Today I want to talk about an activity that has been requested so many times that I felt like it deserved it’s own post. It is one of those little gems of an activity that not only is it fun to make, but the finished product also works great to decrease stress and anxiety. I give you, THE SILLY PUTTY (cue fanfare)
I know, I know, it doesn’t look like much, but that little thing can work magic. I’m not really sure how, but it is one popular little dude. In fact, I would say it’s one of the most requested activities I’ve ever had, to the point that I’ve had to put limits. Yep, keep your silly putty under lock and key!
Okay, so perhaps you’re wondering why silly putty is so awesome. From a kid’s perspective, silly putty is so much fun to manipulate. You can squeeze it, squish it, pull it apart, put to back together, bounce it, throw it, the list goes on!
From a clinical prospective, it’s a great way to relieve tension, anxiety, fear, stress, and so forth. Silly putty not only decreases these feelings, it can help distract from the source of these feelings. Got a kid who needs some blood work? Set him up with the silly putty in the other hand and encourage him to squish it into the craziest shape possible using only that one hand.
What’s even better that giving silly putty? Making your own silly putty of course! There are many different ways to make silly putty depending on what you have around the house or at work. The main ingredient that you must have though is glue. Regular white school glue works the best, but you can experiment. You can use a combination of glue and laundry detergent, glue and borax, or glue and liquid starch.
The method that I’ve used is the biocolor method. Biocolor is a type of paint that can be used in many different ways, depending on what you add to it. Biocolor comes in many different colors such as blue, red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple. One use is you can make silly putty from it. You will need biocolor, biocolor solution, and glue to make this recipe, along with some medicine cups.
Take a medicine cup and fill it to the top with glue. Take a second medicine cup and fill it to the top with a biocolor or your choice. Then take a third medicine cup and fill it half way with biocolor solution.
You can mix it all together at once if you want, but I’ve found that it works best if you first mix the biocolor and the glue together. In keeping with the theme of using medical supplies, I use a kidney basin as my bowl and use tongue depressors to stir the mixture.
After the glue and biocolor is mixed together, pour in the biocolor solution and mix it in. I tell kids that the solution is magic and that they have to say a magic word for it to work, they love it! As you stir, the mixture will begin to get stringy and clump together. Keep stirring until the mixture resembles putty. You may have a little of the clear biocolor solution left over when you’re done.
Make sure you keep it in a Ziploc bag or other sealed container when you’re not using it! Also a word of caution, sometimes the biocolor putty will stain sheets if rubs against them. Additionally I found that kids would request it all the time and we would run out quickly, so if this is happening, I recommend setting a limit to 1 putty per kid per day.
I hope you try a silly putty recipe and find that it is lots of fun! Do you have a favorite way to make silly putty? Share your experiences in the comments below! Have fun!
Silly Putty Activity Notes (Biocolor version)
Ages: 4 and up
Materials: School Glue, Biocolor, Biocolor solution, 3 medicine cups, kidney basin, tongue depressor
Decrease Stress and Anxiety