It looks like mud, but it’s actually a taste safe sensory play invitation made with only three ingredients! Ooey, gooey, and totally awesome.
This taste safe sensory play activity is AMAZING
In the back of my pantry, I had a little, neglected box of powdered cocoa that I was saving to use for homemade brownies. The problem? I don’t ever make homemade brownies. That poor box of cocoa, destined to collect dust for the rest of its life, never fulfilling its destiny, until…I needed it for mud.
Mud?! I’ll explain:
While setting up a farm sensory table, it dawned on me that adding mud would make this activity feel a million times more realistic. But, of course, the problem was I didn’t have any mud. But then it hit me: the cocoa. The cocoa waited so patiently in the cabinet and now was its moment of glory.
Related: Speaking of amazing activities, have you ever seen our GIANT 10-foot coloring banners? They’re incredible!
Why we love oobleck sensory play
If you’ve made oobleck before, you know it’s 10/10 cool. Maybe even 12/10 cool.
If you’re an oobleck-newbie, you are in for a treat.
Oobleck is cornstarch mixed with water, and it’s fantastic. It’s neither a liquid nor a solid, so you can let it ooze through your fingers or you can mold it into a ball if you move your hands quickly enough!
It’s second to none because there’s nothing else quite like it!
Other fun oobleck activities to try:
- Glow in the Dark Oobleck – Babble Dabble Do
- Rainbow Oobleck – Busy Toddler
- Gingerbread Oobleck – My Bored Toddler
You might have all of these ingredients ready to go in your kitchen cupboard!
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- 1 cup of water
- 2 cups of cornstarch
- ½ cup cocoa powder
And while it’s not required at all, this heavy-duty floor mat makes clean up super easy, indoors and outdoors! We love, love, love this mat.
How to make taste safe sensory “mud”
Using your hands or a spoon, mix, mix, and mix until your ingredients are fully incorporated. If it feels a little too dry, add more water. If it feels too wet, add a bit more cornstarch.
Honestly, because I have made this so much (approximately 90 million times), I dump the ingredients into a bowl without measuring and adjust if needed. I’m a “lets-just-mix-and-see-what-happens” and not a “let’s-follow-the-measurements-with-care-and-precision” kind of person (which now makes sense as to why I haven’t made the brownies).
I measure with my heart.
Tip: if you pour your mixture into low, shallow containers, it makes it much more accessible, which in turn leads to extended playtime.
Whoa, this DOES look like mud!
How cool is that? Because we added cocoa powder, it looks like wet, brown, sticky mud and it will delight your littles.
Plus, if you have really young learners, it’s taste-safe unlike real mud. However…it’s disgusting. If you have a little one who decides to sneak a taste, their first taste will probably be their last.
Adding toys, props, and materials to extend the play is a fun way to make this feel especially real. Our very favorite toys to add are plastic animals.
Sensory play and fine motor play go hand-in-hand
When kids are engaged in this type of activity, they’re practicing many fine motor skills:
All of these skills come naturally with this activity with no additional materials!
Fine motor skills are essential for daily life and independence, and they also help our little learners to become strong writers down the road (two birds, one stone).
Add in tongs for children to use to grab, lift, and move their play items for extra fine motor goodness.
So…how do I clean this up?
We have two methods for you, the easy way and the easier way:
- Easy Clean-Up Method: Scoop the wet oobleck into a garbage can, and once it’s as clean/scraped out as possible, rinse the container with your hose or in the kitchen sink.
- Easier Clean-Up Method: Wait for it to dry. Leave the containers outside or on a counter for a day or so, and when you see the mud crack (photo above), pour it all into the garbage. At this point, it’s essentially back to powder so clean-up takes seconds (and it’s virtually mess-free).
While water, cornstarch, and cocoa powder are indeed edible foods, eating large quantities of this can upset your stomach and make you sick. It is taste-safe, but be aware of the age of the child you’re working with to make sure it doesn’t go past a taste.
Absolutely! If you don’t have cocoa powder and still want to make it brown like mud, you can add in a few drops of paint, food coloring or liquid watercolors. Of course, if you add in any types of paints or watercolors, it is no longer taste safe.
Yes! When you’re done playing, spread your “mud” into an ice cube container, freeze overnight, and play with your cubes the next day.
Taste safe sensory play mud for the win!
We love a sensory activity that is
- Easy to make ✅
- Easy to clean ✅
- Engaging ✅
- Inexpensive ✅
If you try this out, please let us know what you think! It’s one of our favorites, and we hope it becomes one of yours, too.