The Secret to Good GAK

in Arts and Crafts, Education

One of the best things about being a kid is sensory awareness. When we are young everything you touch is new and exciting. Teaching sensory awareness at a young age has become more important. It informs us of what not to touch or what to touch. Most important, it is fun to play with different textures.

GAK (a slimly substance) is a great sensory tool for children. It has become all the rage for children in school; however, recently there have been some health concerns with homemade GAK. One of the ingredients is borax an ingredient found in a lot of cleaning supplies. A lot of recipes for homemade GAK also include shaving cream. Experts are saying that the shaving cream and borax mixture creates off-gassing and has been known to cause respiratory symptoms.

Another health risk worrying parents is the chemical burns that some children have suffered from due to a prolonged exposure to the GAK. It is being reported that the borax in large amounts is causing these burns. There is a definitely a science component to making GAK and when done correctly it can be a safe and fun teaching tool for children.

There are correct ways to make the slimy stuff; KidsQuest’s GAK recipe only calls for three ingredients and you can purchase the glue and liquid water colors on the discount school supplies website. The borax can be purchased from most pharmacy type drug stores.

GAK should be made with adult supervision.  

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic tub or bin
  • Glass bowl
  • 4 ounces of school glue-clear or white
  • ¼  cup water
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • Liquid watercolors (if desired)
  • ½ teaspoon of borax

Directions:

  1. Squeeze 4 ounces of glue into a glass bowl.      
  2. Mix in water. You can use any measurement bigger or smaller. As long as you are using a 1-to-1 ratio, it will still work! 
  3. Add your liquid water coloring, if desired.
  4. Mix 1 teaspoon of Borax into ¼ cup of hot water to create your borax solution.
  5. Stir in 4 oz. of the borax solution until the GAK started to come together.
  6. Knead the GAK. At first it will be really wet and gooey, then stringy and sloppy, until finally it will hold together.

You will knead it until it becomes one easy to work with mass of slime that can be pulled apart and manipulated—to some extent, because really, this slime has a mind of its own.

Try using different supplies with it, like, a cookie cutter or muffin tins. You will find that is very different than anything you or your children  have ever played with before.

When you’re done using your Gak, you can store it in a sealable container or Ziploc bag for many weeks (toss it and make more when it may start to smell!).