Making putty. A Fun science activity for kids.

Making putty with kids is not only a FUN activity, it can also serve a purpose to explain those scary science words! This activity will boost confidence for future science projects kids are expected to do at school.

Science subjects can be some of the funnest subjects to teach at home! Focusing on key terms can be so helpful to young kids. As they grow up and enter advanced science courses they will be expected to know common scientific terms.

There is a great way to help out elementary kids understand scientific terms. CREATE FUN EXPERIMENTS! Kids love creating new things. Believe me, they will remember the time they made putty with their mom/dad!

This activity is a great idea for FAMILY TIME!

The scientific term that “putty making” focuses on is CHEMICAL REACTION! (Often referred to as, Chemical Change). So first… lets review what a chemical reaction is…

An elementary definition of a chemical reaction is: a PROCESS in which chemicals transform into something NEW.

A great example of this would be cooking an egg. The slimy/gooey raw egg yolk when heated transforms into a spongy/chalky cooked egg. Evidence that a chemical reaction occured.

So lets get started!

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Making Putty With Kids…

How it works!

  1. Gather the Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of white glue
1/2 teaspoon borax
1/2 cup of water
Food Coloring (Optional)
2 paper cups

Ingredients For Putty. Elmers White Glue. Borax. Water. Food Coloring. Paper Cups. Spoon

2. Using one of the paper cups dissolve the borax in the water. (This will take a couple minutes.) In the other cup mix the glue and food coloring (optional).

Placing 1 tablespoon of white glue into a paper cup!
Mixing a couple of drops of blue food coloring into the white glue. Mixing with a spoon.

3. Add the borax and water mixture to the glue. Use the spoon to mix the dissolved borax and glue together.

4. When the substance thickens, take out the putty and knead it with your hands for a minute or so. The glue should harden within seconds of stirring it in the water.

*Note: food coloring may dye hands!

Kneading the new putty with hands.

5. Explain the concept: Teach them the reason the putty forms. The borax changes the molecules within the glue. Glue is made of polymers (a very long chain of molecules that are linked together) which is why glue is very thick (or has high viscosity). When the borax is introduced to these polymers, they transform themselves. Hence, a chemical change! This chemical reaction causes the glue to form into putty.

6. Kids can experiment with using a little more/less borax to the recipe. I would double the amount of borax (1 teaspoon) and restart the process. Have them guess (you can even use the term hypothesize) what will happen if you double the amount of borax. Perform the experiment and observe what happens.

Making putty with kids at home can be a great time! Please feel free to comment with any suggestions or questions you might have!

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