Chocolate Oobleck

A favorite ooey gooey sensory bin idea around our house is oobleck. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid so under pressure (hitting, squeezing, or jabbing) it acts like a solid. In contrast if you’re gentle with it (resting a finger on it’s surface or holding it in cupped hands) it acts like a liquid (finger sinks in or the oobleck flows out of your hands). Lately the kids have enjoyed making it themselves so it’s been a bit more watery although still a lot of fun. I blogged about this two-ingredient sensory material before then later changed it up by freezing it and using it in a fun color mixing sensory bin at Ada’s birthday party last year. Recently, while packing to move, I had an almost empty Costco-sized container of cocoa powder and decided to change it up again and created muddy oobleck.

Change up your oobleck with cocoa powder to make ooey gooey mud. After exploring change it up by running your monster trucks through it or add some animals. So much fun!

While making the muddy oobleck I gave each kid a box of cornstarch to dump into their sensory bin along with a spoon so they could mix it up and play with it. I then gave them each a cup with water so they could create their oobleck themselves. I tried to keep the overall ratio to two parts cornstarch and one part water but Zoey didn’t mix it all together and Ada wanted more water added to it later on, so both of their oobleck looked runnier than normal. After handing out the water I then split up the cocoa powder between the girls. If I were to redo this I would split the cocoa powder between two dry cups and, after they mixed it with the cornstarch, refill their cup with water.

Zoey is still emptying her box of cornstarch into her sensory bin while Ada already did and is now pouring her cup of water into her bin.
I gave both kids a box of cornstarch, a spoon to mix, and a cup of water so they could make their own oobleck.
Splitting up the last of the cocoa powder between the girls.
I then split the cocoa powder between the two bins.
Playing in the oobleck bins.
And gave them free reign to explore and mix on their own terms.

They were restricted in the amount of cornstarch and cocoa powder they were given but if they wanted it runnier I would happily refill their plastic cup with water. Ada loved repeatedly filling her cup and then dumping it on her arms calling it “sun screen”.

Ada loved filling her cup with her runny oobleck while Zoey didn't fully mix her together so had cornstarch islands in her runny muddy oobleck.
Playing in the oobleck.

Since I let the kids choose how much water they wanted, and I was dumping out the rest of the cocoa powder, I don’t have measured ratios for you. When making plain white oobleck myself I try to stay close to two parts cornstarch and one part water. Quickly looking up cocoa powder oobleck online while writing this up I came across ‘Muddy Monster Truck Derby Sensory Bin’ on Mama.Pappa.Bubba if you want a runnier muddy oobleck and a ‘Chocolate Oobleck’ on Teaching Mama if you want a more oobleck-like mixture.

At some point the kids started getting tired of the bin so I extended the play by dividing up the last of a container of salt between them. I put the salt in their cups so they could add it in their own time. Ada ended up filling her salty cup up with oobleck before adding later dumping it in the bin while Zoey dumped it in right away. Once they started getting bored I grabbed our two Dollar Tree monster trucks for them to each play with in the mud.

Zoey dumping her salt into her muddy oobleck while Ada adds the oobleck to her cup full of salt.
Kids deciding how to include salt in their sensory play.

Zoey ended up being done playing first so Ada got to add Zoey’s monster truck and oobleck to her bin while I moved Zoey over to the kitchen sink. Even though she was done with oobleck Zoey decided she wanted to play in the sink so I filled her emptied bin with soapy water and limited her to the more child-safe dirty dishes by the side of the sink (prewashing my dishes for later). Once Ada saw what Zoey was doing she requested soapy water so I grabbed another bin so she could dirty up her monster trucks before washing them… again and again.

Pouring Zoey's oobleck in with Ada's,
Gave Ada Zoey’s monster truck along with her oobleck.
Zoey playing with soapy water in the sink.
Zoey was washed off by playing in the sink.
One bin of soapy water alongside a bin of muddy oobleck. One monster truck in each bin.
Ada was able to play with both the muddy oobleck along with the soapy water until she too decided it would be more fun to join Zoey at the sink.

When it comes time to clean up I’ve never had a problem pouring it down the sink although the kids have been diluting it first and I still make sure to run water at the same time so it’s extremely diluted. For regular oobleck I normally throw it out since it isn’t too liquidy. While writing this I wanted to confirm for clean up and found a Home Improvement Stack Exchange question where a clog formed when their daughter dropped oobleck in the drain without diluting it first. On that thread someone mentioned never using hot water to unclog since that will “cook the starch and turn it into a giant gravy lump” whereas the only answer had you fill your sink with water so you can use a plunger on it and if that fails it probably got stuck in the p-trap which needs to be removed and cleaned. If you want a tongue in cheek answer to if it ever plugs XKCD has delivered by giving a scientific answer to a reader’s hypothetical question: “how much cornstarch can I rinse down the drain before unpleasant things start to happen?”

I love how adding simple cocoa powder gave the kids a new lease on their oobleck. I’d love to know if you made some and if you chose to make actual oobleck or if you added more water to make it more like mud. I’d love to hear what you added to your sensory bin to make it your own. Feel free to share in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or through Instagram. I hope you’re having an awesome day!

Kyra

My name is Kyra and I’m a computer programmer that decided to stay at home with my two beautiful daughters: Ada and Zoey. I created this website to share with you anything I come across in my day to day life that I think you may enjoy.

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1 Response

  1. March 22, 2020

    […] You can change it up by using food dye to make it any color. Out of food dye or bored of it? I once used cocoa powder in oobleck to create a ‘muddy’ inside sensory bin for the girls…. You can easily put a bin of soapy water next to the oobleck to make cleaning the vehicle, […]

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