gather two bowls, a measuring cup, a teaspoon, and a zip lock bag. In the first bowl, add your entire bottle of glue. Mix in one cup of warm water. This is where you can get creative by adding glitter, food coloring, spices like cinnamon and ginger or essential oils like peppermint, lavender, or vanilla. Add what you like make it your own. Set this bowl aside. In your second bowl, add one teaspoon of borax powder to a half a cup of warm water and mix until the powder is completely dissolved. Children love to stir so this is a great way to involve your child in the process. But honestly, with proper parental supervision any child over the age of five should be able to complete this whole gooey fantastic recipe by themselves.
Now that both our bowls are ready to go, it’s time to make the magic happen. This is always the best part. I like to ask my students what they think will happen when we combine the two bowls. Then we write down our possible hypothesis and why we came to that conclusion. By taking time to think about the outcome we are showing the scientific process and encouraging problem solving and independent thought. Now, we combine the borax bowl with the glue bowl and begin to mix. You will immediately see the liquid become gelatinous. Ask your child to continue stirring till it’s completely mixed. When it has all become a semi solid, you are ready to stick your hands in and pull it out. You may have a little water left in the bottom of the bowl, don’t let that worry you. You should be able to easily manipulate your Slime now. I like to give my students cookie cutters or plastic knifes to cut their Slime, some of them prefer to just squeeze and squish it between their fingers.
Slime provides hours of fun and should stay soft and pliable for two weeks to a month as long as it’s kept in a zip lock bag or resealable container when not in use. Go have some fun and make some magic. I guarantee before you know it you too will be a Slime addict.