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Slime recipe: How to make slime at home and nursery

7 min of reading
09 January 2024
A large image of purple slime

Buying pots of slime for children to play with can be a costly expense for nursery owners. Instead, this article shares how to make slime in EYFS, saving you money and time on trips to the shops with a handy ingredient list thrown in. Read on for simple slime recipes, learn what an ‘activator’ is and even some edible slime recipes.

Slime was originally found in 90’s game shows and films, until it was recently potted and sold as a children’s toy. 2015 saw the explosion of slime popularity, attracting children who love the sensory texture and squish-ability.

However, EYFS practitioners will tell you that slime was apparent in nurseries long before 2015… just look at the noses and discarded tissues of toddlers. Slime began in the early years!

In this article, you will find:

    What is slime?

    Let’s quickly look at the science behind slime. Aside from a children’s toy, slime is chemistry in motion. Classed as a non-Newtonian fluid, slime is neither a liquid nor a solid. Messy play favourite Oobleck is also in the same category.  

    Slime is the product of mixing a main ingredient, often adhesive (like PVA glue), with an activator. The chemical reaction that occurs makes the molecules in the glue cross-link, making the solution change and become thicker and pliable.  

    Activators for homemade slime recipes often include contact lens cleaning solution, baking powder, cornflour, liquid starch or you can buy products designed to be slime activators. All activators will have chemical properties that make the main ingredient you choose change consistency and become the slime. 

    So, what can be used as the main ingredients in slime? That depends on the type of slime you want to make 

    What types of slime are there?

    The possibilities of slime type are endless. You can change the balance of ingredients to make your slime recipe more or less sticky, fluffy, runny or slimy. Some of the most popular types of slime are:  

    • Glitter slime
    • Butter slime (spreadable and soft)
    • Crunchy slime (with foam beads that pop)
    • Cloud slime (fluffy and soft)

    Is slime edible?

    Depending on what ingredients go into your homemade slime recipe will determine whether it is taste-proof. Slime has no nutritional value and is never recommended as a snack. The phrase taste-proof is more fitting when considering making slime that can be tasted without danger.  

    As several of the ingredients that make slime are household items, it is always vital to know your setting’s procedure for an allergic reaction. Any known allergies should be added to children’s Online Profiles, and all staff should be aware of these allergies. Recent paediatric first aid training should discuss the potential hazards when making or playing with slime (including ingestion and choking risks).  

    Find out more about ensuring your EYFS setting complies with paediatric first aid training. 

    Not wanting to just stop at slime? Consider brushing up on your salt dough recipes, moon sand and homemade playdough recipes, too.  

    Easy recipe for slime

    11 Fabulously fun messy play ideas for EYFS - article preview

    This recipe will create a ball that can be used for two children and will take around 10 minutes to make. In its simplest form, this slime recipe is no frills. Adding gel food colouring or small objects like foam beads can change the slime’s texture and colour.  

    What you’ll need to make slime:

    • 100ml of PVA glue 
    • ½ a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda 
    • One tablespoon of contact lens cleaning solution  

    Easy slime recipe for EYFS:

    1. Squeeze or pour the PVA glue into a mixing bowl. (You could try to create this in a tuff tray, but it will be very messy!). 
    2. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix well – the consistency is unlikely to change too much at this point.  
    3. Add the contact lens cleaning solution to your glue and bicarbonate of soda mixture. (This is when the molecules become cross-linked, and the consistency will change).  
    4. Keep kneading the mixture until it is no longer sticky – we recommend keeping it in a sealed tub after each use.
    Top tip!

    Add foam beads to create crunchy slime and glitter for a pop of sparkle! 

    Edible slime recipe

    Now you have created some simple slime, you may want to explore how to make it safer for the children to play with. Of course, they should always be supervised with slime, even the edible kind.

    The version of taste-proof slime we will be sharing includes marshmallows. Although most marshmallows are dairy and gluten-free, gelatine is often a main ingredient. Take into consideration any religious dietary requirements before planning edible slime sensory activities. 

    What you’ll need for edible slime:

    • Around 200g of marshmallows (white or pink) 
    • Two tablespoons of coconut oil (the solid form) 
    • ½ a cup of cornflour  
    • Any gel food colouring you would like 

    Edible slime recipe for EYFS:

    1. Place the 200g of marshmallows and the coconut oil in a bowl that is safe to be microwaved.  
    2. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir the mixture with a plastic spatula. Continue this process until the marshmallows have melted. Do remember this mixture can become extremely hot, children should only assist in this process.  
    3. Add in the cornflour (and any food colouring, sprinkles or sweets you would like to add), and mix well.  
    4. Scoop the mixture onto a plastic chopping board or non-stick mat (dusted with plenty of cornflour) and place a large bowl over the top. This will be left for around 20 minutes to cool and firm.  
    5. Dust hands with cornflour and then knead the mixture until it becomes more stringy and pliable.  

    Shaving gel (fluffy) slime recipe

    Shaving gel and foam can be the main activating ingredients when making slime. Shaving foam and gel can make fluffy and foamy textures compared to the PVA white glue. This recipe does take a lot of mixing and relies a little more on judging if more shaving gel is needed by examining the texture rather than accurate measurements.  

    What you’ll need for fluffy slime:

    • Shaving gel (not foam – there is a shaving foam recipe just below) 
    • Clear glue  
    • Food colouring gel (optional) 

    Fluffy slime recipe for EYFS:

    1. Place 100ml of the clear glue into a mixing bowl. 
    2. Add food colouring if you want to tie the slime-making into a theme like the jungle, under the sea or sunshine.
      1. Top tip- We recommend using food colouring gel rather than drops as there is less chance of skin transfer for the colour.  
    3. Squirt some shaving gel into the mixture and stir well. Continue to stir and add more shaving gel until you have a fluffy texture.  
    4. Remove the gel from the bowl once you can handle the mixture easily.  

    Shaving foam (extra fluffy) slime recipe

    This is another take on a fluffy slime recipe that includes shaving foam instead of gel. This slime can be large and easier for children with less developed dexterity and fine motor skills. 

    The movement of the larger slimes, like this shaving foam recipe, can help to strengthen muscles in the hand and wrist.   

    What you’ll need for shaving foam slime:

    • 100ml clear glue  
    • Two tablespoons of contact lens cleaning solution  
    • 500ml (2 cups) of shaving foam 

    Extra fluffy slime recipe for EYFS:

    1. Add the glue and the contact lens cleaning solution to a large mixing bowl and stir well. 
    2. Once well stirred, add 1-2 cups (250-500ml) of shaving foam and continue to stir until it becomes difficult to move.  
    3. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a non-stick, wipeable surface and continue to knead the slime until it is no longer tacky.  

    Sensory play is a fantastic way to improve EYFS skills, ensure children’s physical development (including gross and fine motor skills) is monitored when making slime together, and record it in line with EYFS expectations.  

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