Science Projects for Kids: Making Goo From Corn Starch

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Teaching your kids to love science is as simple as making it fun. The more hands-on, curiosity-building, and messy, the better!

Kid-Friendly Science Experiment to Teach the Difference Between a Liquid and a Solid

Inserting a little playfulness while comparing the differences between a liquid and a solid makes an otherwise boring concept come to life. But how? Let me share a hands-on activity I did with my kids this weekend that had them squealing in delight.

  1. Empty five containers of corn starch into a giant plastic bin.
  2. Add enough water to make an ooey-gooey, slimy mixture.
  3. Once it’s mixed in, ask your kids: Is it a liquid or is it a solid?
  4. The answer? It’s both! Ask your kids to help you identify why as you get messy and have fun with it.

According to Steve Spangler, the king of teaching science and making it fun (and messy!):

“The cornstarch and water mixture acts like a solid sometimes and a liquid at other times. This concoction is an example of a suspension—a mixture of two substances, one of which is finely divided and dispersed in the other.”

My kids' answers?

TK, my 6 year-old boy:

  • Feels like flour?
  • It’s crunchy with a little water.
  • Now it looks like milk! No.. it looks like eggnog!
  • If you squeeze it, it makes a fart sound!

Sassy, my 10yrold girl:

  • Oh its….EWW! It’s nasty! It’s kind of stinky.
  • You can roll a liquid ball, then it melts off your hand.
  • Looks like spaghetti noodles.

Helping Your Kids Make Observations During Science Experiments

I love watching my kids play, think, and analyze at the same time. To help the make connections, I asked a lot of questions, such as: Why does it do that? What do you think will happen if...? How would you do it different the next time? I also encourage them to ask questions and share.

At one point TK said, “I have an idea for an invention. Instead of silly string, we could put this in a can and spray it out at people!” He also asked if he could play with this all day. Score!

Soon the kids realized their hands were ‘sinking’ in the goo feeling like quicksand, but the wooden spoon floated to the top even after being buried. They ran to get a few more objects to ‘test’ their theory about why the spoon floated.

  • Marbles? Sink really fast.
  • Lego dudes? They float, and almost always land face down. Why is that, they wondered?
  • Toothpicks? They float.. but get ‘stuck’ in the denser goo at the bottom and are really fun to play with!

The best part of the experiment was jumping in feet first... literally!

What do you do to make learning science fun for your kids?

The MomItForward teaching kids science series is brought to you by SteveSpanglerScience.com, more great ideas for teaching your kids science!

In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief researcher of bloggy karma, parenting dos (and some don’ts), new recipes, and for spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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Bio: In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief researcher of bloggy karma, parenting dos (and some don’ts), new recipes, and for spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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7 Responses to “Science Projects for Kids: Making Goo From Corn Starch”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MomItForward, MomItForward and Jyl Johnson Pattee. Jyl Johnson Pattee said: @CarissaRogers It went live already! (cc: @ColoScienceMom) http://momitforward.com/science-projects-for-kids-making-goo-from-corn-starch [...]

  2. Sky says:

    You are one awesome mama!! I make this “Ooblek” for the kids all the time, but on a much, much smaller scale. LOL, we only make enough that fits in a pie dish.

  3. Susan says:

    This looks like you had a great time with your kids making connections, observations and discoveries. You are a brave woman to do this in your kitchen. I would have made mine do it in the garage.

  4. Carissa says:

    We are STILL playing with this Goo days and days later! Talk about a fun project and CHEAP. About $5 total for the corn starch! :)

  5. [...] up the whole batch!). Make your own lipgloss (ingredients: petroleum jelly and fruit drink mix!). Make your own goop (cornstarch and water and stand back!) Invent ideas for more DIY projects. Get the kids creative [...]

  6. Susan32 says:

    Cool idea – Also check out http://www.experiland.com for some more science project ideas.

  7. […] exploded Diet Coke with Mentos, played with cornstarch goo and for Christmas his stocking is filled with new items he can build, explore and destroy! His […]

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