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.