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Oobleck, Play-Dough and Silly Putty: Recipes for Messy, Hands-on Play

Oobleck, Play-Dough and Silly Putty: Recipes for Messy, Hands-on Play

Time for some messy play! Whip up any of these three easy homemade recipes for Oobleck, Play-Dough and Silly Putty, and let the fun begin!

1. How to Make Oobleck*

With a name borrowed from a Dr. Suess book, this simple shape-shifting substance (Ooobleck is by turns a liquid when you pour it and a solid when you squeeze it) makes for a fascinating sensory experience. As Heather T. shares: “We put it in a dishpan and he sits on the floor to play with it. It is the strangest thing to play with. Seems hard to pick it up but then it will drip from your fingers. Very fun.”


One part water

1.5-2 parts cornstarch



*Note: Other moms have shared slight variations on this recipe, suggesting equal parts of the two ingredients.


2. How to Make Homemade Play-Dough

Wondering how to make Play-Doh? It's easy! Just follow the following simple homemade recipe for Play-Dough  shared by Katie Q. in Circle of Moms' Family Activities community.  


1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
3 dessert spoons cooking oil
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Food coloring (optional)


“Mix all the ingredients together. Add a few drops of food coloring. Keep mixing until all the lumps have been blended (I use a whisk). Put the mix into a sauce pan (or just mix it up in the sauce pan) and cook very slowly over medium heat. Stir continuously, and when the dough starts to come away from the side of the pan, take it off the heat. Remove the play-dough from the pan. (Adults do this part — it's hot!) Let it cool on plastic wrap, then have fun!”

3. How to Make Silly Putty

Looking for more hands-on activities for your children? "Make putty with them," suggests Liza G. in a conversation about easy crafts. Here's how:


Liquid starch (look in the laundry section of your grocery store or drugstore)

Safe, non-toxic glue (like Elmer's all-purpose Glue-All)

Food coloring (optional)


Mix equal parts together. If mixture is too thick, add glue. If too runny, add starch.


What other types of gooey, messy play do your kids love?

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