Dancing Oobleck

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Science Experiments

My kids love trying new Science Experiments, and play recipes.  Today we decided to combine the 2 and try to make our Oobleck dance using sound waves.  If you have never made it before, Oobleck is a mixture of cornstarch and water.  When played with fast it acts like a solid…when allowed to relax it acts like a liquid.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids.

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When we saw a few youtube videos that involved Dancing Oobleck, we decided we needed to take our gooey play to the next level.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

Dancing Oobleck Recipe

You will need to make your Oobleck thicker than usual.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

Materials Needed:

Once your recipe is ready let the kids play for a bit while you set up the next step.

  • Subwoofer
  • a thin metal cookie sheet
  • a MP3 of an audio test tone ~ you will have to play a bit to see what works best with your equipment.
  • Food Coloring

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids


  1. Place the cookie sheet onto the speaker of the sub, and pour in the Oobleck.
  2. You can download different test tones and play to see what works best for you.  We used 40 Hz, 50 Hz, and 63 Hz, and found that we needed to turn the volume way up.  We tried a number of different frequencies but these three seemed to work the best.  We did a search for subwoofer test MP3.  There are a number of different sites that you can use.
  3. Before you play the MP3 you will need to place your fingers on the edge of the cookie sheet with gentle pressure.  It took a bit of playing to see what worked the best, but the results were amazing.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

We decided to add food coloring to see what would happen.  I love how the colors dance together and you can see all the layers of each color.  This was the kids favorite part!

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids


How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

Subwoofer Test:

Here are a couple options for subwoofer tests although if you do a search for subwoofer test MP3 or MP3 of an audio test tone.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

Tips and Tricks:

  • A thicker consistency of Oobleck works best.  Although with that said you don’t want it too thick.  We used a ratio of 2:1 (cornstarch to water).
  • If your oobleck is not dancing, you may need to change the volume on your subwoofer.  You can also try digging your finger in Oobleck to start the movement.  In the video the kids do it a few times just to get everything started.
  • Keep experimenting until you get it to work.  Honestly we played around for a bit until it worked for us.  Everyone will be working with different equipment so what worked for us might be a little different for you.

How to make Oobleck Dance ~ Sound Science Experiments for Kids

After we were all done I let the kids play with the colored Oobleck.  They loved it, but a word of caution if stained colored fingers are not your thing.  We giggled at the kids as they tried to wash the color off.  I’m sure they will be sporting grey blue hands for a few days.

For more great experiments, check out our:

Walking on Eggs

Ivory Soap Experiment 

Packing Peanut Experiments

Exploding Peep Geysers

Shooting Water Experiment

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134 thoughts on “Dancing Oobleck

    • When i was a kid we made this and read Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Also if you want to go the science route while you tutor this is technically a non-Newtonian fluid because of the properties of being a solid and a liquid.

  1. Loving this idea and this whole site!! Well done!! Thank you for sharing such fun ideas, they even inspire this non-creative, tired out mom to attempt a few. :) So fun to have you over to our hosue today. It’s been fun to get to know your family a bit. Kaleb is a sweet friend to Evan!

  2. I love Oobleck! Used to make it when I taught kindergarten. I really love all the different colors you used in it. Visiting from Fireflies and Jellybeans.

  3. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your website from the “Meet the Dubiens” blog. I love the ideas you have on your site. I am not able to pull up projects from your archives. Do you have to be a member to view these?

    • I am sorry that you are having trouble viewing my site. There is no membership, so you should be able to view everything. I will check into it, but let me know if you are still experiencing problems. Thanks for stopping by.

      • I am trying to do the dancing obelisk for a school experiment but I cannot figure out how in the world to hook up the subwoofer to an ipod or iPad……….. PLEASE HELP!!!!!

  4. That is SO awesome! I love all the designs and the mixtures of colors. And the coolest part is knowing that the designs were made by sound. That is just so cool! Great post! Stopped by from FJI.

  5. Thanks so much for linking up with For the Kids Fridays at Sun Scholars. I can’t wait to see what you have to share this week! I’ll be posting the next party later tonight. Hope to have you stop by!

    :)rachel @ SunScholars.blogspot.com

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  7. Awesome!!! I don’t have a subwoofer though and really want to try this out. Do you have any ideas for another way to make it work or how to get a cheap subwoofer?

  8. you said you need a subwoofer… what size and what did you hook it up to? I don’t know anything about subwoofer other then my brother has one I’m sure he’ll let me borrow but I need to know what else I’ll need to make it work. Thanks!

  9. Love Oobleck and am so going to try this.
    Btw, a tip I found out by mistake when using food coloring. To get the dye off your hands, simply use laundry detergent. Idk if it works for all types/brands, but I use Tide in powder form and it works like the charm. The granules help with the scrubbing and there is no dye left anywhere on your hands after you rinse them off :)

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  11. I love oobleck! Never heard of making it dance. Awesome and must try soon. Your kids are precious, too! Thanks for the idea and video!

  12. The goo that you make that’s solid to liquid it teaches the Law of the scientific name “Plasticity”. The goo itself is called also plasticity. Then the teaching of soundwaves makes it a even more fun hands on science lesson. I love the food color added makes it more interesting to the eyes.

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  14. So funny… when I was little this was a dessert my dad made for us, cornstarch, water, food coloring and sugar – served hot! My grandfather from El Salvador made it for him when he was little.

    • We could not get it to work when we were playing music, but once we started playing audio test tunes it worked. Try goggling a sub woofer test MP3. We had to play with the frequency a bit, but it was worth it. Hope with helps. Good luck.

  15. Its a cool idea really fun and everything, but your kids will be hard of hearing by the time they are 30. You should not have your head in a subwoofer like that for fun. Trust me, when he was in high school my husband used to play music in his truck and had a subwoofer right behind his seats. He’s now 32 and is already complaining about his hearing.

    • Thanks for your concern. I would be worried too if the kids were playing with the oobleck and sub woofer for hours on end like i’m sure your husband played his music. We enjoy learning new things and experimenting. This was a fun experiment that we enjoyed playing with, but not something that we do on a regular basis. Thanks again for your concern.

  16. Could you please provide an actual link to the test tone you downloaded. I cant seem to find the plain test tone, just music. We have a pretty weak subwoofer, so the continuous tone would probably work. Thanks!

  17. What kind of subwoofer do you use? i’m confused at what kind, and then what kind of cord you need to connect the mp3 to the subwoofer! Help!!

  18. Where was this great stuff when I was growing up???
    I especially love the colors jumping around & mixing together.
    What a wonderful idea & who cares if the color stains your fingers for a few days! Skin So Soft will probably take off the color for the squemish ones! LoL

  19. I am a day care teacher and and my chilldren love to make playdough and Dancing Oobleck and messes.This looks like it woud be a fun way that the chiildren could experiment with the Oobleck and see all the things it can do and make a mess at the same time.

  20. Pingback: Creepy Dancing Oobleck « Happy 9th Birthday Amber

  21. Well, I am just new to your blog site and just spent about an hour lurking and reading. I think I will frequent your site from now on after going through some of your posts. I will definitely learn a lot from them. Thanks one more time. Regards, Steve.

  22. question….we are trying to do this and haven’t had any luck!! :( can you give any suggestions we can try? Have done the 2:1 ratio, changed cookie sheets, used downloaded sounds and ones from a frequency controller (borrowed from a science teacher), blown 2 speakers…made it thicker and thinner in both consistency and amount over the speaker!

    Any ideas would be great! Thanks…

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  25. A couple of my fellow teachers and I we to the FSU Promise Science Training a couple of years ago and learned about oobleck. We made it with our students and they absolutely loved it. I have to try this dancing oobleck. That is so awesome.

  26. A couple of my fellow teachers and I we to the FSU Promise Science Training a couple of years ago and learned about oobleck. We made it with our students and they absolutely loved it. I have to try this dancing oobleck. That is so awe

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  28. My boys loved the video and begged to try it, so we did tonight. We couldn’t get it to dance either. It seems everyone who has tried it hasn’t had luck, so I wonder what was different that you did. Is there anything you did that you didn’t include in the blog post?

  29. So cool! We made this in school when I was a kid and i had forgotten about it until now. I bet my 5 and 2 year olds would loooove to do this. Oh, and about the stained hands….wash them with powdered dishwasher soap and the dye comes right off….a lifesaver for Easter pictures after coloring eggs too!

  30. Oatmeal Play Dough

    1 part flour
    2 parts oatmeal
    1 part water

    Mix ingredients together and form into shapes.

    Note: The items made from this play dough recipe can be painted when they are dry.

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  32. P.S. If the kids are watching the video, too, you might want to shut it off when Leonard turns the speaker off and the Oobleck stops. It’s not appropriate from there on out for small kiddos.

  33. As a side note, if your kids coat their hands with shortening, the color won’t stick to their hands. This is a fantastic idea, I’ll definitely have to try it!!

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  36. I thought I’d share this, since I’ve noticed looking around your site that you’ve used food coloring quite a bit… There’s a product called Liquid Watercolor sold by Discount School Supply (you can look them up on the web) that is non-toxic, and washable. I’ve switched to using it in place of food coloring in all my non-food projects It’s great stuff, thought I’d share. Wonderful ideas you’ve got. :)

  37. Tammy,
    My daughter picked this for her science project due this month. I have a sub-woofer but it doesn’t have an amp or power and it only has a speaker wire connected which won’t connect to an mp3.

    I need to know the kind of sub-woofer you use and what kind of cord it has to connect the mp3?
    Please help.

    Thank you

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  39. This looked like a really great experiment for our homeschool chemistry class. My husband found a test tone and placed the cookie sheet on top of the speaker – no luck at all. Disappointing.

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  42. Pingback: Make Dancing Ooblek : Teach.Learn.Imagine.

  43. we tried this today and the oobleck was awesome but we couldn’t get it to dance either. we have a long spring break though so would love to try again. could you put up a link for the test tones? pretty please?

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  45. Oh dear Lord, lol! My texture-picky little one might get alittle freaked out by the “dancing” lol, but we definatly might try it just to play with. ;) Thanks for the idea! :)

  46. Saw this on pintrest. Couldn’t wait to try it out. Doing it for my science experiment this year with my first graders. I might have a good chance of winning with this one! Just did a trial run of it at home. My kids, 16 & 6 loved it!

  47. I am 63 years old, we would sneak the cornstarch and do this when I was a child (not the dancing!) I still love the feel of it going from solid to liquid in my hand, and the dancing, especialy with the colors is fascinating!

  48. I tried several batches, several test audios, several sheets and with no avail was unable to get it to dance. Note to parents, I wouldn’t promise the “Dancing part.” Not a long cause as my 3.5 year old was entertained for 90 minutes! ;o) Next time I might pop him in the shower stall or do outside though. ;o)

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  50. I would love to know how you connected an mp3 to your subwoofer. Im trying to do this with a group of kids for a science camp in a few weeks and I can’t figure out how to hook it up. THANKS!

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  53. My grandkids are moving clear across the world. (We live in Brazil right now and they are moving to Japan in 6 weeks. This website is going to make it a fun, fun, fun 6 weeks! Thank you

  54. My daughter and her friend have decided to do this as their science fair project and were super excited. That is until we couldn’t get it to work either. We’ve tried numerous sound tests but can’t seem to find one longer than 20 seconds which obviously isn’t long enough. I’ve tried playing them repeatedly as well and that does not work as there is a pause between them and the ooblek just falls as soon as it starts to come up. Could someone please advise as to where to find longer test tones or give any other helpful advice? It would be greatly appreciated, their science fair is next week. Thank you in advance!

  55. I am a preschool music teacher, and trying to explain sound waves is HARD. I have used rice on top of a big, round, drum (about 8 inches off the ground and 3 ft in diameter). Do you think I could use the Oobleck on the drum (with plastic or something else down)?

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