How To Make Oobleck and Engage In Early STEM Learning

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  • Post last modified:February 12, 2024
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Have you tried oobleck before? Its such a fascinating substance that can easily become a favourite activity for children and even adults. With a simple two ingredient recipe and multiple developmental benefits, including STEM learning, playing with oobleck is a must try for every child.

What is Oobleck

Oobleck gets its name from the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. It is made by mixing cornstarch and water together. The cornstarch doesn’t dissolve in water but becomes suspended which provides its unusual properties.

ocean oobleck

The Science of Oobleck

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid. It can be both a liquid or solid depending on the pressure put on it. If you hold it in your open hand it will drop off like a liquid. If you squeeze it in your hand, the pressure will turn it into a solid. This simple activity is great way to introduce science to curious young minds.

Encourage your child to explore the oobleck by squishing, poking, tapping, and running their fingers through it. Try grabbing a handful and make a ball, then open your hand and let it fall off as it turns back to liquid. Ask your child questions about how the oobleck feels. What happens when you add pressure?What happens when you release the pressure? Encourage them to make predictions about what they think could happen if they manipulate it a certain way.


Benefits on Child Development

Playing with oobleck is filled with potential learning opportunities. Not only does this activity support STEM learning but it supports the development of the whole child by contributing to social, emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development. Depending on the age of the child and what additional tools are being used, the learning opportunities can vary. The following is a list of potential benefits.

  • Sensory exploration
  • Strengthens fine motor muscles
  • Increases hand-eye coordination
  • Imaginative play
  • Creativity and self-expression
  • Emotional regulation
  • Language and communication
  • Problem solving
  • Following directions
  • Exploring science concepts (observation, prediction, viscosity)
  • Exploring math concepts (measurements)

Oobleck Recipe

Oobleck is quick and easy to make. The general rule is a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch to water but feel free to experiment!

oobleck ingredients


  • 2 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3-4 drops of food colouring (optional)
  • sensory bin (choose a large open container or tray)


  1. Measure out the ingredients. If using food colouring add it to the water.
  2. Next mix the water and cornstarch together in a sensory bin. You can either use your hands to mix or if its easier you can use a spoon or spatula. It needs to be thoroughly mixed to work properly.
  3. If you find the consistency off, you can add more cornstarch (if too watery) or more water (if too thick).
  4. Add any additional toys or tools that you wish, I have provided some ideas below. Have fun!

Clean Up:

Oobleck can be messy but clean up is easy. Just add more water and rinse it down the sink. For spills clean up with a wet cloth. If you really want to minimize the mess bring it outside to explore.

You can even save it for the next day by transferring the oobleck into a container. The the cornstarch and water will separate so it will need to be thoroughly mixed again before you play. I wouldn’t keep it more than one day as it will start to go bad.

arctic oobleck

10 Ways To Play With Oobleck

There are so many ways to explore oobleck. One of our favourite ways to play is with animal figurines but you can add whichever toys you have available. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

  1. Keep it simple and explore with your hands.
  2. Add a variety of kitchen tools to let your child mix and move the oobleck around.
  3. Add animal figurines: arctic animals are our favourite, but you can also dye the oobleck blue and use ocean animals, or dye it brown to make a muddy pond with frogs.
  4. Keep the ingredients separate and let them mix and play on their own.
  5. Lay out the cornstarch for snow and surround with the water. Add penguins and let them explore. As the cornstarch and water mix during their play it will make oobleck.
  6. Measure out the water and make ice cubes. Then add the ice cubes to a tray of measured out cornstarch. As the ice cubes melt the water can mix with the cornstarch.
  7. Add trucks and make tracks in the oobleck.
  8. Use black food colouring, add rocks and construction trucks to create a construction site.
  9. For older children let them make the oobleck themselves by measuring out the ingredients and mixing it on their own. This is a perfect learning opportunity for following directions and math.
  10. If you’re wanting to store it for another day try freezing the oobleck. This will also dry it out and change it into more of a play-dough like substance offering a whole new level of play. This is a great opportunity for scientific inquiry for older children. What do they think will happen when you freeze the oobleck? How has it changed? What can they do to turn in back into a non-Newtonian fluid?
oobleck and penguins

Safety Reminder

Young children that are still teething or mouthing objects may want to put it in their mouth to explore. Small tastes are fine but cornstarch shouldn’t be consumed raw. Children under 3 years of age should therefore be monitored during play. You know your child best and can judge if this is an age appropriate activity for your child.

Oobleck is a curious substance and a great opportunity for young children to explore early STEM concepts. This simple activity has enormous learning potential for children of all ages. With so many different ways to play and explore it will keep your child engaged for days.

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