13 Liquids to Play With

by Deb on July 29, 2010

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So we all play with lots of solids all the time – rice, textures, stones, playdough, even leaves.  But for some reason (um, mess maybe?) we don’t tend to play with liquids as much.  So it’s something new for babies, and it really makes kids feel like little chemists.  I touched on some when we were playing with colour, here are some other ideas of ways to play with liquids.

  1. Dissolving – sugar and salt are both good and you can play with mixing, crystal size and using hot water.Layered liquids
  2. Detergent – Put some in a bottle with water and shake it up for babies, or even better in a large bowl and use an egg beater for toddlers.
  3. Make layers – lots of liquids don’t mix and will make layers if you pour them in carefully.  Oil and water is and easy one, but try coloured salt water as well.  This is another one you can put in a bottle for older babies, especially if you use coloured water.
  4. Sparkling water – come on, don’t you want to?  We have a soda stream which is the best, but soda water from the shop is good too.  Put some in a little popper bottle, take it outside, shake it up and have fun!
  5. Squash it – It’s quite easy to get hold of syringes, either through a pharmacy or with lots of children’s medicines.  Big ones work best for this.  Fill it with water and squeeze the plunger, either with your finger over the end or otherwise closing it.  You can actually squash the water a little bit (and then shoot it everywhere).
  6. Drips or shots? – use an eye-dropper or syringe to drip water onto a cloth, it usually forms balls and can run over the surface rather than soaking in.  Then try shooting it quickly.
  7. Vinegar – Pour vinegar over some bicarb soda for lots of fun 🙂
  8. Vinegar (again) – put a chicken bone in vinegar for a few days and it will come out bendy!  (Must do this one for the blog.)
  9. Toothpaste – Squeeze some into a clear container with a lid, then shake and see what happens.  Try adding some water and making a lather.
  10. Conditioner – try it on wool, cotton and other threads to see what it does.
  11. Glues – there are so many different glues to compare, they are great fun to experiment with.  Some easy ones to find or make are paste (Clag), clear gum, PVA (white glue) and flour paste then there are two part glues that need to be mixed and hot glue.  You can compare the look, smell, feel and drying time, try gluing different materials and see which ones are easy to work with.
  12. Paint – Squishing finger paint is so much fun!  Plus there are two types of homemade paint I’ve seen around the bloggy world we’ll be trying – puff paint over at Bilbified and homemade flour paint coloured with food from Stuff with Thing.
  13. Goo – I really want to do cornflour goo on Science@home.  Really, really want to.  Unfortunately it only works with real cornflour made from corn, and the only brand I can get is ‘wheaten’ cornflour, which means wheat.  So you’ll just have to go out and make it on your own and tell me all about it.  And if you do manage it, let me know what brand and where you got it (in Australia, I don’t think customs would let us ship it in from overseas)!  Good for babies to squish if you make it up a bit thicker.

Have fun!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie July 29, 2010 at 9:26 am

Lots of fun ideas! Thanks.


Kristen July 29, 2010 at 11:42 am

There are hours of fun in that list!
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Rinkly Rimes July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

What great ideas for all those budding scientists!
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Narelle July 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Ahhh, liquids! This is what the kids I taught loved playing with the most!! Condensed milk with food colouring used to be a big hit, as was instant pudding! Very tasty, but also a lot of mess (which is why I haven’t done it with my own kids yet, always different when you’re getting someone else’s kids dirty lol!)

We’ve made cornflour goop before. Check out this blog post: http://abunchofkeys.blogspot.com/2010/07/goop.html From memory it was the White wings corn cornflour we used.


Deb July 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I’ll have to look out for that, we only get Nurse’s cornflour here. And colouring in condensed milk sounds divine 🙂


SquiggleMum July 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

If mess is really an issue, kids can have a lot of fun with liquids in ziplock bags too.
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Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Ziplocks are great for mixing things – we’ve done slime with them, put all the ingredients in and squash them around.


Heather July 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm

You’re right–definitely messy! lol Happy Thursday!
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Rachael July 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I freaking LOVE ‘goo’. Have you ever looked up videos on YouTube of people walking across pools of it? It’s pretty cool.

I love the layering idea too!


Shelley Munro July 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Great list. I use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. It’s an excellent all purpose cleanser.
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Colleen - Sunrise Learning Lab July 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Great list! My sons love working with liquids…we will have to try the new to us ones and when I post about it, will link to you.
Thanks for sharing.
Am thinking that it would be fun to jump in on the 13 list meme soon…

Have a happy day today!
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Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Thanks, I find liquids are a good change because they take that little bit more thought so we don’t do them as often.

The T13 meme is great, you can write on anything you like and I find it a challenge to come up with 13.


CountryDew July 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Fun stuff!
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Kristine July 29, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I think the mess is a big deal for a lot of people – I think people with higher standards than my own. I think as long as you know there is going to be a mess and can plan for it, you can just accept the inevitable and go with the flow. Like today the girls helped me clean the outside of a floor to ceiling window so I stripped the little one off knowing that she was going to get drenched regardless. Thank goodness for a mild winter.

I must admit the one for me is ‘waste’ I’d love to play with shaving cream and toothpaste but can’t bare the thought of waste.


Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm

We’re lucky to have a big covered outdoor area, the girls spend a lot of time out there naked. It’s actually at the point where if they ask to paint or do anything like that they just strip off.

Someone pointed out in one of my posts a few weeks ago that they worked with migrants who often came from very impoverished places so they didn’t play with food. I can completely get that, and I know what you mean about waste. We actually buy things like shaving cream as part of the art supplies (homebrand!), we don’t touch hubby’s so I think of them as consumables.


Jennie July 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

This is my first time on your blog – how awesome! I have a 1, 3, and 6 year old. This is perfect! We used eye droppers with thinned tempera paint in our 4-year old Sunday School class last week and it was a huge hit. Their favorite part was picking the paper up and letting it swirl around on the paper. Great tips!
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Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Thanks, that’s a great idea. I can see that with a slightly shiny paper where they take a while to soak in you could move it around and get drips running everywhere. We’ll have to do this!


colleen July 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I used to work in daycare and we used a great playdough recipe that I’ve been trying for years to remember. I’ll have to try yours (for my grandson now). I remember as a girl making potions in the bathroom for science and beauty!


Anne July 30, 2010 at 12:19 am

Really? Chicken will become bendy? Interesting facts you’ve got here.

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Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:25 pm

The acid in the vinegar reacts with the calcium in the bone. Shh, it’s on my list to write up here.


Lynn July 30, 2010 at 12:45 am

Cool ideas! I probably won’t attempt these with my children because I AM that Mean Mom, but I’m bookmarking this post for the future!
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Deb July 30, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Go outside or in the bathroom, or SquiggleMum’s ziplock bag idea is good. Honestly, we don’t have much mess at all, a couple of old nappies deals with it (I mean cloth nappies of course, can you imagine trying to clean the floor with disposables?).


Zoe @ Playing by the book August 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Love this post and have linked to it today from our own water play:
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