There’s something oozing in your bathroom, down your stairs, and into your pantry. It glitters pink, rolls with foam balls, and may have small toys stuck in it. And your kids and students can’t get enough. It’s SLIME!
Slime has taken over the minds of children and teens across the country, as they watch videos all about it and try to make their own. Here’s why kids can’t get enough of this creation and how you can use this fad to foster a love of learning.
Why Kids Love Slime
Almost everywhere you look, you can see kids playing with slime. They squish it in class, add colors to it at home, and watch videos of it when they’re on the go. Slime provides a tactile joy, one that comes from holding something squishy, cool, colorful, and textured.
“Children in general are getting less sensory and tactile input from playing outside and picking up sticks or making patty cakes out of mud,” Nadia Jenefsky, founder of NY Creative Arts Therapists, says. “Slime has come in to take the place of those activities that we are less inclined to do because we don’t want to make a mess or can’t go out in nature as much.”
This is why so many kids say slime is relaxing to them. Their brains get a break but are also stimulated by the feel of the goop.
There’s also a scientific element to slime: kids are natural explorers and tinkerers who love turning the science they learn in school into real activities.
For example, John Fellenstein, content specialist at The University of Akron, travels around Ohio creating slime as a science experiment to interest kids in STEAM. He loves kids’ reactions when a bowl of goo becomes slime.
“If a kid has never done it before and they see that change, that look they have when they pull the stick out and it is covered in the putty—it is this look of wonderment,” he says.
This is why parents across the country are also embracing slime. They see that their kids are having fun while developing a curiosity for chemistry and other sciences.
The Actual Science Behind Slime
While your kids might love slime because of the textures and colors, educators and parents love it because of the opportunity to teach kids basic scientific principles.
The American Chemical Society has a graphic which you can use to explain the science behind slime. Glue has polymer molecules that slide together as liquid. The Borax adds borate ions to the mix, which link the polymer molecules to each other, creating the rubbery slime kids just can’t stop playing with.
In an article for Scientific American, physicist Sabine De Brabandere takes this a step further by explaining the unique texture in each slime creation. Slime is a non-Newtonian liquid, meaning that squeezing, stirring, or agitating the formula can change how it flows. The matter doesn’t just rely on heating and cooling to change. This is what makes slime hard to the touch one minute and almost watery the next.
There’s a lot of science going on in just one simple crafts project with glue, borax, and paint.
Sliding Into the Slime Economy
Some kids are using their love of slime to start their own businesses, selling slime in school for around $5-10 per blob, Allison Slater Tate at Today writes. When schools ban slime (or at least the sale of slime on campus), teens and tweens move to the web, selling slime on their Instagram channels and even creating Etsy shops for their wares.
These young entrepreneurs prove slime’s educational value extends well beyond the science classroom, as kids learn the principles of marketing, supply and demand, and managing their own business.
That being said, if you’re concerned about slime and the chemicals in it, there are safe alternatives to explore, Samantha Darby at motherhood site Romper says. There are millions of recipes for slime online, and you can find safe alternatives that don’t use natural chemicals like Borax in the creation process. You may even want to consider edible slime if your child is prone to placing things in his or her mouth.
Top 5 YouTube Channels to Get Your Slime On
If you want to see what all the fuss is about or get some ideas to make slime on your own, these channels are a great place to start. And if your child is serious about getting into the slime economy, some of these YouTube channels have millions of subscribers and earn thousands of dollars each month just by posting recipes and videos of their slime creations.
- Last year, The New York Times profiled Karina Garcia, known as the Slime Queen. She currently has 8.3 million subscribers and her slime videos have countless views and comments.
- Will It Slime? comes in with a cool 1.3 million subscribers, but some of their videos get more than 8 million views. They test various slime recipes (many without glue) and others with only one or two ingredients. These videos emphasize the science of slime, and the trial and error process that comes with experimentation.
- Slime Masters has about 800,000 subscribers and uses the channel to combine art and science. One video mixes 100 different eyeshadow shades into fluffy slime. The result is a metallic, giant slime ball and a video that more than 15 million people have watched.
- Just Ameerah is another personality-based slime channel. Ameerah Navalua uses her channel to offer advice on fixing old and ugly slimes, balancing ingredients, and rising to the challenges of her fans. She has almost 1.4 million subscribers.
- Rounding out the top five slime channels is Talisa Tossell, who has roughly the same number of followers as Ameerah. She has a Borax-free slime series if you want to play with slime but are worried about using this chemical.
These videos are sure to get you excited about testing your own recipes and will help you and your kids brainstorm creative ideas for making sticky, slick, and slippery slime. And, who knows? Maybe you’ll start up your own channel of slime!
Images: all © jarabee123