Squishies and slime. If you don’t know what these are just ask your kids or grandkids. While shopping at a craft store recently, I was amazed at the number of kits for making squishies and slime.
Squishies are soft squeezable toys similar to stress balls but with more personality. They provide a calming distraction that helps many people focus their thoughts, relax, or offer a distraction from nervous habits like nail biting. Squishies also can be therapeutic for the hands and wrists. The pleasure of a squishy comes in the slow rise when squeezed and manipulated.
Slime is a glue-based mixture that creates an oozie, stretchy glob that stretches, snaps, melts and moulds. Most kids love the messy texture and sensation.
Versions of both can be made at home with household items and a few craft supplies. All of these projects can be a bit messy so they might be best done out of doors where cleanup is easier or not a concern. These are great activities to do in the shade on a hot summer afternoon.
Bath, makeup, car-wash or household sponges can be cut into interesting shapes and painted. Foam from discarded furniture or pillows could also be used. Memory foam packing pieces or samples may be found at furniture or mattress stores.
Use a pencil to draw the outline for the shape of the squishy on the sponge. With scissors trim away the larger pieces to form the general shape then trim away small pieces to soften the edges and to sculpt the design. When satisfied with the shape, paint with tempera paint, puff paint, fabric paint, glitter paint or markers.
Puff paint can be made by thoroughly mixing two parts paint with one part school glue. This paint can add depth and detail to the squishy.
These are the easiest squishies to make with younger children and are the most inexpensive. Collect white or coloured paper, markers or coloured pencils, wide clear packing tape, stuffing such as fibrefill or trim pieces from sponge or foam squishies and scissors.
Fold a piece of paper in half and draw a design like a circle for an emoji, a fluffy cloud or an animal shape. Cut out the shape and add details or facial features to one side of each circle. Lay the two undecorated sides together and cover both sides with clear tape creating a pouch, leaving a few inches open for stuffing. Poke the stuffing or small foam pieces into the pouch to the desired thickness and squishiness. Seal the opening with tape.
At Christmas one of our granddaughters mentioned that her teacher had the class make flour-filled balloon stress balls. She was so excited that she wanted to show me how to make one. We had no balloons on hand but did try filling sealable snack baggies. We have since made them with balloons and have tried a variety of filler materials.
Good quality balloons are needed and 3/4 to one cup (175 to 250 mL) of filler material such as cornstarch, flour, rice, pearl tapioca, or a combination of filler per balloon. Using a funnel, pour the filler material into an empty, clean, dry plastic water or pop bottle. Inflate the balloon to stretch it, keeping some of the air in the balloon, twist the neck of the balloon. Stretch the balloon end over the opening of the bottle. Tip the bottle up to pour the filler material into the balloon. When the balloon is full, twist the balloon neck before releasing from the bottle, so when the air is released the filler won’t blow out. Slowly release air to adjust the firmness of the squishy. Keep in some air to make it soft and remove most of the air to make a very firm squishy. Knot the end of the balloon. Trim off the excess balloon tail.
Use the markers to draw on facial features or decorate.
If concerned about the strength of the balloon, blow up a second balloon to stretch it, remove the air and trim the neck of the balloon off at the base of the balloon. Stretch the second balloon over the first.
Use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to work on so that any spills can be easily cleaned up.
For added character, add a pompom for hair or googlie eyes.
Part of the fun with slime is in the making. Elmer’s glue has a wonderful section of recipes using safe and accessible household items on their website elmers.com.
Elmer’s basic slime
- 1/2 c. Elmer’s white or clear school glue 125 mL
- 1/2 tbsp. baking soda, check that it is not past the best-before date 7 mL
- 3 – 4 tsp. contact lens solution that contains borate or boric acid 15 – 20 mL
Using clear glue will give a translucent slime.
Add food colouring to create coloured slime.
Combine the glue and baking soda in a bowl, add food colouring, if desired. Add contact lens solution one teaspoon at a time, mix until slime forms and begins to get harder to mix. When touched with a finger the slime should not stick to fingers. Take the slime from the bowl and knead.
If needed, add another teaspoon of contact lens solution to make the slime less sticky.
Store slime in a sealable container or re-sealable plastic bag. Discard if it starts to change colour or odour.
To make other slime options:
- Glow in the dark slime — replace glue with Elmer’s glow in the dark glue.
- Cloudy cotton slime — add cotton balls after the slime has been kneaded.
- Sand slime — add beach or craft sand after the slime has been kneaded.
- Glitter slime — add Elmer’s glitter glue pens with glue or knead in glitter.
It is important to note that adult supervision is required when making slime and do not make slime with children younger than three. Slime should never be ingested and always thoroughly wash hands before and after playing with slime. Slime should never be put on furniture or walls.
To remove from tabletops and toys, wipe with a wet cloth. Laundry should remove slime from cloths, depending on the type of food colouring used.Warning: If large quantities of contact solution are accidentally ingested (greater than a tablespoon), get medical attention immediately.
Adapted from Make Your Own Super Squishies Slime and Putty by Tessa Sillars-Powell; beano.com search squishies and slime; redtedart.com search squishies; elmers.com for slime recipes.
Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.