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Stories of Play – 10 Min Setup for a 2 Sec Play. Is it Worth It?


Introduced goop/oobleck to Miss 15mo for the first time today. It’s just 2 parts cornflour, 1 part water and food colouring of your choice.

I kept the set up really simple and minimal so she could focus on simply exploring this new sensory medium.

Even though she was initially excited, she became hesistant, then disgusted šŸ˜‚ and was over it after about 1min. I had a tub of water beside us on standby for easy clean up and the little one decided to spend the next 30min painting and flicking water all over the yard with a paintbrush (work those fine-motor and gross-motor muscles darling!). In that 30min, she did go back to the goop and explored it for a couple more minutes, using her hands to pick up the insects and discovering that the physical properties of goop made it really hard to extract the creatures from it. Instead of the disgust from before, there was now a confusion, as well as a problem she needed to solve. She kept saying “stuck” and wanted my help in getting the insects out. She also discovered that the dried out goop on the ground and her clothes had became flaky and if she scraped it with the metal spoon, they became powder.

That was the extent of her engagement and exploration with goop today. Was I disappointed? Not at all. Sometimes it might seem like such a waste of time taking 10min to set up an activity when your child literally spends only seconds playing with it. It’s not a failure on my part or disinterest on her part.

Children need repeated exposure to a new, previously unknown material / medium before they learn how to engage and extend on their play with it. She was so comfortable finding ways to play with just water in a tub because she plays with water everyday, be it during her bath or in an activity set up specifically for water play. The more exposure they have to a particular sensory experience, the more familiar they’ll get, and eventually the time spent playing with it will lengthen and the level of engagement deepen.

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