The ultimate slime guide

The ultimate slime guide

I have been asked a lot lately about slime recipes that do not require borax powder (as it is difficult to source in Ireland at the moment); We have tried and tested some alternatives (it’s a tough job but someone has to do it 😉 ) and here are our favourite slime recipes.

Borax

Firstly, we do still love our slime recipes made with borax powder; our favourite is the glowing monster slime, you can find the recipe here. If you can get your hands on some borax powder, it is worth trying it out.

When people talk about slime recipes without borax they actually mean, without borax powder. These recipes (except for the silly putty one at the end) all contain borax in some form; I just wanted to make that clear as I feel many borax-free slime recipes are misnomers.

Making slime with contact lens solution

Luckily, when we can’t find borax powder, we can often find borax in other forms, in other products. One example is contact lens solutions that contain boric acid and sodium borate. If you can find those ingredients on the label then these recipes should work.

We tried out a number of different contact lens solutions (thanks to Elizabeth from Life on Hushabye farm for helping me out with this; Elizabeth is an optometrist). Thanks too to Sinead from Crafty Fun Kids for suggesting the boots contact lens solution, we have tried that one out too, as you’ll see below.

What solutions did we test?

For the purpose of this post we tried out three different contact lens solutions. If you want to try something similar just take a look at the label, ideally you want it to contain boric acid and sodium borate, but we tested one with just the boric acid and still got some results.

The quantities we state below may vary depending on the type of glue you use, the food colouring, contact lens solution etc so it is always best to add the contact lens solution in small amounts to ensure you don’t add too much.

These are the three contact lens solutions we tested:

  1. ReNu contact lens solution by Bausch and Lomb, containing boric acid and sodium borate. This one cost €8.50 for 120mls. Although expensive it we only needed to use a little so it will last a long time and it gave us the best results.
  2. Lens plus contact lens solution by OcuPure; this contact lens solution cost €4.50 for 120mls; it contained boric acid, but NOT sodium borate.
  3. All in one solution travel pack by Boots, containing voric acid and sodium borate. This one cost €4.99 for 60mls.

Basic slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add half a teaspoon first, you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This gave a great slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Glowing slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 3 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a black light (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

8/10

Again we got a really nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Fluffy slime recipe (with ReNu contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • ReNu contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 3 teaspoon of ReNu contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

9/10

We really loved this one! It is so soft and fluffy you could literally play with it for hours. Although some of the air was released after storage, it still kept much of its fluffiness which was a big plus.

Basic slime recipe (with Lens Plus contact lens solution)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add ½ teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 5 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add half a teaspoon first; you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

6/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. We just felt it required more contact lens solution that the ones that contained sodium borate and took a while longer to make. Although this contact lens solution was cheaper, we had to use a lot more so it was less cost effective.

Glowing slime recipe (with Lens PLus contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add 5-6 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 20 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a blacklight (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

3/10

It took a long time to get this slime just right and it required a lot of contact lens solution. We also found that the slime did not store well and was not much good the next day.

Fluffy slime recipe (with Lens Plus contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • Lens Plus contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add 5-6 teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 10 teaspoon of Lens Plus contact lens solution while continuing to mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.

Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

5/10

Again, it took a long time to get this slime just right and it required a lot of contact lens solution. We also found that the slime did not store well and was not much good the next day.

Basic slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring if using
  • Add 1 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add this is small amounts, you get better slime if you don’t add too much contact lens solution.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

7/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

Glowing slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add I tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add 2-3 teaspoon bread soda
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 4-5 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.
  • If you have a blacklight (UV light) then turn try it out in a dark room and see your slime glow!

Our verdict:

6/10

Again we got a really nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. We took off a few points because it needed a good bit of contact lens solution and because the slime felt a little wet the next day.

Fluffy slime recipe (with Boots contact lens solution)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Baking soda (Bread soda)
  • Shaving foam
  • Boots contact lens solution
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add 2 teaspoon bread soda
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Mix all together
  • Add approximately 1-2 teaspoon of Boots contact lens solution while continuing to mix. It may be best to add one teaspoon at a time and mix. You may not need all the contact lens solution and you get better slime if you don’t add too much of it.
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

The shaving foam allows lots of air pockets to be trapped in the slime mixture, making it supper fluffy!

Our verdict:

8/10

Again we really liked this slime , it made fantastic fluffy slime but it didn’t last in storage. If you are OK with that then it’s definitely worth making.

The Science bit:

We make slime from PVA glue if borate ions can combine with the glue, forming additional links between the molecules and creating the polymer we call slime.

This contact lens solution contained boric acid and sodium borate; in order for them to release the borate ions to allow them bind with the glue, we needed to add bread soda.

The bread soda reacts with the boric acid and sodium borate in an acid-base reaction, releasing the borate ions.

Making slime with liquid laundry detergent

This one took a lot of wrongs to get a right! I tried Aldi’s non-bio gel repeatedly, and with every alteration and variation I could imagine but I couldn’t get it to work.  Using washing detergents is a lot more tricky as borax is not listed in any form in the ingredients, instead it comes under the general term of optical brightener. My guess is that Aldi have changed the optical brighteners they use in their non-bio gel so the product no longer contains borax.

The good news is that I did find an alternative that does work… Lidl’s Formil bio liquid detergent (not the gel). We got the 3 Litre bottle for less than €5 but I believe there is a 1.5L option as well. Just make sure you get non-bio and liquid not gel!

Like the contact lens solution, a little goes a long way, so this will last us years!

Basic slime (liquid laundry detergent)

You will need: 

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add about 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This gave a nice slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container.

We combined this basic slime recipe with a variation on the glowing slime recipe below to make a mix we call… Cosmic slime; take a look at the video to find out how…

Glowing slime (with liquid laundry detergent)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Fluorescent plaint
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add 1 tablespoon (15mls) fluorescent paint
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

8/10

This great slime that was stretchy and non-sticky and lasted well once placed in a sealed bag or container. This recipe worked the best with the paint. We also changed this around a little, adding other coloured (tempura) paints and combining colours.

You can change around the recipe to make your own creations; in this one we made two bowls of different coloured slime (using tempura paint) and them combined them for this cool, marbled effect.

Fluffy slime (with liquid laundry detergent)

You will need:

  • PVA glue (white or clear)
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Pour 1/8 cup (30mls) of PVA glue into the bowl
  • Add 1 cup of shaving foam
  • Add a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon Lidl liquid laundry detergent (try and add this a little at a time as you make not need it all)
  • Mix all together
  • Once the slime starts to stick together and comes away from the sides of the bowl, take it into your hands and start kneading and stretching it. Don’t worry if it is still a little sticky when you start.

Our verdict:

9/10

It’s like candy floss slime… what’s not to love!

The science bit

This is another slime recipe that relies on borate ions. This time they are in laundry detergent. As we don’t consume laundry detergent the ingredients are not listed in the same way; they do not need to be named as specifically as for foods. I assume that the borate ions are present in some form as the optical brighteners listed in the ingredient.

Pros

This was quick, easy, fairly forgiving and made fantastic slime. We preferred it to the slime we made with the contact lens solution. You can literally make slime with just two ingredients, and it is great slime!

Cons

You really only need a small amount of liquid detergent which can be hard to add in such small quantities. If you add a little too much the slime can be a little more rubbery, but it’s still cool!

To make the best slime you need to add a little less liquid detergent and just knead the slime very well in your hands; this makes for a messier process but you’ll be rewarded with some really great slime!

Silly putty (no borax at all)

This is a fun alternative to slime that requires no borax in any form and you probably have the ingredients you need right in your kitchen.

You will need:

  • Dish washing liquid or liquid soap
  • Food colouring
  • Cornflour
  • Bowl for mixing and something for stirring
  • Measuring spoons
  • A sealable bag or container to store your slime in afterwards

What to do:

  • Place ½ cup of cornflour in the bowl
  • Add ¼ cup dish washing liquid or liquid soap
  • Add a few drops of food colouring of your choice
  • Mix well then remove from the bowl and knead and that’s it!
All the colours of the rainbow – silly putty

Pros:

This is very fast and easy to make and kids love it! It is a great activity for sensory play for children. You can mix it up too, add glitter or be really adventurous and make rainbow silly putty, you’ll find how here!

Cons:

This silly putty doesn’t tend to last as long as regular slime (about a week) so you usually have to remake a batch anytime you want some.

A bit about safety

Firstly, we do not recommend that children do these experiments unsupervised! Some of this slime may look good enough to eat… make sure they don’t! Each one of these recipes contains something that may irritate sensitive skin (contact lens solution, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid and liquid soap can all cause irritation) so get the children to wear gloves, if in doubt. Both of my boys can suffer with eczema and can only have their clothes washed in one type of laundry detergent but none of these recipes affected them. Remember to get them to wash their hands afterwards and limit the length of time they will play with the slime, if you think it may irritate.

Our overall recommendations

If working with young children we’d definitely recommend starting with the silly putty.

If going for a contact lens solution try to get one with both boric acid and sodium borate, you’ll get a lot more slime for your buck at the end of the day. Our favourite was the ReNu contact lens solution, we felt it made the best slime and we needed very little of it so it will last us a long time.

Our favourite overall slime was probably the any that we made with the Lidl Formil liquid laundry detergent; it was the most simple recipe, the slime we made was really great and it will last us for a VERY long time.

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND making the fluffy slime… it’s like marshmallows or candy floss. It was definitely the favourite one… just remember not to eat it!

Remember, once you get the basics you can adjust the recipes to customise your slime whatever way you like. Adding some glitter to any of the recipes is a great place to start.

Enjoy and let us know how you get on 🙂

 

How to make rainbow silly putty

How to make rainbow silly putty

People are always asking me for a slime recipe that doesn’t require borax powder. This is one option, making silly putty. We love this recipe, using just cornflour and washing up liquid (or you can use liquid soap instead); just be careful that you use products that you know won’t irritate your child’s skin.

We thought we’d share this one, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day…. with all the shamrocks and the leprechauns and the rainbows 😉

You will need:

  • Cornflour
  • Liquid soap or washing up liquid
  • A bowl
  • A spoon
  • Food colouring

What to do:

Just click the arrow button on the right of the image below to find out how to make this brilliant rainbow silly putty; it is so easy and my kids loved it!


The results:

We mixed all our silly putty together for the rainbow effect but you can keep the colours separate if you prefer. This silly putty is great to play with, mold it in your hand, stretch it, fold it… it makes a great stress busting tool too! It will last for a week or more if you put it in an airtight container or plastic bag but we usually just make a new batch each time.

Let me know if you try this yourself! We have had lots of fun working on other slime recipes and will be sharing them soon so remember to check back or follow the blog to make sure you don’t miss any posts! 

How do snails get their shells and can slime mend a broken heart?

How do snails get their shells and can slime mend a broken heart?

It is all about snails here this week; snail questions, bad weather and midterm break. I was planning a written blog in response to all his questions, but, spirits were high this morning (in the kids, not me!) so writing time was limited. Instead we went for something a little different and if you like it, I think it could become a regular feature.

We made a little video, the snail questioning one and I. So go get a cuppa and settle down for five minutes with us… it’s time to TAKE FIVE!

So what do you think? We hope you liked it, let us know what you think in the comments below and, if you have a question you’d like covered in a TAKE FIVE video, let us know!

Have a great weekend!

4 Valentine experiments 4 your loved ones

4 Valentine experiments 4 your loved ones

I must admit that I am not a big fan of the commercial side of Valentine’s day but I have no problem with the idea of telling someone you love just how much they mean to you. When I get to couple the sentiment with some science experimenting then my heart really does skip a beat. Check out these cool valentine science experiments that would make some pretty unique (and educational) gifts for the someone special in your life.

  1. Say it with flowers

Who doesn’t love flowers on Valentine’s Day? With a little bit of science you can add an extra twist to this staple gift. Try these CHROMATOGRAPHY flowers…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Some paper (we used regular white A4 paper here)
  • A selection of water soluble coloured markers
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • A paperclip
  • A glass or beaker
  • A jug of water
  • Some wire or pipe cleaners

Chromatography flower 1

What to do:

Fold your paper in half down the long side and then open it out again.

Using your ruler and a pencil, draw a line either side of the crease, the line should be about 2 cm from the crease on each side.

Choose the colours you would like to use and place large dots of each colour along these lines, leaving about 1 – 2 cm between each dot. Alternate the colours in whatever way you wish.

Chromatography flower 2

Once you have that done it is time to fold your paper. You need to fold along the shorter side, start at one end and fold the edge of the paper in about 2 cm. Turn over the paper and fold back another 2 cm. Turn over the paper and keep going like this until you reach the other side of the paper.

Chromatography flower 3

Keeping the paper folded, fold it in half and secure with a paperclip.

Trim the tops of the folded paper on each side. I used a serrated scissors but you could just cut into a pointy shape or round off the ends, whatever you prefer.

Pour about 1 cm of water into your glass (or beaker) and place the folded paper into the glass, as in the photo below. You want the end of the paper to sit into the water below the dots of markers, you don’t want the water level to reach the dots though.

Chromatography flower 5

Now you just need to wait a while. You should see the water creeping up the paper, spreading out the marker ink as it moves upwards. Once the water reaches the top of the paper you can remove it from the beaker and place it somewhere warm to dry.

Replace the paper clip with a strip of wire or a pipe cleaner, and twist it to close. This will be the stem of the flower.

Once dry it is time to open out the paper, into a flower shape, and see what a colourful CHROMATOGRAPHY flower you have made. You can try different types of paper, blotting paper works really well.

Chromatography flower 6

The science bit:

This experiment used a scientific technique called CHROMATOGRAPHY to separating different chemicals; in this case the chemicals are the inks in coloured markers. As the water creeps up the paper (by a process called CAPILLARY ACTION) it dissolves the different inks that make up the colour. These inks separate out as the water moves upwards and you get lovely streaks of colours through the paper.

If you prefer real flowers to artificial ones you can still use a bit of science to add some extra colour; Here are two of our favourites (click the images below to find out how to make these beautiful coloured flowers while learning all about TRANSPIRATION!).

rose

Make a multicoloured Rose (click the image to find out more).

tulips3

Or try making a rainbow bunch of flowers, click the image above to go to the blog post.

2. You make my heart spin

I’ll admit these do take an extra bit of time and effort but they are really worth it and give a nice WOW factor. Your Valentine will be amazed with a gift like this… left wondering just how you did it. This experiment requires ADULT SUPERVISION!

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Some copper wire
  • a pliers
  • a strong scissors or wire cutter
  • A battery (AA work just fine), I used a D battery here
  • A neodymium magnet (these are strong, rare earth magnets, often found in electrical appliances but can be purchased in many specialised shops)
  • Some items to decorate (optional)

Spinning heart

And this is what you do:

You can start by decorating your battery with love hearts or similar stationary if you wish.

Place the neodymium magnet on the base (minus side) of the battery, it will ‘stick’ to the metal.

Now for the tricky bit, you need to make a connection from the positive end of the battery, to the other side (the magnets in this case) to complete an electrical circuit. You can see from the photo and video below that I shaped one end of the copper wire into a heart shape with a little ‘stalk’ to sit on the top of the battery. I then wrapped the remaining wire around the battery and finally, I wrapped the end of the wire around the neodymium magnet (in this case I used two small neodymium magnets, one on top of the other). You will know if the circuit is complete as the battery and copper wire will heat slightly. However in order to get the wire to start to move you need to ensure that the wire is balanced correctly and is not wrapped too tightly around the battery or magnet. It will take a bit of patience and ‘tweaking’ to get this right, but, hopefully you will be rewarded by a lovely spinning heart 🙂

Want to know how it works?

Congratulations, you have just created a HOMOPOLAR MOTOR and, by combining an elctrical current and a magnetic field, working in specific directions, you have generated a force called LORENTZ force, that makes the copper wire move.

To put it as simply as possible, the copper wire connect to the positive and negative ends of the battery, completing a circuit and creating an electrical current that runs through the wire. The neodymium magnet generated a permanent magnetic field. In this set up the electrical current is perpendicular to the magnetic field and this generated teh Lorentz Force which acts on the copper wire, making it move!

NOTE: This experiment requires adult supervision! An electrical current can generate heat and you need to be careful that nothing gets too hot.

3. Gooey with love

Slime may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a Valentine’s day gift but this one is the prettiest slime I’ve ever made, and it has love hearts and sparkles in it, so what’s not to love. Plus… a few minutes playing with this stuff is time well spent, it is actually a great stress busting exercise, try it and see!

What you will need:

  • A bottle of clear glue
  • A jug of water
  • Bowl and something to stir with
  • A cup or small plastic cup or a second bowl
  • Borax powder
  • glitter and mini hearts (or any decoration of your choice)

Valentine's slime 1

Here is what you do:

Pour a small amount of clear glue into your bowl (we used a 10 ml at a guess). Add the little of the love hearts and glitter, just a small sprinkle of each is fine.

Give all that a good mix and then leave to the side while you make up the borax solution

In the cup (or jug) make up your borax solution; you want to dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of borax powder in a cup measure of warm water (about 240 ml); Stir until fully dissolved.

Still the glue constantly and add a very small amount of borax solution. Keep stirring all the time. As soon as the glue is no longer sticky you can pick it up in your hands and start kneading and molding it, for a few minutes.

I will admit that I had a lot of trouble coming up with a good recipe here. I am used to working with white glue (PVA) which makes great slime. The clear glue can get very rubbery slime which breaks easily. So the trick is to use small amounts and add as little borax solution as possible. Also, once the slime forms at all, take it into your hands and knead it.

You can even roll it into a ball and see how bouncy it is…


I know that borax is not easy to buy in Ireland at the moment so I will test out some alternatives and hopefully have a post next week with some borax-powder-free slime recipes!

The science bit:

Congratulation… you have just made a polymer!! In simple terms a polymer is a substance made up of lots of molecules arranged in long chains.  If you imagine that the glue is like cooked spaghetti, it slides and slips around the place quite easily.  When we add the borax to the glue it causes some of the molecules in the glue to stick together making the glue more rubbery and less liquid!  Imagine if you took those strands of spaghetti and tied them together in places, the strands would not be able to slip and slide around nearly as much! The borax and glue mixture is just like your knotted spaghetti!

4. I Lava you

This is like two science experiments in one. It is an adaptation of this Ocean in a bottle experiment.

Here is what you will need:

  • A clear bottle (plastic is safest) with lid
  • A funnel
  • A bottle of cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • A jug of water
  • Red (or pink) food colouring
  • Glitter and plastic miniature hearts
  • (Antacid tablets, such as Alkaseltzer – and adult supervision!)

What you do:

First add a few drop of red food colouring to the water until you are happy with the colour.

Add about half a teaspoon of glitter and half a teaspoon of miniature hearts to the water and mix well.

Using the funnel, pour the coloured water into the bottle, filling it to about a third full.

Fill the rest of the bottle with oil (using the funnel again) and replace the lid. You will notice that the oil and water remain as two separate layers.

Hold the bottle on its side and tilt it slowly back and forwards, you will see the water moves like a coloured wave, it gives a lovely effect.

If you want to turn this into a Valentine’s lava lamp just stand the bottle back up again, open the lid and pop in half an antacid tablet (like Alkaseltzer) NOTE: these tablets are not for eating and this part must be supervised by an adult.

Pop the lid back on (don’t seal it fully though as gas will build up in the bottle) and watch your lovely lava lamp.

When it stops you can pop in another piece of Alkaseltzer and watch all over again.

The science bit:

This is a good experiment to explain density. The oil is less dense than the water so it will sit on top of the water, creating two separate layers. The layer of oil keeps the water contained within the bottom half of the water and makes the movement of the water look like waves where the two liquids meet.

When we add the Alkaseltzer tablets to the bottle we get a chemical reaction. The tablets contain an acid and a base (or alkali) in powder form. When the tablet sinks down to the water layer the tablet dissolves and the acid and base get to mix together, forming carbon dioxide gas. The gas forms bubbles, and is lighter than the water and oil so the bubbles float to the top of the bottle where they burst, leaving just a drop of water, which is more dense than the oil so it falls back down. This cycle gives a lovely lava lamp effect of bubbles and blobs rising and falling through the oil layer. We are loving this one in our house at the moment. The glitter and love hearts add a really lovely touch to the whole thing.

So there you have it… five of our favourite Valentine experiments, I’m sure you’ll agree, as well as being educational, these would make great gifts for someone you love! We hope you get as much fun out of making these as we did and remember to let us know how you get on!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

*****

If you’d like to know a little about the Science of Love, check out this post

 

 

 

Fun Friday – Glowing Monster Slime

Fun Friday – Glowing Monster Slime

With a name like “Glowing Monster Slime” you just know this experiment is going to be fun! Just look at the photos if you need any convincing!

You will need
You will need

You will need…

  • two small bowls or cups
  • one large bowl
  • PVA glue (white or clear is you can get it)
  • *Borax Powder
  • Fluorescent paint (you can get non-toxic fluorescent paint in most craft shops)
  • something to stir or mix with

*You can pick up the borax powder in your local chemist (See note below)

What you do… 

To the first cup add half a cup of fluorescent paint and half a cup of PVA glue and mix well.

Mix the glue with the flourescent paint
Mix the glue with the flourescent paint

In the other cup add half a teaspoon of borax powder to one cup of water and mix well until all the powder is dissolved!

Dissolve the borax in the water
Dissolve the borax in the water

Now for the fun bit… pour the glue mixture into the bowl then add the borax solution, mixing all the time.

Mix together the glue mixture ans the borax solution
Mix together the glue mixture ans the borax solution

After a while you can use your hands to mix and mould until you have one big lump of slime and there is little, or no liquid left!

The fun bit
The fun bit

You can store your slime in a ziplock bag or clean jar, it lasts a very long time once you do not let it dry out. You may notice a small layer of liquid separating off the top of the stored slime. This can just be poured off and the slime will become a little more rubbery and less sticky.

When you have finally finished playing just store away
When you have finally finished playing just store away

If you have a UV light (black light)** you can make this experiment even more fun by checking out how your slime glows in the dark once the lights go out and the UV light is turned on.

Sooo much fun!
Sooo much fun!

So what is happening?…

Congratulation… you have just experimented with polymers!! In simple terms a polymer is a substance made up of lots of molecules arranged in long chains.  If you imagine that the glue is like cooked spaghetti, it slides and slips around the place quite easily.  When we add the borax to the glue it causes some of the molecules in the glue to stick together making the glue more rubbery and less liquid!  Imagine if you took those strands of spaghetti and tied them together in places, the strands would not be able to slip and slide around nearly as much! The borax and glue mixture is just like your knotted spaghetti!

*Where can I get Borax powder?

In Ireland you need to buy Borax powder in a pharmacy.  The production is a little erratic and the larger volumes are no longer available!  You should be able to get a 100g tub in any pharmacy and it costs between €2 and €3.

**Where can I get a UV light?

This experiment is lots of fun without the UV light but the glow in the dark bit really does take it to a different level. My youngest nearly burst waiting for the night to fall so we could do that part of the experiment. If you are considering buying a UV light you should be able to get one fairly cheaply. I got mine from Maplin. I will be sharing lots more glow in the dark experiments, so if you do get one remember to check back here for some more ideas.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did and please let us know if you do try it out!

UPDATE 2017: Borax powder is no longer as readily available in Ireland.  here is one alternative, using very simple ingredients… check out this post on how to make silly putty.

Or check out our Ultimate Slime Guide for lots of fantastic slime recipes using contact lens solution or laundry detergent.

 

Three of our favourite Science Experiments – the messy play edition

Three of our favourite Science Experiments – the messy play edition

There is a lovely linky running over on the Mama Courage blog. It invites bloggers to get over any hang ups they may have and let the kids get… well messy. Messy play is great for children as a fun, tactile, interactive activity. We are all for it in this house. I thought the linky would be a great wayto share some of our favourite messy experiments with you all.

I hope that these entice you to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to some messy play science, just don’t look at me when it comes time to clean up!

Here are three of our favourite “messy” science experiments…

1. Making Slime

 

Of course this is top of the list… messy and slime are interchangeable really, aren’t they?

This is one of our popular slime recipes…

You will need… two bowls (or cups), borax powder (you can buy this in pharmacists throughout Ireland), water, PVA glue, some stirrers and food colouring of your choice (optional)

 

What to do…

Add one cup of water to the first bowl and mix in a teaspoon of borax powder until it is all dissolved.

Add a cup of PVA clue to the second bowl; add a cup of water and mix well.

If you would like to colour the slime add a few drops of your chosen food colouring to the glue mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add the borax solution to the glue mixture and start to stir immediately… you will notice that the glue turned to slime almost straight away.

The slime can be stored in an airtight container and will last for years once it is not allowed to dry out.

 

Time for slime
Time for slime

What is happening?…

Congratulation… you have just made a polymer!! In simple terms a polymer is a substance made up of lots of molecules arranged in long chains.  If you imagine that the glue is like cooked spaghetti, it slides and slips around the place quite easily.  When we add the borax to the glue it causes some of the molecules in the glue to stick together making the glue more rubbery and less liquid!  Imagine if you took those strands of spaghetti and tied them together in places, the strands would not be able to slip and slide around nearly as much! The borax and glue mixture is just like your knotted spaghetti!

 

2. Making goo (otherwise called Ooblecks)

 

Messy but fun
Messy but fun

This stuff is very messy but oh so much fun. Not just for the kids either, once adults get their hands on this goo their is no stopping them. It makes a great stress reliever… honestly, have a go!

 

You will need… A large bowl, cornflour, water, a large spoon to mix and food colouring (optional)

 

What to do…

Mix the cornflour and water together in the bowl (approximately one cup of cornflour to two cups of water). Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish. Once it is well mixed it’s time to get stuck in. First place your hands into the goo and slowly lift them, watching how it runs through your fingers. Now try punching the surface of the ooblecks with your fist, you may be surprised with the result.

 

Here is an demo from an enthusiastic member of the Science Wows team:

 

I left him play while I was making dinner but had to take one more video to show how much fun he was having (you’ve got to watch this one)…

 

What is happening?… 

Ooblecks is what we call a Non Newtonian Fluid… meaning that it does not follow the laws of Netonian Physics.  When left to rest it looks just like a regular liquid.  However when disturbed by strong hitting, shaking or pulling it acts more like a solid.  It is a phenomenon worth studying and although still a bit of an enigma, scientists think that the material normally acts as a liquid but can produce a sudden, local reaction to rapid impact and stress, reinforcing the area and briefly solidifying the suspension.
Ooblecks takes it’s name from the green slime that fell from the skies in the Dr Seuss booh “Bartholomew and the Oobleck“.

 

3. Our version of the ‘Coke and Mentos’ experiment

 

You have probably all seen the coke and mentos experiment, maybe you have even tried it yourself. The basic idea is that you want to get as many mentos as possible into a bottle of coke as quickly as you can.

Last year I found myself minding two boys who were off “sick” from school. As the day went on it was obvious that they were getting a little less sick and a little more bored. So I decided to give them a challenge (you can read the original post here);

I gave them these …

The props
The props

… and told them to devise their own version of the coke and mentos experiment.

This is what they came up with…. (notice the poor teddies that were strapped onto the front of the skateboard!)

So what is happening?...

Firstly, this is not thought to be a chemical reaction between the coke and the mentos.  It is most likely a physical reaction known as nucleation;  The coke is full of carbon dioxide gas, to give it its fizz;  the mentos are full of tiny little craters on the surface of the sweet, the carbon dioxide gas is able to form bubbles in these “craters” producings thousands of tiny bubbles all at once; these bubbles of gas are under a lot of pressure within the bottle of coke and so come shooting out the mouth of the bottle.  If anyone knows anything about Newton and his laws they will know that every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s third law of motion)… so the coke comes shooting out of the bottle in one direction and the force of this propels the skate board forward in the opposite direction.  PRETTY COOL!

 These are just some of our favourite messy play experiments. Check out what others are getting up to in Mama Courage’s Messy Play Project linky.

 

 

 

Fun Friday – making slime!

Here is a fun science experiment that all kids love….. and no matter how many times a child may have done this one, they are always happy to do it again!

HOW TO MAKE SLIME

You will need….

  • two small bowls or cups
  • PVA glue (white or clear is fine)
  • water
  • food colouring (optional)
  • Borax* powder.

*You can pick up the borax powder in your local chemist (See note below)

What you do… 

  • To the first bowl add half a cup of water and half a cup of PVA glue and mix well.
  • If you want to make coloured slime add a few drops of food colouring and mix this in well.
  • In the other bowl add one teaspoon of borax powder to one cup of water and mix well until all the powder is dissolved!
  • Now for the fun bit… pour the borax solution into the PVA/water mix and mix, mix, mix!!! YOU HAVE JUST MADE SLIME!

 

This experiment is as fun as it looks!

If you want to keep your slime just pop it into a Zip-lock bag and seal it and it will be ready for you next time you want some slimey fun!

So what is happening?…

Congratulation… you have just made a polymer!! In simple terms a polymer is a substance made up of lots of molecules arranged in long chains.  If you imagine that the glue is like cooked spaghetti, it slides and slips around the place quite easily.  When we add the borax to the glue it causes some of the molecules in the glue to stick together making the glue more rubbery and less liquid!  Imagine if you took those strands of spaghetti and tied them together in places, the strands would not be able to slip and slide around nearly as much! The borax and glue mixture is just like your knotted spaghetti!


*Where can I get Borax powder?

In Ireland you need to buy Borax powder in a pharmacy.  The production is a little erratic and the larger volumes are no longer available!  You should be able to get this 100g tub in any pharmacy and it costs about €2.25.

UPDATE 2017: Borax powder is no longer as readily available in Ireland.  here is one alternative, using very simple ingredients… check out this post on how to make silly putty.

Or check out our Ultimate Slime Guide for lots of fantastic slime recipes using contact lens solution or laundry detergent.

 

Check out next week’s Fun Friday post for more slime recipes to try at home!