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Homemade Sensory Materials: Floam

The ingredients.
The ingredients.
Emily L. Goodman

Ever had the urge to replicate your childhood? Floam was all the rage a few years ago, but it’s a lot harder to find, now—unless you happen to want to make your own. Gather together a few simple ingredients (most of which can be found with relative ease—you may even have most of them in your home already!) and within a few minutes, your kids can be playing with a wad of Floam.

The ingredients.
The ingredients. Emily L. Goodman

The ingredients.

Gather together glue, Borax, water, and the little modeling beads.  This particular package was purchased at the dollar store. 
Combine ½ cup hot water with 2 tsp Borax.  In a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup school glue with ¼ cup water. Yes, they really do need to be separate.  When you combine them, you get a really cool slime mixture.  Add in the modeling beads, and mix to combine.

The modeling beads (closer look).
The modeling beads (closer look). Emily L. Goodman

The modeling beads (closer look).

These can be found at the dollar store, and are a really neat play material in their own right.  In fact, as packaged, they are a slightly stiff version of the original Floam.  If you’re not feeling particularly crafty, you could easily use this material on its own.

Add in a little food coloring.
Add in a little food coloring. Emily L. Goodman

Add in a little food coloring.

Remember, a little goes a long way—it doesn’t take much to make a bright, vibrant shade.  If you want different colors, make a couple of separate batches or mix the food coloring in separately and by hand—but remember, if you mix it in by hand, you’re probably going to end up with colored hands.

Mix them all together!
Mix them all together! Emily L. Goodman

Mix them all together!

The easy way to do this is to toss it in a stand mixer—but make sure you wash all the parts thoroughly before using it again on food!  Obviously, none of this material (the Borax, in particular) should be ingested.  A more labor-intensive way to accomplish this (let the kids help!) would be to put the materials in a plastic bag and mix them together that way.

Play!
Play! Emily L. Goodman

Play!

Looks like fun, right?  It can be molded, sculpted, or just squished.  Add in a cup or a cookie cutter to do some creative molding.  Let your child’s imagination run wild.  Just be sure to supervise young children while they’re playing—Borax should not come into contact with the eyes or be consumed.  It’s a much slimier, much more interesting version of the original, particularly appealing to younger children.  This is a great, unique sensory material unlike many of the others they’ve experimented with in the past, so it should keep their attention for a little while.

The toddler verdict:
The toddler verdict: Emily L. Goodman

The toddler verdict:

Ew!  It took some coaxing to get him to try it, but once he was in, he had a great time!  This might be more effective if it was used before the toddler in question has started the morning “Can I watch a movie?” whine. 
The big kid verdict:  “Mom, I want some!”  The big kids thought this was a great deal of fun.  They want to try out just the slime mixture next time for some additional enjoyment.