Ooey, Gooey Oobleck Recipe: The Dr. Seuss Alternative to PlayDough

A messy, yet educational, science activity for toddlers and preschoolers.

Oobleck Non-Newtonian Fluid with Colorful Swirls of Food Coloring
Photo Daniel Conway|CC

Tired of playdough and need an alternative? Try this inexpensive, non-toxic Oobleck recipe, sometimes called “slime”,”ooze,” or “goo”.  This amazing stuff acts like a solid and a liquid at the same time!

Oobleck is a simple suspension of cornstarch in water and is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid, a mixture which is both a solid and a liquid.

Oobleck has properties similar to Quicksand, Flubber, Silly-Putty, and even Ketchup. All you need is corn starch and food coloring and the food coloring is optional.

Oobleck Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups corn starch
  • Optional: a few drops of food coloring, for adventurous parents!
Toddler playing with oobleck goo recipe
Photo moppet65535|CC

Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Stick your finger in water. Easy right? Now stick your finger in Oobleck. What happens?

Children will be amazed when the more they push their little fingers into Oobleck, the harder the mixture becomes. Try these fun experiments with your toddler and preschoolers:

  • stab it with your finger; What happens when you push fast vs. slow?
  • turn the bowl upside-down quickly
  • put a spoon into the Oobleck, try to pull it out quickly
  • put some Oobleck on the spoon and let it flow off

Sensory Learning and Language Development Activities

Touching something new is an adventure, but also learning opportunity for young children. Describe how it feels. Cold? Slimy? Is it fun to touch, or icky? Help your child put words to what the feel and experience.

Some kids may not like feeling something unexpected, strange, or new, like Oobleck. They may even cry, avoid touching it, or hold their hands up with disgust. Never force a new experience and honor the child’s feelings.

Continue providing them with new sensory experiences to encourage their self-exploration of the world.

Read Dr. Seuss ‘Bartholomew and the Oobleck”

The name Oobleck comes from the classic 1949 book by Dr. Seuss, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, which follows the adventures of a little boy who must rescue his kingdom from a sticky, gooey substance called “oobleck.”

Read the book with your child, and then make a mess exploring the fun properties of Oobleck together!