|This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.|
A few months ago, my daughter decided that she no longer needed a daily nap. It was a sad day for me. Both my kids were taking naps at the same time everyday and I had all sorts of time to myself. It was amazing! But at 3.5 years old (at the time of the original post), she napped longer than a lot of kids I know. While I miss my “me time”, it’s also been fun to have some one on one time with my daughter. It’s also encouraged me to come up with some additional activities for her to do to keep her occupied for the extra hour or two besides coloring or stickers. So when I found a recipe for some homemade Gak, I knew I had to try it out.
As a kid, I remember seeing commercials for Gak and wanting it so bad (along with every other kid my age)! I wish I’d know how easy it was to make so I wouldn’t have spent $3 every time I wanted a new color or the one I had got all yucky.
When I started pulling out the ingredients I needed to make it, my daughter’s interest was immediately peaked and she climbed right up onto the chair next to the counter and wanted to know what we were making. She wrinkled her nose when I told her, “Gak,” but I smiled and just told her to wait and see.
The prep for this activity is pretty simple and if you made the homemade bouncy balls I posted here a couple months ago, you will (most likely) have everything you need: borax, white glue, food coloring and water.
Start by pouring the glue into a bowl. Then fill the glue container with warm water, shake it around, then pour it in with the glue. Using a spoon, stir it around until it is mostly mixed together.
Add a few drops of food coloring. The amount you use is totally up to you and depends on how bright you want the gak to be. I used neon food coloring and liked how bright the color came out. Mix the food coloring around with the glue/water mixture until mostly combined. Don’t worry if it looks a little marbled, since the colors will finish combining during the final step.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1/4 c. warm water with 1/2 tsp. borax and stir until the borax has dissolved. Pour it into the glue mixture and stir.
As you stir, you’ll notice that the mixture will start to become stringy and thicken up and you won’t be able to stir it anymore. Use your hands to squish it around. After a few minutes, it becomes pretty gelatinous.
Now you’re ready to play!
I pulled out some plastic cookie cutters and let my daughter play around with cutting shapes and seeing how everything squishes back together. She liked to just let the gak stretch out until it fell apart and then mashed it back together again. We also gave some to my son (1.5 years old) and let him play with it too (with supervision so he wouldn’t eat it). My husband even got in on the fun and pulled out some of his own “tricks” from when he was a kid like stretching it out and blowing bubbles in it and making “stinker” noises. Such a boy.
I would have to say that this activity has been one of my favorites in terms of homemade play recipes that we’ve tried so far. My kids loved it and so did the adults. Definitely family friendly and it lets you play like a kid again, with a little bit of nostalgia thrown in! This would also make a great birthday gift or party favor!
A couple of notes:
- I think it important to let kids do as much as they can in any given project. My daughter was able to do every part of this (except the food coloring) and it was fun to see her sense of accomplishment when she made “her” gak. Obviously adult supervision is important and every kid is at their own level, but let them see how much they can do by themselves and you both might be surprised!
- Even though we were careful, my kids still got some gak on their clothes. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t come out, but I found that by scraping as much off with my fingernail as I could and then running it under very warm/hot water, again while using my fingernail to scrape at it, that it came out really well. I can’t say this would work for all clothing but that is what helped me get it out.
- 1/2 c. white glue (or one 4 oz bottle)
- 1/2 tsp. borax
- approx. 1/2 c. warm water
- food coloring
- Pour the glue into a bowl. Fill the glue container with warm water (about 1/2 c.), shake it around, then pour it in with the glue. Using a spoon, stir it around until it is mostly mixed together.
- Add a few drops of food coloring. (The amount you use is totally up to you and depends on how bright you want the gak to be.) Mix the food coloring around with the glue/water mixture until mostly combined. Don’t worry if it looks a little marbled, since the colors will finish combining during the final step.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1/4 c. warm water with 1/2 tsp. borax and stir until the borax has dissolved. Pour it into the glue mixture and stir.
- As you stir, you’ll notice that the mixture will start to become stringy and thicken up and you won’t be able to stir it anymore. Use your hands to squish it around. After a few minutes, it becomes pretty gelatinous.
- Now you’re ready to play!