Summer doesn’t mean there’s no time for homeschool summer science! In fact, you probably have even more time now that you’re not bogged down with a school schedule. In your free time, consider putting together some unique slime recipes with your kids! They make for a great summer science STEM project to do as a family.
Polymers in your slime – anyone?
If we’re talking summer science experiments, let’s make sure we understand what we have. First, what’s a polymer? And second, why is this so important in making slime? Slime is totally chemistry! Though it may be fun for kids to make and explore, you can rest assured knowing they’re actually learning quite a bit about polymers, molecules, and binding properties when procuring their latest slime recipes.
Polymers are made of large chains of molecules. For slime to occur, you need the right “slime activators” and the right polymers. We recommend using basic (washable) school glue as your polymer and either liquid starch or borax as your slime activator. As we said, this is basic chemistry – it’s about putting molecules together and enjoying the reaction that occurs as a result. Well, and maybe with a little glitter tossed in for fun!
Slime is considered a non-Newtonian fluid. This means it’s neither a liquid or solid. You can pick it up like a solid but it also flows freely like a liquid. With slime, if you pull it apart quickly, you break the bond (and have two pieces, one in each hand). However, if you run it through your hands slowly you have a free-flowing smooth substance. Neat, huh?
So what are some of the best slime recipes?
Top Slime Recipes
For basic slime, your common ingredients will include 2 bottles of liquid school glue (Elmer’s), ½ to 1 tsp Borax, and 1 C hot water (plus about ½ C room temperature water). From there, let your imagination (glitter, confetti, etc.) go wild! We’ve included some more slime recipes we thought were pretty cool.
- Fluffy Slime
For this recipe, you’ll need a couple of extra ingredients such as foam shaving cream and food coloring. Add ½ C glue to a bowl and drop in as many drops of food coloring as you desire – the fewer the drops, the more pastel of a color you’ll have. Stir together, then whip in 3-4 C of foam shaving cream. Fold in ¼ tsp baking soda and 1T saline solution. Keep kneading the concoction together and you’ll have beautiful, fluffy slime!
- Emoji Slime
This unique slime from Thirty Handmade Days is too adorable to pass up! Essentially, you’ll make the fluffy slime recipe from above only you’ll use yellow food coloring to dye the slime. Once finished, decorate with googly eyes and “lips” made from red construction paper.
- Rainbow Galaxy Slime
With this recipe, you’ll start with 4 bottles of glitter glue – pink, blue, green, and purple…or whatever colors you can find. Pour each bottle into a styrofoam bowl by itself. In a separate jar or bowl, mix together 1 tsp Borax with 2 T hot water. Slowly add some of the Borax water to each bowl of glue. You’ll only add enough to cause the glue to pull away from the sides of the bowl and knead the slime until it’s not sticky anymore. Once you finish doing all colors, pull each individual color into a “log” and lay them next to each other. Then, swirl them together to make a pretty rainbow!
- Heat-Sensitive Color-Changing Slime
The key to this slime is the thermochromic pigment. That’s the same ingredient in any color-changing products such as mood rings. Decide on the colors you want to have (one color when it’s cool and another color when it’s hot) and choose the thermochromic pigment to coordinate. Your thermochromic pigment will be the color it is when it’s cool and you’ll use food coloring to choose the color once warm. Mix together ¼ C school glue and 1 T water. Add about 5 drops of food coloring and about 3 tsp of the thermochromic pigment. Stir in ⅛ C liquid starch and knead the mixture together until it pulls away from the sides. That’s it! Store this slime in a plastic or glass container with a lid.
- Two-Ingredient Slime (Edible)
Think you don’t have enough ingredients to whip together some slime? Think again! You may even cook with the main ingredient in this slime recipe: psyllium husks. Crush together 3 vitamin tablets and remove the outer coating. Combine the crushed vitamins, 8 tsp of psyllium husks, and 3 C water together in a bowl. Microwave the mixture slowly until it becomes flubbery and pulls away from the sides of the bowl easily.
Slime is a practical and easy STEM science experiment you can do with your kids. If they’re old enough, you may even let them explore different variations and possibilities on their own. Just keep some of the basic ingredients on hand at all times and let your kids’ imaginations take over!