Oobleck is a super cool substance made from just cornstarch and water. The science behind how it works has to do with something called "non-Newtonian fluids." Here's the gist of it:

A "fluid" is something that can flow, like water or syrup. Most fluids, like water, are called "Newtonian fluids" because they follow rules discovered by a scientist named Sir Isaac Newton. These rules say that a fluid's thickness, or "viscosity," stays the same, no matter how much force you put on it.

However, oobleck is different! It's a "non-Newtonian fluid" because it doesn't follow those rules. Its viscosity changes depending on how much force you apply to it. When you gently touch or pour oobleck, it behaves like a liquid and flows smoothly. But when you apply more force, like squeezing or hitting it, it becomes thicker and acts like a solid.

Our little ones were eager to help out with the making of Oobleck and you can enjoy their narration on how it all went.

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difference between newtonian and non-newtonian


The science behind this behavior has to do with the cornstarch particles suspended in the water. When you apply force to the oobleck, the cornstarch particles get pushed closer together and form a temporary structure, making the oobleck feel solid. When you release the force, the particles have more room to move around, so the oobleck flows like a liquid again.

So, oobleck is a really cool example of a non-Newtonian fluid that changes its behavior depending on how you interact with it! You can do this experiment with kids that are old enough to follow directions and not eat it!

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Here's a simple guide for parents to help their kids create oobleck at home.

Oobleck Recipe

Oobleck Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • A large bowl for mixing
  • A spoon or spatula
  • A surface cover or tray (to keep things clean)
oobleck recipe: water and cornstarch for oobleck ingredients


  1. Prepare the workspace: Before starting, cover your working surface with a tablecloth, plastic sheet, or tray to keep things clean and make cleanup easier.
  2. Mix the ingredients: In a large bowl, have your child pour 1 cup of cornstarch. Add a few drops of food coloring to the 1/2 cup of water if you want colored oobleck (this step is optional). Stir the water and food coloring to blend the colors.
  3. Combine water and cornstarch: Slowly pour the colored water into the bowl with cornstarch while your child mixes the ingredients together using a spoon or spatula. Keep mixing until all the water is absorbed, and you have a thick, gooey substance.
  4. Test the consistency: Oobleck should be liquid-like when you move it slowly, but harden when you apply pressure or move it quickly. If the mixture is too runny, add more cornstarch; if it's too thick, add a little more water. Adjust the ingredients until you achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Play and explore: Encourage your child to touch, squeeze, and play with the oobleck. Ask them to describe the texture and observe how it behaves when they apply different amounts of pressure or move it at different speeds. This is a great opportunity to introduce the concept of non-Newtonian fluids and talk about the unique properties of oobleck.
  6. Clean up: When you're done playing, make sure to dispose of the oobleck in the trash, not down the sink, as it can clog your pipes. Clean your workspace and wash hands thoroughly.

Enjoy this entertaining and educational home science experiment with your kids, and have fun exploring the fascinating world of oobleck together!

In Conclusion

The oobleck experiment offers a fantastic opportunity for parents to engage in hands-on learning and fun with their kids. This unique and mesmerizing substance not only provides hours of entertainment but also serves as an excellent introduction to the world of non-Newtonian fluids and the fascinating science behind them. By creating and playing with oobleck, children can develop their curiosity, critical thinking skills, and understanding of scientific concepts, all while enjoying quality time with their family. So, gather your supplies, roll up your sleeves, and dive into the amazing world of oobleck for an unforgettable and educational family experience!

picture of Isaac Newton

More Science Fun

Here are some other viscosity or non-Newtonian fluid experiments that kids can try with their parents:

  1. Cornstarch and Water Puddles: In addition to making oobleck, experiment with different ratios of cornstarch and water to create various consistencies. Observe how the mixtures behave and compare their viscosities.
  2. Ketchup Race: Fill two identical containers with different brands or types of ketchup (e.g., regular vs. organic) or other viscous liquids, such as honey or syrup. Turn the containers upside down simultaneously and observe which liquid flows out faster. This can help kids understand how viscosity can vary between different liquids.
  3. Shear-Thickening Fluids: How to make oobleck without cornstarch. Create a shear-thickening fluid, like oobleck, using other household ingredients such as potato starch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder mixed with water. Experiment with these mixtures to observe their non-Newtonian behaviors.
  4. DIY Slime: Make slime using white glue, water, and a borax solution, or try alternative recipes using contact lens solution or liquid starch. Slime exhibits non-Newtonian properties and can be a fun way for kids to learn about viscosity.
  5. Toothpaste Piping: Fill a resealable plastic bag with toothpaste or other thick, viscous substances, and cut a small hole in one corner. Have kids pipe the toothpaste through the hole onto a surface, applying varying levels of pressure to observe how the toothpaste behaves under different conditions.
  6. Temperature and Viscosity: Heat various liquids, such as honey, syrup, or vegetable oil, in separate containers (with adult supervision). Compare the viscosity of the liquids when they are warm vs. when they are at room temperature. This experiment demonstrates how temperature can affect the viscosity of certain substances.

These experiments offer engaging ways for kids and their parents to explore viscosity and non-Newtonian fluids while learning about the science behind them. They encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning in a fun and interactive way.

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