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5 Gross Science Projects for School-Age Kids

Updated on February 16, 2022
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Source

Children Learn Best With Hands-on Projects

There are multiple recipes for gross projects for young students, however many do not last long beyond the moment of mixing in class. These five science projects teach measurement, patience, and encourage scientific study in reactions between substances. The first two recipes are not gross to a strong-stomached teacher, yet the last three might cause nausea for some.

Even after preschool, children can learn using their hands and manage emotional outbursts with physical exertion. Modeling and molding materials are excellent tools for a classroom that allows for free time, has hands-on art experiences and needs a project for stress or energy release. Gross materials, such as Gak, are ideal lessons for children during art classes, lessons in measuring and gross science projects.

The following are five recipes for creating different types of clay and goop in class.

Modeling Clay

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon food coloring

Mix the salt, oil, water, and food coloring on a chopping board. Knead this mixture into a ball, making sure the coloring is spread evenly throughout the ball. Add ½ cups of all-purpose flour to the mixture, continuing to knead it into a ball, until all three cups are added. Soon the ball will feel like bread dough. When that happens – it is finished. Store the clay in an airtight container to keep it from drying out.

No-Bake Play Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large plastic bowl stirring with a spoon. Knead the dough into a ball. Store the dough in an airtight container. If the dough is too sticky, simply add a ¼ cup of flour to it until it is no longer sticky. Make sure to spread the food coloring evenly through the dough. Make multiple colors using mixtures of food colors. This process will teach the children which primary colors mix to make secondary colors.

A word about food coloring - Food coloring stains hands, clothes, and carpets. It can be washed off or blotted up but it is best to use gloves while handling the food coloring until it is absorbed into the flour. Once absorption has happened, the food coloring will not stain.

Start Learning Early

Preschool and Kindergarten - The Best Age to Encourage Scientific Study
Preschool and Kindergarten - The Best Age to Encourage Scientific Study | Source

More Gross Recipes

The following three recipes are unstable materials that need to be thrown away after the lesson because they create a disgusting mess if saved.


  • 1 cup white glue
  • 1 cup liquid starch
  • 3 drops food coloring

Mix the white glue and food coloring in a large plastic bowl until the food coloring is evenly spread through the glue. Use a long handled spoon to prevent getting the Gak on your hands. Add the starch slowly while constantly stirring the mixture. This mixture will gain the consistency of putty. However, if you stir beyond the putty feel, it will get hard and the children will not enjoy playing with it.


Oobleck is a product from a Dr. Seuss book titled Bartholomew and the Oobleck . It is meant to be gross and flimsy.

  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon warm water

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl with your hands until it is a satiny smooth goop that feels somewhat solid but still drips between your fingers. You can add green food coloring to make it match the book if you like. You can also enlarge this recipe however you want. Just keep the recipe at 4 equal parts cornstarch and 1 equal part warm water.


Flubber was made popular by a couple of Disney movies involving the Absent-minded Professor. He accidentally created Flubber in his lab. It is a glue-like substance that will not bond things together and will lose its viscosity after a day or two.

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon white glue
  • 2 overflowing tablespoons of Borax (a laundry detergent found in hobby stores and grocery stores)

Add all the ingredients into a sandwich sized zip-bag. Set the bag down on the table and squish it with your fingers. This action will mix the ingredients into a ball without getting your fingers sticky. Once the materials are mixed, remove the Flubber from the bag and play with it.

Enjoy these gross science projects but remember that the materials, without proper care, will break down and become useless. Keep the clay and dough in sealed containers and change them out when they become brittle. Do not keep the last three goops around longer than two or three days because the chemical reactions bonding the materials together will not keep their hold.

Pop Quiz

Which Gross Science Project Have You Tried?

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