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Techniquest

Techniquest will reopen on 14 November. Tickets on sale now!Read more about it
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Christmas time, mistletoe and slime: Festive family science

December 4, 2018

The countdown to Christmas is on, and our three wise chemists have returned this year to help you keep the little ones busy on the run up to the big day.

We’re of the belief that the best (and most enjoyable) science experiments are a little bit messy, and we’re going to talk you how to make your very own Christmas slime.

Making your own slime is fairly simple, but how can you add a festive twist? With a quick trip to the shops, all you will need to do is grab some jars, crafting supplies, and turn your jars into your favourite Christmas characters. We promise, this is one you’ll love getting stuck into.

Now that we’ve got our slime puns out of the way, here’s how you do it.

Slime supplies

Per jar

  • 1 bottle of white Elmer’s glue (6oz) (or you can buy an Elmer’s Slime Starter Pack from local shops such as Hobbycraft)
  • Food colouring – Red for Santa or brown for reindeer, or green colouring and glitter for a Christmas tree
  • ½ tbsp of Baking Soda
  • 1½ tbsp of Contact lens solution (your brand of contact lens solution must have boric acid in the ingredient list – this is what interacts with the glue to form the slime)
  • A large bowl

Crafting supplies

  • Googly eyes
  • Buttons
  • Pom-poms
  • Pipe cleaners (if you’re making antlers for the reindeer!)
  • An assortment of felt, choose your colour based on your character (e.g. yellow for a snowman’s scarf, red for Santa)
  • Hot glue

The Experiment

  1. Cover any surface areas — messy can be fun but not when it leaves your kitchen table stained!
  2. Pour 6oz of Elmer’s glue into a large bowl
  3. Add food colouring — you can use brown, red, green or keep it white and make a snowman.
  4. Add ½ tbsp of baking soda and mix in thoroughly.
  5. Add 2 tbsp of water and mix.
  6. Slowly add in your contact lens solution, knead and mix thoroughly before adding more. Adding too much will make your slime too hard, so try not to get carried away!
  7. Take your slime out of the bowl and place on a flat surface
  8. Knead, knead, knead until your slime forms.
  9. Pop the slime in the jar, and start decorating!

The science behind the slime

Slime is all about polymers, which are made up of very large chains of molecules. Chemical bonds are formed when the glue and slime activator are mixed together, causing a reaction. The slime activator changes the position of the molecules in a process called cross linking, thanks to the reaction between the glue and borate ions in the contact lens solution. Instead of flowing freely, the molecules become tangled and create the slimy substance.

If you’re getting out and about with the little ones over Christmas, here’s what we have on.