Most people hated Physics lessons at school, but that’s because they didn’t teach you the cool stuff. In this complete abuse of the laws of physics, we show you how to produce something that will seem disgusting but be easy to clean up. Perfect fun for kids!
Remember that boring Physics teacher who used to bore you about gravity, levers and a whole load of other stuff that you have completely forgotten about? Imagine how much better the lessons would have been if they had taught you some really fun stuff to do.
We came across something called a “non-Newtonian liquid” on a couple of other blog posts. It sounds a bit complicated but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
What is a non-Newtonian liquid?
It’s goo. Basically similar to silly putty when squashed, but like a liquid when you stop squashing it.
Huh? How does that work?
Most liquids cannot be compressed and so when you push your hand into them, they give way. This is true even of high density liquids like Mercury. The other thing that we know liquids for is that you can pour them.
Non-newtonian fluids are different.
If you pour them they behave normally!
But If you push them, they push back against you
Thanks for the lesson, Andy…. But how can this be fun?!
Mainly because they look simple but because this gloop behaves differently, kids find them intriguing. Imagine a liquid that kids can leave handprints in. Or something that you can pour into their hand but they can still squash into a ball. Best of all, you can make it multi-coloured.
It was the usual scenario… we made it for the toddler but the seven year old loved it too!
Making it is easy. Everyone has a slightly different version of the recipe but we started with :
- 400g of cornflour
- 350ml of water
- A few drops of food colouring
Then simply add a little more cornflour to make it more solid or a little more water to make it more liquid.
What you will be able to feel when the consistency is “right” to play with is that it becomes harder to stir the liquid the harder you push the spoon. Some recipes suggest putting the ingredients into a sandwich bag and shaking instead of stirring.
When you have a reasonably thick liquid, pour the liquid into the tray and let the fun begin.
Initial horror that he was allowed to get messy, but then glee when he experimented. All toddlers love splashing, but this was a liquid that he couldn’t splash no matter how hard he tried. Slapping it with the flat of your hand feels like hitting plasticine because it instantly resists.
He loved picking up a handful. Simply immerse your hand and make a fist and you can lift up a solid lump of Gloop. As soon as you take it out and release your fist, it becomes a liquid again and runs between your fingers.
He also experimented by putting in some small plastic toys. The material acts like quicksand – things sink slowly but the harder you try to pull them out, the greater the resistance. To take something out, you have to be as gentle as possible! Totally the opposite of normal.
The Big One’s Reaction
He loved it straight away. He was pulling out handfuls and loving the texture and strange behaviour. We found that if you take out a fistful, you can roll into a ball like a squash ball, but within a couple of seconds of stopping to roll it between your palms it melts away.
Do NOT put this down your sink. Within a couple of hours it will be hard enough to put into a bin. If you put it down your drain it may set and block it. We had used bright colours but they were all washable and cleaned off easily with a babywipe.
Great fun with physics that was a great follow up to the bathtime science!
Seaton Delaval Hall is a National Trust Property. It has a playground made from natural materials, formal gardens, picnic areas, walks and wide open spaces to let your little ones run about. There are photographic and ...