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How to Make Quicksand

Make Your Own Quicksand!

Contributed by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Can something be both a solid and a liquid at the same time? It can, when that something is quicksand!

Although it appears solid quicksand behaves like a liquid, which is why – when you try to walk across it – you don’t just sink, you get stuck. Kids can create their own quicksand for their toys at home using just two ingredients and a few supplies from around the house.



A large bowl or plastic storage bin

Cornstarch (the amount will vary depending on the amount of water you use)


A wooden spoon or stick Small plastic toys (optional)

(Note: count on a ratio of 1 cup of water for every 1-1/2 cups of cornstarch).


Step 1: Pour 1 cup of water into the bowl.

Step 2: Slowly add 1 – 1/2 cups of cornstarch to the water.

Step 3: Stir using a wooden spoon (or your hands!) and adjust the amount of water and cornstarch until you reach the right consistency.

Aim for a mixture that feels a bit like thick honey.  You’ll know you’ve hit the mark when, if you move it between your fingers, it becomes semi-solid, only to turn runny as soon as you let your hand fall open.

Step 4: Play around with the mixture and see what happens when you put your hands in it and try to take them out quickly. Place a toy on the surface to see how quickly it sinks, punch it to see if it splashes or solidifies, and – if you have a large enough batch – try standing on it!

Optional: Leave the quicksand overnight to see what happens. Is it thinner or thicker? Do your toys sink as fast as they did on day one?

Note: You can add playground sand and/or food coloring to your cornstarch/water for added texture and interest.

Caution: When you are finished, do NOT pour the mixture down the drain! Instead, let it sit, remove the excess water and toss the cornstarch in the trash.

To see Cornstarch Quicksand created on a grand scale, click here!

Learn about the science behind the substance here.