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Toddler Talk: Homemade Gak

Remember Gak? From the 90s? I am pretty sure I always had some in my backpack to play with at school. Classmates and I may have even traded ours for different colors. I know for certain I gave it as a gift, seemingly suitable for all occasions. I told my good friend I recently made some at home for Ramona and her Wednesday play date and the first thing she said to me was: “Don’t tell my parents. Pretty sure they spent hundreds of dollars on Gak for my sister and me.”

Ha! Well, it’s true. Gak is so so easy to make at home. If your children are a little bit older, they’ll have lots of fun helping you make it and watch science happen as the consistency of the goo changes right before your eyes. If your littles one are smaller, like mine, it might be wise to just whip it up during nap time (it’ll take no more than ten minutes), and present it as a surprise when they get up! Either way, making it is a cinch.

Gak is fun because it is just so weird: It looks slimy and gooey but holds together like Play-Doh while simultaneously oozing from your hands. It’s fun to stretch and squeeze and, if you fold and squeeze it just right, makes funny sounds that will give everyone fits of laughter.

What you need:

1 cup WARM water

1 cup school glue (I used Elmer’s and it took two regular size bottles)

Food coloring of your choice

2 teaspoons Borax (can be found in the laundry detergent section of your preferred general store)

2/3 cup HOT water

What you do:

  1. In one bowl, mix together the warm water and food coloring. I had done a “pistachio” color by mixing 4 drops green and 1 drop yellow. In hindsight, I think it’d be more fun to do a brighter color.

  2. Mix in the glue to the water/food coloring mixture.

  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the hot water and Borax, until the Borax has dissolved.

  4. Slowly mix this water/Borax mixture into the colored glue mixture.

  5. Stir and watch as the mixture changes to many different consistencies almost immediately!

  6. Once much of the water has turned to goo, take it out of the bowl and knead it.

  7. After some light kneading, it will have turned into what is undeniably a homemade Gak!

  8. Have lots of fun!

Points to consider:

Borax is safe but please don’t let your little ones ingest this.

The food coloring does not come off on hands (at least mine didn’t!).

If the gak gets stuck to clothes, it is washable and should get out after a normal wash.

Be careful where you place the Gak, as it will pick up bits and pieces from the ground if set down (pet hair, dust particles, etc). It’s best to keep it on clean surfaces or in hands.

To store, keep in an airtight container.

If it dries up, add 1 teaspoon water at a time and work it through. Or make more with a different color!

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