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  • Gina

Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site

In this BLOG post I will teach you how to make 'Construction Site Oobleck', share my best messy-play tips & explain the benefits of this type of exploration!

Head to our Instagram page to see more ways to learn & play at home or in the classroom! We love to see you play & share the joy of hands-on crafts & activities at home. Be sure to tag @aplayfilledlife on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of our ideas!!

XO Gina

Oobleck is SO. MUCH. FUN. It is a great messy-play activity that can be done at home, outdoors, in the classroom or in a therapy space. While children explore Oobleck, they are not only gaining the benefits of sensory play, but they are also exploring Science concepts!

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian substance. It's a solid, It's a liquid. It can be thick or gooey or everything in between. It can be white, or it can be colorful. It can be used with plastic animals or trucks or Barbies or rocks.

You get to decide what is and manageable in your home. Always monitor young children during sensory play.


  • (2) cups Cornstarch

  • (1/2) used coffee grounds (I use the ones left over after I brew a pot of coffee!)

  • (1) cup Water

  • Sensory bin or bowls

  • Spoon

  • Construction trucks

  • Water

If you prefer not to use coffee grounds, you can make it as is OR add in cocoa powder or cinnamon!

How To:

  • Mix corn starch, water, and coffee grounds (if using) in a tub or tray and have fun experimenting!

  • Add in plastic bugs and scoops. PLAY!

  • Make observations as you play. How does it smell? How does it feel? What happens when you add more water to the Oobleck bin? What does it look like as it dries?

  • If you let Oobleck completely dry out and harden, you can store it in an airtight container. The next time you want to use it, simply add water to reactivate!

Messy play is SO beneficial for children. It's open-ended, encourages creativity, provides sensory input & teaches them about their personal boundaries. Messy play activates the senses and has been known to be calming, offering an incredible opportunity to practice self-regulation strategies.

What skills are you working on during messy play?

  • Fine & Gross Motor Skills: As the child squishes and squeezes, they are developing their finger and hand muscles. Those same finger and hand muscles are responsible for self-help skills such as: feeding yourself, zippering your coat and holding a pencil during writing! Messy play can also help support spatial awareness, balance & coordination.

  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Hand-eye coordination is simultaneously using your hands & your eyes for a task. Strong hand-eye coordination helps you with tasks such as feeding yourself, coloring in the lines & pouring a drink in a cup.

  • Bilateral coordination: Using both sides of the body to complete a task.

  •  Cognitive development refers to how a child acquires and understands information; how they think, learn and problem solve. There are many opportunities to develop cognitive development during messy play through problem solving and understanding cause/effect.

  • Language Development: Messy play is SO good for supporting language development. There are opportunities to learn new words and practice phrases.

  • Social Skills: Messy play can help to establish and strengthen social skills. Children will practice using their manners, sharing, turn-taking and having patience.

Clean up-tips:

  • For easy clean up: keep wipes nearby, along with a plastic bag or trash bin to discard.

  • Wear old clothes or a bathing suit, and plan to head to the tub after this fun sensory play!

  • Take it outdoors! Wash it off with a hose when you're done.

  • Use an old beach towel or sheet under the bins to catch any spills.

How to encourage messy play?

  • Start small. Put a tiny amount in a bowl and explore with it to see how it feels!

  • Play with them! Roll up your sleeves and get messy with them.

  • Let them know that getting messy is OK.

  • Have a clean-up strategy so that they can wipe their hands quickly if it becomes too much. Maybe have a towel in their lap or wipes right next to them.

  • Encourage starting with just one finger. "Poke the Oobleck with your pointer finger. How does it feel?"

What else can you add to Oobleck?

  • Rocks, sticks or flowers (any nature treasures are FUN!)

  • Trucks, cars or diggers

  • Plastic animals

  • Scoops or shovels

  • A kitchen strainer

  • Gems or jewels

  • Plastic Easter eggs

  • Glitter

  • Legos

  • Plastic letters or numbers


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