In case you somehow managed to avoid it, you probably already know that slime is all the rage with kids these days.
It’s an odd trend perhaps, but past generations had pet rocks and slap bracelets, so maybe not. Across the web there are countless slime recipes to choose from, but the basic formula is typically something like: equal parts glue and water, plus food coloring and an “activator,” usually borax. This activator holds the slime together and gives it that all-important slimy stretchy gooey texture.
But borax is toxic if swallowed and the substitutions have similar worrying chemicals. So even though my kids are well past the putting everything in their mouths stage, I still don’t love that this stuff is getting all over their hands and the kitchen table and counters, and pretty much all over the house because my house is slowly being overrun by slime. (Isn’t that a horror movie?)
So I set out to find some all-natural slime recipes, curious if they’d actually work without a chemical activator like they claim, and enlisted my kids to test them out. All of these slimes are chemical free, (technically) edible, and safe for all ages. We used regular food dye for the sake of visuals but you can substitute natural food dyes or make your own if you really want to go all in.
Slime test #1: Cornstarch Slime from exploratorium.edu
Ingredients: cornstarch, water, food coloring
This is the easiest one by far: just mix together cornstarch and water in roughly equal parts. The result is gooey and slimy, but doesn’t really hold together like slime.
My kids insist that this makes it “Ooblek” instead, but I couldn’t get them to hammer down the finer points of what the difference is, exactly. Regardless, let your kids scoop it up and observe the not-solid but not exactly liquid cornstarch slime and explain viscosity and non-Newtonian fluids while their hands are too goopy for them to escape.
We rate cornstarch slime 2/5 points on our extremely scientific Slime Scale.
Slime test #2: Fake Snot Gelatin Slime from Little Bins For Little Hands
Ingredients: unflavored gelatin, corn syrup, water, food coloring
This one was a tad tricky to make because it requires the use of boiling water and also utilizes unflavored plain gelatin. If you’ve never worked with unflavored plain gelatin before, fair warning that it smells awful and it lingers. In fact, I had to do this one all on my own because my kids were being dramatic— I mean, they were too grossed out by the smell.
After combining the ingredients it did look really cool and slimy (and smelled a little better), but it really required hitting a sweet spot with the temperature to actually play with it: too warm and it was thin and runny, too cool and it became a jiggly solid. The gross factor is excellent with this one because it did indeed look like snot.
We rate Fake Snot Gelatin Slime 3/5 points.
Slime test #3: All Natural Chia Slime from educatall.com
Ingredients: chia seeds, water, food coloring
Chia seeds! What can’t they do? Well, in addition to being delicious and healthy and starring in Chia Pet informercials, they make a pretty great all natural slime. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!
We had the added step of grinding our seeds up because I only had whole chia seeds, but then it was just a matter of adding a little bit of water at a time until the texture was just right. This slime had a great playability factor, one of the few that we could scoop up out of the container and squish, plus the texture felt neat and it smelled nice.
Not a whole lot of stretch to it, but otherwise we ranked this one as our favorite.
We rate All Natural Chia Slime 4/5 points.
Slime test #4: Gak Fiber Powder Slime from Steve Spangler Science
Ingredients: fiber powder, water, food coloring
Fiber powder (found over near the Tums in your local drugstore) combines with hot water for a slime that is completely edible. It’s easy enough to make, but does require boiling water in a microwave, causing a very hot bowl that took forever to cool off. Ours smelled really good, because I accidentally bought orange flavor, but none of us actually felt the need to taste it.
Once it was finally cool enough to play with, we found the consistency to be really runny, but it did have a good slimy feel so we decided to try this one a second time, adding more fiber powder and less water, microwaving it for a little longer and then sticking it in the freezer. This solved the runny/hot bowl issue and made a pretty cool orangey slimy slime!
We rate Gak Fiber Powder Slim 3.5/5 points.
Slime test #5: Edible Pudding Slime from The Soccer Mom Blog
Ingredients: cornstarch, instant pudding mix, water
My kids were the most excited for this one. Chocolate pudding slime? Heck yeah!
It was fairly easy to make, but definitely messy and we found that the measurements in this recipe seemed off. I adapted it and used about half as much cornstarch and twice as much water and it was still pretty dry. Maybe it was the type of pudding mix we used? But it smelled amazing, the texture was nice and smooth, and it held together well.
The taste was more chocolate-esque than really chocolatey, which was a bit of a let down for the kids. Also, um, you may want to use white chocolate or another not-brown variety of pudding instead; the visuals of the chocolate were a tad off-putting. Unless you want poo slime, in which case, this is the one!
We rate Edible Pudding Slime 2.5/5 points.