Gigi and Clo were playing one day, my idea was to do collaborative painting on the easel, but they were more interested in mixing the colors on the palette and their hands. When they requested more paint I suggested we make some goop instead. They had no idea what this was but were on board when I told them that it would be much messier than the paint.
I cleared the table and gathered cornstarch, water, food coloring and stirring utensils as they went to collect more trays (FYI: IKEA has amazing two section trays for utensils in the kitchen section). We met back at the table and they were wide eyed as I began to dump the cornstarch in piles and hand them their own cups and food coloring.
At first the two mixed in the food coloring to the cornstarch and used the droppers to “paint” the little mound of cornstarch. There was suddenly a dilemma, there needed to be more water immediately. “Can I dump the water? Maybe a spoon?” Four eyes glanced up to mine. “Do you think that would work?” I replied. Immediately the entire cup was dumped by one girl and then the other followed.
Soon another problem surfaced, the cornstarch became very hard and the craft sticks were not moving through it as they had before they dumped the water. Again both girls looked to me to solve the problem and I just smiled and raised my eyebrows. Soon Gigi discovered that she needed to scrape against the bottom of the tray and showed her new technique to Clo.
Once the initial mixing was done they dove in with their hands.
“Oh it feels so goooood! It’s so nice and gloopy Clo!” Gigi giggled. “We’re mixing the cornstarch up so it’s soft, we don’t want it hard.”
“I think I need more cornstarch . . . we can put it in all by ourselves this time.” Clo said so I quickly went to the pantry to find more.
I quietly added more to the table and the girls were quick to start adding more ingredients to their own trays, experimenting with mixing some of the green with the blue, and making a beautifully fun mess.
One dump of cornstarch made a spectacular cloud of dust that settled on the table, chairs, and floor. Clo glanced at Gigi and whispered, “Is it ok if we get it on the table?” Gigi, who is quite comfortable at my home responded with confidence, “Yeah, that’s just what happens when we play.”
Today our receipt for learning was stained fingers (and bellies) and memories of a gooey mess.