Thursday, August 29, 2013

Magnets and Oobleck

Once again we are keeping things simple by using two ingredients to create a fun activity! A while ago when we were creating our oobleck swamp, we discovered that magnets are so fun to watch when they are dropped into a container of oobleck!

Just to add a bit more to this activity, I let Bean pick out a few colours and she chose light blue, purple and green food colouring. This activity can certainly be made without food colouring though. We did this activity many times "plain" because we spent the last week working with black and white colours, like in our marbles and spools activity. But now we are back to playing with mixed colours!

I used one package of cornstarch (cornflour) and mixed in some water to make oobleck. To mix it together, we usually use 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch. But use your own judgement because the measurement is not perfect. We mixed it together in a large glass pan and then added a drop of each of the food colours (the many speckles was because we were using up the last of the green and it sprayed everywhere). This makes the colours fun to watch as well, because as the oobleck is played with and the magnets move through the colours, they will swirl around and combine to create pretty new shades!

Then add in the magnets! We used small and large sized hematite magnets, which are Munchkin's favourite. Every time we see them in the store, it's the only thing he wants. So we have quite a few different shapes and sizes. Not to mention, in an activity like this, they are very easy to clean afterwards!

These two love this activity! Not only is oobleck their favourite sensory material to play with, but we all love (almost obsessively) to play with magnets, so this activity is fun on so many levels! Magnets and oobleck can be played with on their own, but together they create a unique experience.

The magnets work the same, even when coated in a thick layer of oobleck. The oobleck sucks the magnets right in and holds them, like quicksand. Which means that it can sometimes be difficult to pull them out, depending on how deep they are.

The incredible thing is that when you leave them alone, they will all slowly move towards or away from the other magnets, depending on which way they are facing in the oobleck. Another cool thing is that if you hold a magnet above them, they will move to get closer, which means you can make a magnet stand right up!

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