The easy recipe for interstellar plasticine

Homemade plasticine is a great experiment to do. Beyond a creative game that allows shaping all kinds of animals or objects, plasticine is also a rich scientific concept that allows children to approach the mixing and transformation of matter.

You will need:

From 5 years

Difficulty : medium

This experiment requires the help of an adult

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Let's experiment

In your bowl, mix the flour with the cornstarch. Heat the water in the pan and then add the salt, a good spoonful of food coloring, and the oil to the boiling water.

Add your colored solution to the flour and mix gently with a spoon. Finish with your fingers, it’s more fun.

Once mixed, you get a ready-to-use modeling clay. It should not be sticky or too hard. Then give it an interstellar look by adding lots of glitters!

interstellar homade plasticine, an easy recipe by curiokids

Understand the experiment

Homemade plasticine; a chemical reaction

When you think of a chemical reaction, you imagine smoke, explosions, and probably abominable smells.

Chemistry is quite different and present in your daily life. It is a reaction between the various ingredients at the molecular level to create a new product. Here, you started with “solids” like flour and salt, and “liquids” like water, oil, and food coloring. When you mix them all together, you get a completely new and different substance from the original products. Worse, you can’t separate your ingredients after mixing.

Your plasticine is a chemical product.

Did you know?

Proteins are what make plasticine

You will notice that the water added to your mixture will incorporate perfectly into the flour and remain trapped there. This is due to the proteins in the flour. In particular, gluten.

When water is added to the flour, the proteins clump together and hold the water. This is what gives the dough its consistency – like bread! The salt helps the proteins stick together. You may notice that commercial plasticine also has a salty smell.

The role of oil in plasticine preparation is to prevent water from evaporating.

Challenge

Now watch what happens if you use only cornstarch.

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