Goop with Pop Rocks

I found this idea on another website (Growing a Jeweled Rose) and we tried it out today. To  make goop, you simply add water to cornstarch and mix it and play with it.  It creates an interesting substance that can be solid for one moment and then liquid the next moment. If you haven't play with goop by itself, try that first before adding the pop rocks.  When you are ready for more excitement, add some pop rocks.  They add some texture but mostly they add a popping/cracking sound that fascinated the kids (and me.)

(And for those of you who are old enough to remember that there was something 'unsafe' about pop rocks, don't worry!  It was all just a myth and they are perfectly safe. You can search for Pop Rocks and Coke to find out more about it.)


What do children learn while playing with Gak?
  1. Science:  When the children help make the Gak, they can observe the amazing transformation.  When they play with it they can see and feel it change consistencies.
  2. Math:  When they help make it they gain experience in measuring.  While playing with it, they can learn about more and less and very basic concepts related to fractions (cutting it in half or in thirds.)
  3. Language:  When they describe how the Gak feels or hear you describe it and when they talk with each other about it, they are learning language skills. 


    Recipe for Gak

    2 Cups of Elmers Glue

    1 1/2 Cups Water

    Food coloring (optional)


    1 Cup Hot Water (from tap)

    1 Tablespoon Borax


    Mix the glue with 1 1/2 cups of water and the food coloring in a large bowl.

    In a separate container, mix the 1 cup of hot water and the Borax. Pour the Borax mixture slowly into glue mixture and mix it all together.  You will probably need to use your hands to mix it completely.  Be patient.  It seems to take a while sometimes. 

    Play Dough

    What do children learn while playing with play dough?
    1. Creativity:  Children use their imaginations to create so many different things with play dough.  They start by simply exploring but as they learn what play dough can do, they start to make objects such as food or animals with the dough.
    1. Fine Motor Skills:  Play dough requires the children to use their fingers to pinch, pull, roll, and flatten it.  They use different utensils and toys to manipulate the dough.  All of this strengthens their fingers and helps them gain control over their fingers.  This will help with writing when they are older.
    1. Mathematics:  Children learn about more and less, measuring and counting when playing with play dough.  Other math concepts can be learned with play dough when the child helps to make the playdo.
    1. Literacy:  Understanding that they can create pretend objects with the play dough (or when drawing) is important for children’s literacy development.  With the play dough, they are learning they can make one thing and it will represent another thing.  Written letters and words are representations of sounds and our oral language.  Children need to have vast experience with materials such as play dough, crayons, paint and other art materials in order to transfer their knowledge about representation of objects to the idea that language and ideas can be represented by letters and words.
    1. Social Skills:  Children interact with each other and the teachers while they play with play dough.  They learn how to share and how to negotiate with their friends in order to get the play dough and utensils that they want.  And it’s great fun so they create bonds with their friends and teachers while playing.

    Homemade Play Dough Recipe

    2 Cups Flour

    1/2 Cup salt

    4 Tablespoons Cream of    


    2 Cups Water

    Food Coloring

    2 Tablespoons Oil

    Mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium pot.  Add food coloring to the water and add this water and the oil to the flour mixture.  Mix thoroughly.  Put on the stove on medium heat.  Stir constantly while it cooks for 3-5 minutes. Eventually, you will get a large blob of play dough.  Take it out and knead it.