With its gooey texture and unpredictable behaviour, oobleck has transcended the pages of fiction to become a beloved sensory play material and a fascinating subject for scientific exploration.

In some ways this oobleck recipe is much better than slime as it requires far less ingredients, is very cheap to make and unlike slime, the oobleck mixture can last for weeks.

What is oobleck, anyway?

In the captivating world of children’s literature, Dr Seuss introduced us to whimsical characters, fantastical landscapes and of course, the mysterious substance known as the oobleck. The Dr Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck is where we get the word oobleck from and the reason we get to make this fun activity.

Oobleck is not your typical liquid. It’s what scientists call a non-Newtonian fluid. Unlike water or oil, which flow smoothly regardless of the force applied to them, oobleck behaves in a rather peculiar manner.

When handled gently, oobleck flows like a liquid, allowing fingers to glide through its silky texture. But apply sudden force, such as squeezing or punching it, and oobleck transforms into a solid-like substance, resisting the impact and even bouncing back like a rubber ball. Once you start playing with it, you won’t want to stop.

The simplest oobleck recipe for great oobleck fun

Creating your own batch of oobleck is a breeze. This oobleck recipe requires just two ingredients: corn starch and water. If you want to have some colourful fun, add in some food colouring.


  • 1:1 ratio of corn starch and water (for example, 1 cup corn starch to 1 cup water)
  • Food colouring (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of corn starch with approximately 1 cup of water.
  2. Stir the mixture until you achieve the right consistency: thick and gooey, yet still fluid enough to pour.
  3. For an extra touch of excitement, add a few drops of food colouring to create oobleck in vibrant hues.


  • If the mixture is too runny, add  ¼–½ cup of corn starch slowly to avoid overdrying it.
  • If you want to make more oobleck, just double the recipe (2 cups corn starch to 2 cups water).

Head over to our Instagram page to watch how we make oobleck!

The oobleck experience: Fun and fascination

Once your oobleck is ready, the real fun begins! Invite the kids (and the kids at heart) to dive their hands into the sensory delight of oobleck. Feel the strange sensation as it alternates between flowing through your fingers and solidifying under pressure. Experiment with different colours and textures, turning oobleck play into a creative adventure.

You can turn it into a solid ball, but only for a second before it runs away in your hands. It will surprise and delight you when you first experience it, and like most people, you may just want to keep squeezing and pressing it over and over until your brain somehow comes to grips with the concept of non-Newtonian liquids.

More than just messy play: The science of oobleck

While oobleck may seem like mere child’s play, it’s also a great science experiment in disguise. Dive deeper into the physics behind this weird substance as you explore concepts like viscosity, shear thickening and non-Newtonian fluids.

Watch in amazement as oobleck defies the laws of conventional liquids, offering a hands-on lesson in fluid dynamics.

The mesmerising behaviour of oobleck can be attributed to a phenomenon known as shear thickening. When a force is applied to oobleck, such as squeezing or stirring, its viscosity increases, causing it to behave more like a solid.

However, when the force is removed, it returns to its liquid-like state. This peculiar response is due to the arrangement of corn starch particles suspended in water. Under stress, these particles temporarily lock together, creating a semi-solid structure. But once the stress is relieved, the particles can slide past each other, allowing the substance to flow freely once again. Bizarre I know!

Exploring oobleck’s applications

Non-Newtonian fluids are highly useful in everyday life and are used in a variety of industrial processes. Their ability to adjust their viscosity and flow behaviour in response to external forces makes them invaluable in manufacturing, particularly in fields such as food processing, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

For example, in food production, non-Newtonian fluids like tomato sauce and mayonnaise exhibit shear thinning behaviour, making them easier to dispense from bottles while still maintaining their desired consistency on a plate. Similarly, in cosmetic formulations, non-Newtonian fluids help achieve optimal texture and spreadability in creams and lotions. Who knew?

While oobleck’s primary appeal lies in its entertaining and mesmerising properties, it also boasts several practical applications across various fields:

  1. Educational tool: Oobleck serves as an excellent educational tool for teaching concepts related to states of matter, viscosity and shear thickening. Its unique properties make science lessons engaging and memorable for students of all ages.
  2. Impact protection: The shear thickening behaviour of oobleck has sparked interest in its potential applications for impact protection. Researchers are exploring ways to incorporate similar materials into body armour and protective gear to enhance impact resistance.
  3. Art and entertainment: Oobleck’s playful nature makes it a popular choice for art installations, sensory experiences and interactive exhibits. Artists and performers often incorporate it into their work to create immersive experiences for audiences.
  4. Non-Newtonian fluid dynamics research: Scientists study oobleck and similar materials to gain insights into complex fluid dynamics and rheological phenomena (the study of the flow of matter). Understanding these properties can lead to advancements in various fields, including materials science, engineering and medicine.

How to store oobleck

To prolong the oobleck fun, store it in an airtight container when not in use. This will help prevent it from drying out and ensure that it’s ready for more sensory play whenever the mood strikes.

Consider setting up a dedicated sensory bin for oobleck adventures, complete with plastic containers, tools and toys for endless imaginative exploration.

Using this oobleck recipe to introduce a world of wonder

In the realm of curious substances that challenge our understanding of physics, oobleck stands as a testament to the bizarre and fascinating properties of non-Newtonian fluids.

From its origins in children’s literature to its applications in cutting-edge research, oobleck continues to captivate the imagination of scientists and enthusiasts alike. It is a delight and amazement to people of all ages.

Whether used for educational demonstrations, scientific research or artistic expression, oobleck serves as a reminder of the boundless wonders waiting to be discovered in the world of materials science. With just a little bit of corn starch, water and imagination, you can unleash the wonders of this weird and wonderful substance for an unforgettable sensory experience.

What to make next?

How helpful was this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

0 / 5. 0

Be the first to rate this post!