How To Make Quicksand

If you want to create something new and original for your kids to play with, you can learn how to make quicksand. This substance is considered a non-newtonian fluid and the way it acts, can keep a child interested for hours. It is thought to be a liquid but it can also be a solid and it does act exactly like quicksand. This depends on the pressure you put on this non-newtonian fluid. You can easily learn how to make quicksand and although it is fun to play with, kids can also benefit by learning the scientific principles behind this interesting mixture.


Quicksand or non-newtonian fluid actually hardens with pressure. But if there is no pressure applied to it, then it returns to liquid form. It is easy to make and you will only need a small amount of water and cornstarch. You will need 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water. For example, if you are using 2 cups of cornstarch, you will need 1 cup of water to complete the mix.


The first step in learning how to make quicksand is to place the water in any container. A pie pan is perfect for this mix. Slowly add the cornstarch and mix it at the same time until it is a smooth consistency. You will know that the mixture is done when it hardens and becomes difficult to stir. This can be a very messy process, so you should do this in the kitchen area on a counter top. The bathroom might also be a good place to mix this substance. Any area that you can easily wipe up is good but this shouldn't be made near furniture or carpeting.


Now you are ready to play with the quicksand mixture and you can explain how it works to your kids. If you lightly slap the mix with your hand, it will ripple. But your hand will not penetrate the substance. You can even hit it with a blunt object like a hammer and still it cannot be penetrated. At the same time, the ripples will still appear as if it were a liquid. You can also drag things like a pop cycle stick through it and it will penetrate the substance and you can use a straw to blow into the substance. This makes small bubbles that also causes rippling. Since pressure is the only thing that turns this substance into a solid, the next step would be to handle the non-newtonian fluid.


The quicksand itself feels gooey when handled. If you hold your hand stationary the gooey substance will slip through your fingers. If you form it into a ball, as long as you keep applying pressure to the area it will remain in a ball form. As soon as you stop applying the pressure it goes back to a gooey like substance. You can explain to kids why this substance is like quicksand.


If you slowly place your hand into the liquid applying a slight bit of pressure and then try to lift your hand, you will not be able to. The mixture will trap your hand in the substance. This is the same principle as quicksand. When you struggle to remove your hand from the gooey substance, it will sink further into it. If you do not move your hand it will stick into the substance. This is the same way quicksand works.


By learning how to make quicksand you and your family can enjoy playing with the substance and at the same time, learn about the science behind it. It may also be a good idea to supervise younger children when teaching them how to make quicksand.