I am not immune to the fancy trends of tactile play.
So yes, I absolutely had to try creating the floam slime that seems to be everywhere. Call it nostalgia for my childhood days of playing with Nickelodeon Floam and Gak – do people remember that? It was totally a thing, trust me.
The only problem is that there are approximately 27,000 slime/floam recipes available online. Where in the world is a therapist to start? Follow along with me, friends, for I have tested three different recipes, and only one was a total disaster.
Making floam was on my list of things to try forever. It’s a great activity in occupational therapy for different reasons – following directions, managing materials, mixed consistency tactile input, fine motor precision to help me clean up hundreds of tiny Styrofoam beads… So what was stopping me? For the love of crafting, I could NOT locate liquid starch anywhere. (One of the main ingredients for most floam recipes.) It was not at my local Wal-Mart, grocery stores, drug stores, anywhere.
So out of pure necessity I started with a recipe using Borax as the “active” bonding ingredient:
Look! We made a glue rock! Ugh, this one was a nightmare. We combined all the ingredients into a zip-lock bag and mixed them up, which was a fun process. But perhaps we used too much Borax, because the glue became really stiff and the beads would literally shoot out of the floam as the children played with it. In all fairness, they thought it was hilarious. The cleaning crew? Probably not so much.
It was time to up my game. With still no liquid starch in sight, I watched several online tutorials in order to make my own. I can’t even comment on how much extra effort this seemed to be requiring of me. But I got out a pan and corn starch and boiled away, way more proud of myself than I should have been.
Spoiler alert – this did nothing. Like absolutely nothing. Did I not use enough corn starch? Did I manage to boil water incorrectly? Did I have a magic touch that turns any DIY crafting experience to complete trash? There’s no way to know for sure.
After driving to a Wal-Mart the next town over, I finally located the liquid
gold starch I needed. And thank goodness – this ingredient was the winner of the entire process:
So, this totally looks like a bowl of Funfetti cake mix. The only other difference for this round (besides using liquid starch) was mixing in the Styrofoam beads before adding the starch. This helped everything mix together a little easier with less mess.
The results were fantastic! A little slimy, but not too much residue left behind when playing with it, which was great for some children that are apprehensive to messy play. It stretched well and actually retained the little beads while being tossed around.
There was one more recipe to try, which called for using shaving cream instead of water. In the process of real life trials, we managed to go waaaay overboard with the recommended foam beads on this one:
This trial might have been the favorite overall. While recipe #2 was sort of slimy, this one was more fluffy. Plus, there’s something about spraying shaving cream that children absolutely LOVE. As far as adding more beads went, there seemed to be a sort of saturation point with the mixture where they just wouldn’t mix in anymore. So it won’t really hurt to add more, they just might end up sticking to your hands and the bowl instead.
So to recap, here’s the final results: 1 glue rock and 2 actual floam creations. A fairly successful test run if you ask me.
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