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Cooking Up Some Silly Science
It was a rainy day, and the girls had exhausted their energy for drawing and were now fishing through the closet in search of Play-Doh.
"Here it is!" Samantha said. But when we opened the container, the dough had dried up into lumpy little chunks. Giant sighs of disappointment made the sound of rain even louder.
That's when I remembered the recipe for Flubber, a gooey concoction of slime that my budding scientists loved. We mixed one cup (8 oz.) of water with four teaspoons of Borax — a multipurpose cleaner sold alongside laundry detergents — in a jar, and let it dissolve. Then in another jar, we mixed a cup and a half of ordinary glue with an equal amount of water, and the girls took turns shaking the jar.
Next we combined a third cup of the Borax solution with a cup of the glue mixture in a bowl. Samantha added in some red food coloring, while Annie made hers blue. The girls stirred the Flubber, and the mixture was soon slimy and thick. Then they took it out and kneaded it, cooing with delight as they did. Running their tiny fingers through the thick, shiny slime occupied them long enough for the skies to clear up that day.
Making Flubber was one of our first science experiments. Other variations of the borax-and-glue magic are Rubber Blubber and Homemade Slime. We also made glarch (www.theideabox.com), goop (www.makingfriends.com), and modeling dough (www.cooks.com).
The girls loved mixing things together, then diving in with their hands to mold their concoction. Best of all, with the exception of the modeling dough, which is cooked on the stove, the recipes were all easy and kid-friendly.
My girls are a little older now, and they're more apt to do their mixing by helping me in the kitchen with making cakes and cookies. But every once in a while, when a dreary day comes along and they've run out of ideas, they still like to make Flubber. And guess what? I do, too.