DIY | Floam

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Overview

Floam is an engaging sensory play mixture that can be rolled, sliced, mashed, shaped, and mixed. Making it and playing with it offer kids lots of opportunities for fun and learning.

Floam is a flexible polymer formed when the Borax reacts to crosslink the molecules of polyvinyl acetate in the glue. Enough sciency talk, lets get to the recipe.

Supplies

You’ll need:

Process

Combine

2 oz white school glue, 1/4 cup warm water, and a bit of food coloring in the measuring cup. Mix well and then pour it into the resealable plastic bag.

Add

1 1/3 cups of polystyrene beads to the mixture in the bag. Close the bag and scrunch it to coat the beads.

Mix

2 teaspoons of Borax and 1/2 cup warm water (the warmer the better, but not HOT) in a measuring cup to dissolve the Borax.

Pour

The Borax and water mixture into the bag and seal the bag.

Scrunch

Scrunch the mixture in the bag until it becomes Floamy, then scrunch it some more. After a good scrunching, remove it from the bag and knead on a smooth surface.

Storage

Store Floam in an airtight plastic container. Storing the container in a refrigerator will help prevent the growth of mold. The mixture may require some preplay mixing if it’s been stored for a while. It’ll last a good long time—our test batch was mold free and ready for play with a bit of scrunching after 2 months of un refrigerated storage.

Notes

  • Floam is not food. Don’t eat it.
  • Food coloring can, and probably will, stain fingers. Some colors more than others.
  • Borax is safe. Read more here and here and listen here.
  • Kids can help with the measuring, pouring, and mixing.
  • Tools for slicing, mashing, and rolling are useful additions to play.
  • Floam creations will solidify if you allow them to air dry.
  • The amount of Borax determines the firmness of the concoction. More Borax makes a firmer Floam.

Update

9/22/2019–We set aside a couple batches of Floam in airtight containers to see how easy they were to store and found that after 7 months they were still ready for play.

Conclusion

This is a fun recipe to mix up that’ll offer kids a rich and satisfying sensory play experience. If you give it a go, we’d love to hear how it goes and see pictures in the comments.

Content Creator and Curator at

Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

After nearly 30 years working in early learning programs, Tasha now devotes her time to making Explorations Early Learning and Playvolution HQ work, quilting, and taking care of her pet duck, Tape.

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