As I searched through Pinterest to find crafts to do with my 4 year old, I came across a post for a Leprechaun Gold search. The search was done using coloured shaving cream. I’m all for messy play but I found that I was not wanting to waste money a can of shaving cream for 15 minutes of play. Remembering playing with corn starch goo in science class (as well as being reminded of it from The Big Bang Theory), I figured this would be a better frugal medium to use to search for gold (and it would last longer too). Cue mission to create some fun goo!
Off to the dollar store I went to hunt for some leprechaun gold and lo and behold, what do I see but corn starch for $1. The frugal side of me was jumping for joy. I was able to find everything I needed for $3.
- 1 box of corn starch (per child)
- green food colouring
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- “gold” coins, ours were plastic (not chocolate or candy)
- 1 large bowl
- large ziploc or container for storage
- Add food colouring to water and mix until evenly distributed.
- Empty corn starch into large bowl.
- Gradually add water, mixing with your hands until the corn starch no longer feels powdery. It should be firm enough to feel solid when pressed but easily flow through your hands when you pick it up.
- Add gold coins and mix so they are not all clumped together.
- Roll up those sleeves and let the kids start hunting.
- If you add too much water, place the mixture in a large ziploc and allow it to sit for a while. Any excess water will rise to the surface and you can open the bag up a little and drain it.
- Test out the unique properties of the mixture by putting it in different sized containers and poking and prodding to see if you notice any differences. You can also see if your little ones can feel the difference between poking and hitting the mixture, letting it flow through their hands, and using different mixing tools.
- Made a big mess? No worries, all you need is a cloth and water to clean up. Everything wipes up quickly.
So you’re probably asking yourself at this point, what exactly IS goo and why is it so much fun? The cornstarch used is made up of long chains of atoms . These chains can move past each other, but it takes time. If you pour slowly it will flow like a liquid. If you try to force things, the mixture gets firmer! Try different hands on techniques, smack the mixture, put it in a basin and try to walk on it, scoop it up in both your hands or grab some spoons.
Sensory play is not only super fun, but a great way to help your kids with cognitive development. Hunting for Leprechaun goo is a fun way to help kids learn problem solving and decision making, as well as squeeze in a science lesson. If you want to be a bit more brave you can let the kids create their own goo, mixing the coloring in and watching it all come together. Leprechaun goo is fun for the whole family. This recipe has been tested and approved by kids, moms, and grandma and is a great way to add a little science into play. It’s also easily adaptable for any holiday, swap out the colouring and add some new trinkets to find, double the mixture and make it a bit more of a challenge.