For decades, children have been playing with all types of dough, clay, putty, foam, goop and slime. They are intrigued by these substances that have properties of both solids and liquids.
However, the world of “slime” has really taken off in the past several years. Children these days are making slime, buying slime, giving it as a gift, using it to relax and even trading with friends or selling slime to others!
Apart from slime being a fun substance, there are also many educational benefits of playing with it.
How to Make Slime
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If you and your preschoolers want to try your hands at homemade slime, you can find numerous basic slime recipes online.
School glue is a common ingredient, along with baking soda and contact lens solution.
Just mix the stated amounts together until slime starts to form. Different glue formats can be used, such as clear, white, coloured and even glow-in-the-dark.
Many interesting substances and small loose parts can be added to your slime for variety in smell, look and texture:
- Food colouring
- Scented lotions
- Fragrance oils
- Sparkly stars
- Coloured sprinkles
- Small plastic beads
- Water beads
- Miniature plastic balls
- Plastic confetti
- Shaving cream
To offer slime activities for toddlers, you can stick with fully edible recipes, such as one made with gelatin, cornstarch and hot water.
Once the hot water has cooled, little hands can help knead the mixture into a slime consistency.
Recycle household product containers to hold your slime and keep it from turning dry. Special containers are even sold online expressly for this purpose.
The Best Slime to Purchase
For some kids, making slime is the most important part of the process. Other children would just as soon skip that step and get right into the play.
Slime is available easily in stores and online. Purchase them in individual containers (like this one) or in kits (here’s a great one).
Commercially made slimes are usually suggested for children three years and up. Some could possibly contain higher levels of chemicals than are thought to be safe, so do your research before buying.
In addition, kids should always wash their hands after playing with slime and avoid using slime products if they have a cut or open sore on their hands or fingers.
The Benefits of Playing with Slime
The type of messy play involved with manipulating slime seems to appeal more to some children than others but offers many benefits of sensory play.
Here are just a few of the positives of playing with slime:
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Strengthens small muscles in the hand and fingers (fine motor control)
- Offers opportunities for creativity
- Expands sensory development
- Increases mindfulness
- Builds concentration
- Offers time for independent play
10 Slime Activities for Kids
When you hand a container of slime to your children, they are apt to dive in and start experiencing the substance’s interesting properties with their hands and senses.
Once they are past the initial excitement, you can lead them into many more targeted educational ideas with slime.
1. Make Your Name with Slime
On the tabletop, kids look at their names written on paper and reproduce those letters (or at least their first initials) with slime.
Another option is to spread the slime out and press plastic letters from the magnet board into the slime for imprints of their names.
Try these name activities too.
2. Form Numbers with Slime
Numbers can be formed in the same ways as letters. Children could begin with the number that shows their age.
Here are more number recognition activities for preschoolers.
3. Make Shapes with Slime
You have many options when working with shapes and slime. Children could take turns making shapes for others to guess, form shapes you have announced, or even take turns being the announcer.
Here are more fun shape recognition activities.
4. Blow Slime Bubbles
Children hold a ball of slime in one hand, place it in a bowl on the table, or just put the ball right on the table.
Insert a straw, making sure the slime is secure and tight around it. Then blow for a huge bubble. Thick slime recipes often work best for making bubbles.
5. Design a Slime Snow Person
The interesting properties of slime lend themselves perfectly to making “melting” snow people!
Use white slime for the “snow,” and add silver glitter to the slime to make it sparkle like snow. Offer buttons and various plastic objects to form the snow person’s features, hat and limbs.
How long will it take them to “melt?”
6. Experiment with Mixing Colours
While making slime and tinting with food colouring, guide kids in learning about mixing primary colours to make new, secondary colours.
Blue plus yellow makes green, red added to blue makes purple, and yellow plus red turns orange.
7. Erupt a Slime Volcano
Using green or brownish (blue + orange) slime, form an indentation at the top and add at least 3 tablespoons of baking soda, mixing it into the slime until stiff.
Form the slime into a “volcano” shape on a plate or in a dish. Using plain or coloured vinegar, spoon it or squeeze it from a medicine dropper into the indentation at the top of the volcano.
Watch the eruption that soon follows.
8. Search for Hidden “Treasure” in Slime
Various types of shaped confetti can be used in slime. For a treasure hunt, though, tell the kids to search for a specific shape by pulling and stretching their slime until they discover it!
9. Make an Ocean with Slime
First, make slime with clear glue in lovely shades of blue. Add silver glitter for the effect of the sun sparkling off the water.
For ocean play, offer a variety of small plastic sea creatures, such as fish, dolphins, crabs, sand dollars, squids and turtles.
10. Play with Construction Slime
Make slime tinted with black food colouring to look like black or grey asphalt and dirt. On the hard floor or tabletop, offer a variety of metal or plastic construction toys and other vehicles.
Kids can drive, dig and dump the slime, pretending to be construction workers.
These are just a few of the colourful, ooey-gooey slime ideas available for kids to experience. When they have it in their eager little hands, they are sure to come up with more things to do with slime on their own!
Slime is also a great material for introducing kids to science concepts such as solids and liquids and how their forms change.
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