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Learning from messy play

As all mums can relate, one of the things we try to minimise as much as possible with children is: MESS. We put on bibs, we place mats or sheets under highchairs at meal times, we try to contain play time to a specified area, and phrases like “be careful” and “please hold it properly” are constantly on repeat mode like a broken record.

But sometimes, we should give free reign to allow some messiness to happen. Why? Because it’s educational, it’s stimulating and just plain fun… well for the little ones anyway. And chances are, if you don’t allow them a messy outlet, it will explode out in some other way.

If you’re up for it, here is something pretty cool Nathan and I played with recently...

It’s called Oobleck (also seen in Dr Seuss’s book) and it’s pretty funny stuff.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 drops food colouring (optional)

Mix everything in a big bowl or pot until it comes together in one big gloopy mess. You can scale the amounts up or down according to the same ratio of 2 parts corn starch to 1 part water.

I had intended to leave Nathan in his messy play while I bustled around in the kitchen. But every so often he would keep yelling out excitedly “Look at this mummy!” or “Come and see this, mummy!”. So I came and looked. And as it turns out, I got sucked in as well. Because this is seriously some funny gloop.

This concoction is a type of non-newtonian fluid. Which means, it acts like a liquid when being poured, but behaves like a solid when a force is applied to it.


We tried grabbing a handful of it, and it clumped together as we picked it up. But once in our hands, it oozes apart like liquid.


We smooshed it and rolled it... and it started coming together. We could almost form little balls and shapes with it –but only just almost... the moment we stopped rolling, the shapes we formed oozes apart again.


Ooblecky non-newtonian fluid. Hmmm... even mummy can learn something new.

When was the last time you got messy with your little one?

[Other messy plays you might be interested in: ice cube painting and water painting].


Linking up to June’s Little Lessons
Ang & Kaz’s Fly on by Friday
and Eva’s Mummy Mondays


  1. Ahhh, we love goop too! Haha, looking at Nathan play with goop reminds me of those days I used to make it quite regularly!

    Totally agree with you, they have most fun when it's messy and free. I recently got the kids to help with baking and they just went nuts with the flour! Oh well, at least they didn't spoil the cookie dough... :)

    1. You are so brave to let them have free reign with the flour! But I guess you have more experience than I and have learnt to let go a lot more by now ;) Well, it's all part of making memories

  2. That looks like fun, I think I'll try this with the kids!
    They are messy by nature anyway, so what's a little more mess?

    1. I'm sure your boys will love it... somehow more mess = more fun, especially with boys!

  3. You are very right there Serene, this is what I'm like all the time, mess makes me cringe but I do need to let my son go. It's funny though, he doesn't like getting his hands dirty!

    1. Hi Eva! how cute that you have a clean little person there... hopefully his clean streak translates to clean up time too. But I'm sure some level of messiness is inevitable wherever kids are. As you say, we mums have just got to let go sometimes :)

  4. Replies
    1. No problem! Thanks for hosting the linky, Kaz.


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