What to Look for in Slime Kits

If it isn’t slimy, is it even science?

Family having fun playing with slime made with slime kit.
Slime can be fun for the whole family!Getty Images

When it comes to chemistry, slime is special. It isn’t a solid or a liquid (or a gas, obviously). It’s actually a non-Newtonian fluid—meaning the way its molecules pack together or flow over each other changes when you handle it. That’s why you can form slime into a solid-looking shape, but then it oozes into a liquid-like puddle when you let it rest.

Original Stationery Unicorn Slime Kit Supplies Stuff for Girls Making Slime [Everything in One Box] Kids Can Make Unicorn, Glitter, Fluffy Cloud, Floam Putty, Pink
Mix up colors and textures with this product, with included glue, borax activator and accessories such as beads.Original Stationery

The main ingredient included in a slime kit is school glue—or polyvinyl acetate glue, if you’re fancy. This is a liquid polymer, so it’s a long chain of repeating molecules that slide over each other super easily. This is why you can’t roll a puddle of school glue into a ball or pick it up in your hand.

DIY Slime Kit for Girls Boys - Ultimate Glow in the Dark Glitter Slime Making Kit Arts Crafts - Slime Kits Supplies include Big Foam Beads Balls, 18 Mystery Box Containers filled Crystal Powder Slime
This non-toxic and eco-friendly option includes tons of tools and extras, including one and a half dozen colors, 12 plastic add-ins and shiny art supplies.Zen Laboratory

Glue’s liquid nature changes when you add the activator found in your slime kit. These chemicals contain charged molecules (ions) that react with the molecules in the glue, forming new chemical bonds that crosslink the polymer chains. Now, those glue molecules are a bit more tied up and can’t flow around each other quite so easily. Since some activators contain borax, which can cause eye or stomach discomfort, look for kits labeled non-toxic, if you’re working with small children.

Elmer’S Celebration Slime Kit | Slime Supplies Include Assorted Magical Liquid Slime Activators and Assorted Liquid Glues, 10 Count & Collection Slime Kit, 6 Count
Make a variety of options with this pack, including glow-in-the-dark, color changing, metallic and glitter. Comes with textures that can be added in.Elmer's

That’s all fine and good—yay, chemistry!—but the other components of your slime kit are arguably just as important. The included dyes (or already-dyed glues) and texture-enhancing bits—like beads, glitter and foam—make it easy to mix up a variety of slimes. Some kits include premade slime so you can focus on the art while leaving the chemicals to the experts.

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