Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#27 Time for Gak

I made gak with the children.
Imagine, late in March, and I am just now introducing my preschoolers to the sheer joy and purposelessness of creating this "silly putty-like" stuff!
Where has the school year gone?

I had a willing group of about eight "mixers," my sensory-seekers,
those who like to touch, stretch, mush, wallow in anything I put out.
We "cooked" up the batch, me wondering aloud if this was edible cooking,
since I was using glue and Borax,
and them exclaiming, as I had hoped,
"Ms. Ingram! NO! NO! NO! You don't eat glue!"
 Just wanted to be sure, since it seemed like we were cooking,
with a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, measuring cups...
wanted to be sure we were on the same page.

Ahhh, the delight when you mix the dissolved Borax in with the glue...
the substance changes, as you turn the wooden spoon,
into gloop, into stretchiness, into surprise!
And I was no longer working with a group of eight but the full class of twenty-two,
needing to see, needing to touch, needing to play.

Here's what I heard:

It’s gloppy!”  

“Vervining” (said one precocious four year old), “which means it’s getting stretchy and puffy and now it’s expanding.”

It’s sticky!” 

That’s gooey, it feels gooey.”
It feels squishy.” 

A few first-graders came into read to us and that just wasn't going to happen, and, so,
for five minutes or so, the first-graders joined in on the fun...
I promised to share the recipe with their teacher (for a lighter time in their schedule).

Another batch or two today...to keep up with the demand...



1st Bowl:
2 cups glue
1 ½ cups tap water
Food coloring

2nd Bowl:
Dissolve 2 teaspoons Borax
Into 1 cup hot water

Mix two bowls together (pour 2nd bowl into 1st bowl). 
Drain off excess water. 
Let stand for a few minutes after mixing.

Knead gak until its pliable.
Bounce it! Stretch it! Roll it!
To save it, put it in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator, so it won’t dry out.


  1. I would love my child in your class - sounds like you have fun.

  2. What a fun experience for your kids! It's interesting to see who will be the risk-takers. I love the words you captured. Fun times!

  3. I love making Gak. It's a great way to introduce chemical changes to my 5th graders. They have as much fun as your little ones when we make a batch.

  4. Sounds fun. I may try this one with my granddaughter.

  5. This sounded so much fun. The words the kids used could make a preschool Gak poem.

  6. I'm afraid that there is no age limit on gak-appeal. Who wouldn't like to mess with that mess? It's would be good to use with all ages as a writing prompt, don't you think? Make it, play with it, write about it...

  7. We had gak in the classroom the other day with a dish rack so the gak was dripping down in long, gooey strips - too fun! One year, for my school board report, I made a batch of gak and gave each of the board members a small ball of the stuff. They were quite engaged with the stuff.

  8. Reminds me of a workshop with Georgia Heard. She gave all the adults bubbles to blow and then asked us to write about them. The adults were all giggling and blowing those bubbles all over the auditorium.
    No matter what the age things like gak, bubbles,and mud are a way of appealing to our senses which then trigger our vocabularies. Great activity to be doing with your kids to build their experience factor.

  9. Your year seems to be going just like mine. I experimented with a recipe two weeks ago but then because of a few changes going on I've decided to put it off until after break. I like your big bowl way of doing it, I'm going to try that.

  10. I love those days when you get to "cook" up something they've never seen before and listen in on their amazement! Such fun.

  11. This sounds fun! I may have to try this with the grandkids this summer! I loved the little bits of conversation you put into the slice. I could just hear those kids