Here in the great state of Texas, it’s freaking hot in the dead of summer. When it’s 106 degrees outside with the sun beating down, the playground can give a kid 1st or 2nd degree burns, and there are only so many times you can go to the swimming pool in one week. We usually play outside right before dark when it’s only 95 degrees, and the sun is setting. With indoor playgrounds such as McDonalds or Chik Fil A, it seems as if I’m just rolling the dice on which kid will come down with a case of the sickies.
With all that kind of fun, we like to stay home and do “rainy day” activities during super hot days. One of my kids’ favorite, favorite, favorite activities is playing with homemade Gak. There is not much that will keep their attention for more than hour (other than video games), but this stuff can entertain them for an entire afternoon. And, everybody loves it. I’ve found this to be true for teenagers, tweens, and toddlers.
Many years ago, I had a friend on a mom message board who posted recipes for homemade gak and slime, and a bunch of other fun things. Over the years, I’ve tried them all, but Gak is still our all time fave.
I pull out the cookie cutters, the rolling pin, cups, little toys. They will just sit there and play all day. I must admit that I will, too. It’s such a fun weird texture to roll through your hands — you can’t help but play with it.
The kids can even make it themselves. With a little supervision, this is so easy for even a 3 year old to mix up.
It’s also super cheap to make, especially during Back to School sales. The ingredients are water, borax, and school glue (plus food coloring if you want colors). When glue is only 50 cents a bottle, I stock up for Gak-making time.
Make Your Own Gak
2-3 bottles of white school glue
About 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp borax
Plastic bowl (I save old cottage cheese and ricotta cheese containers just for this purpose)
Food coloring drops
1. Pour the entire contents of 2-3 bottles of school glue into a plastic bowl.
2. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of warm water. I usually just fill the glue bottles up with warm water, screw the lids back on, shake them really good, and pour them into the bowl. This will get any extra glue in the bottles out, too.
3. Add food coloring. To color your Gak, use the food coloring drops (not the gels) from the grocery store. I use about 20-30 drops of one color to get a good color. My favorite are the Betty Crocker neon food coloring 4 pack makes really brightly colored Gak. Stir thoroughly. (The red orange and purple Gaks in the pictures were made with the neon colors.)
4. Add 1 tsp of borax and stir until it gets stringy – like hot pizza cheese. It gets REALLY stringy.
5. At this point, when it’s stringy, lift it up with your hands and begin kneading and squishing it in your hands to get the water out and to really bring out the color in the Gak.
6. As you squish it for a few minutes, it will no longer feel wet after a while. It will feel a little like silly putty, but a little lighter. This is when it’s ready for the kids to play.
7. Store in a closed plastic container or ziplock bag.