Kids love to make a mess, and it doesn't get much messier than homemade slime. However, there's more to making it than simple fun.
Sensory play is an important part of a child's development, and slime is nothing if not sensory. And what's more, as the following recipe is completely edible, safe for kids to make and play with and easy to clean up! Containing edible chia or basil seeds (both of which are naturally gelatinous once your add water) it's a recipe which will appeal to gardening parents and grandparents too.
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (or basil seeds).
- 125g cornflour (3/4 cup), plus extra if needed.
- 250ml water.
- Food colouring and/or flavouring drops (optional).
You'll also need a large mixing bowl with sealable lid, a fork or spatula, and 4 hours or overnight for soaking the Chia seeds.
Add the chia seeds and the water to the bowl and stir well, then seal and refrigerate. Stir the chia seeds after an hour to prevent them clumping together & then re-seal and then leave for another 3 hours or overnight to soak.
After soaking, you should have a sticky and gelatinous mixture, although still containing plenty of liquid. If clumps have formed which you can't stir away, mixing in a teaspoon of xanthan gum will help to disperse them.
Next, add the cornflour and start to mix with the fork or spatula. The mixture should slowly start to come together and thicken.
At this point, you can add any food colouring (or split the recipe to make two colours), flavouring or edible glitter you like. Use a light touch when adding food dye: you don't want to make a fluorescent slime that stains everything it touches.
Once colouring has been mixed in the slime should be thick enough so that you can turn it out onto a floured surface and begin kneading by hand.
If after kneading the mixture stays stubbornly sticky rather than forming a smooth ball, then slowly add more cornflour, spoonful by spoonful. Once it forms a solid lump that's still stretchy and pliable, the slime is ready.
If you've gone too far with the extra cornflour, the slime will be brittle and flaky. This is easily cured by wetting your hands and kneading again. It will take very little moisture to get back to the stretchy stage.
What to Do With the Slime
This simple recipe creates a slime that kids will happily stretch, shape, knead, squash and mould for hours. As well as being fun, this helps to develop motor skills and acts as a mood calmer for fractious minds.
And as this slime is edible and safe for children (and even highly nutritious thanks to the chia seeds) you don't need to worry about safety, unlike some commercial slime products.
However, being edible also means it's perishable and so should be kept in the fridge when not being played with and is best discarded after around four days. As the slime is made from natural ingredients it is fully biodegradable so it can be composted or even planted in your garden.
And lastly, if the slime starts to dry out, simply wet your hands before kneading for a minute or two, and it'll soon return to its stretchy, slimy best.