At the library we love to provide all kinds of fun experiences for young children and while many of these programs are simply fun (for the sake of fun), our favorite library programs are also built around a "play with a purpose" mentality. Librarians structure programs to build social/emotional skills, cognitive development and physical ability. An ideal program should give children a chance to learn about topics of interest to them (cognitive), to collaborate with adults or peers (social/emotional) and to have fun. Despite the typical library stereotype, we want to get kids up and moving (physical) - interacting with other children, with our learning tools and with their environment!
One of our favorite activities for younger children could be called slime mixing. I feel like it hits all these important points for the preschool age group. It’s wonderful, because it is a messy shared activity where kids not only get the opportunity create a non-Newtonian fluid and play with viscosity, but also have a chance to practice taking turns, read a recipe, measure ingredients and to use their fine motor skills. At the end, they have a wonderful concoction that is unique, tactile and hours of fun. Over the past few years, with the advent of Pinterest and other online forums, there has been a proliferation of recipes for slime (glue + borate), play dough (salt, flour, & sugar) and other interesting and noteworthy mixtures. Here are some of my favorites for each of these categories that you can do on your own at home:
- Jungle Slime
- Unicorn Poop Slime
- Snow Slime
- Pumpkin Slime
- Magnetic Slime
- Fluffy Slime 1
- Fluffy Slime 2
- Peppermint Slime
- Sand Slime
- Kinetic Sand
- Metamucil Slime (not actually slime)
- Oobleck + experiments
- Gummy Worm Polymer (for older kids, supplies will probably need to be purchased online)
- Remember, not all these ingredients are food safe. Please exercise caution and constant supervision with young children, because as fun as they are - any of these recipes can be a choking hazard or toxic when ingested in large quantity.
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