Week 12 – Program Review!

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      Nicole Steer

      Another tale from my trip back home! (To a small country town in the middle of SE/Central QLD!) This time for a Program Review.

      The local library, like many local libraries, runs children’s holiday activities. In the Easter and Christmas holidays, they’re usually related to the holiday in question – decorating eggs or baubles, making cards and collages, etc. There are also other more secular activities for kids whose families don’t celebrate the holiday and just to provide a bit of variety. These activities are also done in the “regular” holidays such as the one we just had. In this case, the holiday activity was making slime!

      We’ve done this slime activity a few times before, but I was helping out those times. This time I decided to sit it out and watch/participate instead.

      The slime recipe is a fairly simple one you can get off the internet and in most kids’ science experiment books. The CSIRO has a good one you can use. Basically, it’s cornflour, water, and food colouring of your choice. You add small bits of water to the cornflour bit by bit and stir it up until it makes a nice thick slime. Then you can make it whatever colour you want.

      This year the librarian knew we were going to have a coeliac kid in the group, so the librarian made sure that we had cornflour that didn’t contain any wheat. (I’m coeliac and have done the cornflour experiment with the kids before with cornflour with wheat, but I’m old enough to know not to stick my fingers in my mouth while doing science! :P) Same for the food colouring. I’m pretty sure all our tap water is gluten free, haha. We managed to pick a non-rainy day so we went to the local park to do the experiment. It has covered tables, water taps and water fountains, and slime is a lot more manageable if it gets on the grass than if it gets on books or the carpet. There were about ten kids of different ages (mostly preschool/prep, primary school, and a couple of middle school brothers and sisters), plus a few parent helpers. Everyone got a copy of the slime recipe and the librarian did a demonstration of it up the front while everyone followed along. I was happy to see there was also a “colour wheel” diagram attached to the recipe too, so kids could learn basic colour mixing while they were at it. Sure enough, a couple of kids figured out with the colour wheel’s help that, even though the green food colouring was taken, they could mix up their own green out of a combination of blue and yellow! And like every time we do the experiment, some kids thought of the great idea of making “rainbow slime”, where they combined every colour of food colouring we had! (And like every time we do the experiment, they discovered it makes a murky greyish brown! :P)

      The best part, of course, was getting to “experiment” with the slime! That includes stirring it fast (this is hard to do), stirring it slow (this is easy to do), trying to pick it up (VERY FUN, and it acts much like you’d expect slime to do) and punching the slime! (It feels hard, and it’s also very fun punching your experiment!)

      Everyone got very messy, and when it came time to wrap it up, everyone was able to transfer (most of) their slime into little plastic zip-lock bags to take home with them. The kids were all very enthusiastic to show their parents/guardians picking them up what they’d made, and the parents/guardians were pretty happy to hear that soap or detergent and water will wash the slime and food colouring out of everyone’s clothes 😛 (We did make sure everyone had clothes they didn’t mind getting slimed on, though.)

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