One of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books — and one beloved by science teachers everywhere — is “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.” Published in 1949, it’s the tale of Bartholomew Cubbins, page to spoiled, stubborn King Derwin of Didd, who has decided that sun, fog, rain and snow are borrrring and he’d like something else to fall from the sky. Voila. Generations of children were introduced to Oobleck, a green goo with remarkable properties – but not exactly what you want coating your garden, your castle or your friends.
Oobleck is a bizarre substance – liquid and solid at the same time. If you want to go all scientisty here, it’s actually a non-Newtonian liquid and despite the Seussian connection, according to the Lawrence Hall of Science staff, Albert Einstein was already writing about the stuff back in 1906. But even 21st century kids adore the goo because it’s just so darn weird – and you can make it at home with ordinary household ingredients. Here’s how…
You’ll need 1 cup water, 1 1/2 to 2 cups cornstarch, and a few drops of green food coloring. Place the water in a mixing bowl and start adding the cornstarch, stirring well, first with a spoon and eventually your hands. After the first cup and a half of cornstarch is in, add only enough to achieve the desired gooey consistency. It should slip through your fingers as if it were liquid – but slap it against a table or hit it with the palm of your hand and the stuff’s solid.
You can mix things into it too, including glitter or plastic ants. Things to avoid: dropping it on younger siblings, grinding it into your carpet … You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you’re done with it, dump it in the trash. It’s non-toxic and biodegradable, but it will clog your kitchen drain.