There is something satisfying about sticky, gooey quicksand. This cornstarch quicksand version is even more fun with the addition of real sand to the mix. The gritty, yet slippery texture will appeal to kids who like getting messy when they learn. Making quicksand is a fun way to teach kids about Non-Newtonian fluids.
Sinking Quicksand: Non-Newtonian Fluid Science for Kids
Find some sand at the beach or playground? Take it home and try this fun science experiment! You’ll need just a few things:
- Yellow food coloring
Mix about a cup of sand with a cup of cornstarch. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring.
Add water to the mixture a little at a time until the cornstarch mixture starts to form into a liquid. But be careful, because if you add too much liquid it will remain a liquid. If that happens, just add a bit more starch.
Let the kids try squeezing the quicksand. It quickly freezes into dough.
But when they open their hands, the quicksand oozes out.
Kids will love testing the various ways the mixture reacts. My kids play with quicksand for hours every time they make it.
Dispose of this mixture in the trash, not down the sink as it can freeze up in the pipes, causing them to clog and it takes a while to clear the pipes out again.
Quicksand Science Experiment Explained
Cornstarch quicksand is what is known as a Non-Newtonian fluid because it has properties of a liquid and the properties of a solid at once. Newton didn’t believe something could be both a solid and liquid, and that is why they are called Non-Newtonian fluids. When the quicksand is pressed or squeezed, the molecules bind together and the quicksand feels hard. But when the mixture is relaxed, the molecules separate and slide around like a liquid.