Summary:  This kind of gloop is a fascinating medium which has a unique texture, a mixture that is part liquid and part solid. Children of all ages enjoy exploring its properties, and playing with gloop is relaxing and calming.

Set-up: 5 minutes
Play: 30 minutes to 1 hour or more
Complexity: easy (with supervision for younger children)


  • cornflour
  • food colouring
  • water
  • a large flat dish
  • protective covers for surfaces and clothes
  • or an outdoor space

What to do

Add cornflour and water to a tray (roughly two parts cornflour to one part water, but experiment until you reach the right consistency) and add drops of food colouring.

Let your child mix these together.

Let the gloop run through your fingers and watch it move.

Talk about what it feels like: sticky, hard, cold, powdery.

Ask questions like “What does it remind you of?”, “Can you stretch it?” and “What happens if you hold it higher?”.

Challenge children to make different shapes, or to make a pile in one corner of the tray.


Learn how it works: cornflour is made out of many long, stringy particles, which don’t dissolve in water, but instead spread out. If you apply pressure to it, the particles join together and the mixture feels solid. If it is held up, the particles are free to slide over each other and the mixture feels like a dribbly liquid.

Experiment with adding more cornflour or more water, and adding different colours. Try drawing in the gloop – if it’s thick enough your marks will remain for a few seconds before disappearing. 

What learning does this activity promote?

sensory exploration, creative expression, risk-taking, self-confidence (there is no right or wrong way to play with gloop), fine motor skills, language and descriptive vocabulary


Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our early childhood webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our early childhood research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.

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