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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Homemade Flubber (Day 1)

We kicked off our 4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun series by making Homemade Flubber.

In case you’re scratching your head wondering what I’m talking about, “Flubber” originated from Disney’s 1961 film The Absent-Minded Professor (I’m not sure that I’ve even seen the movie, but I’m familiar with the storyline!).

My children were totally stoked about this project. Getting to play with slimy goop? Yes, please, bring it on!

They were highly motivated to finish their chores and to-do lists for the day in order to get make Flubber (or “icky” as Silas dubbed it!) And they all loved making it.

Our first batch flopped because we didn’t completely dissolve the glue in the water. But we still got some slimy goo from it that children thought was very cool.

The second batch actually looked like it was supposed to. And everyone had a blast playing with it.

The only problem was that 3-year-old Silas got a little “into “it and started flinging it on the wall and letting it drip all down the front of him.

So my advice to you moms is: if you decide to try this recipe, do it during naptime or when your really young ones are otherwise occupied. Or, let them play with it outside in old play clothes and then let everyone have a water fight afterward to clean themselves off. 🙂

Did you do something fun and frugal as a family today? If you blogged about it, I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog post below. Or, you can just tell us what you did in the comments.

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  • I don’t see a linky so here is ours My daughter and I went yard saling today. I spent the more money than usual so it might not be so frugal (LOL) but I did get enough clothes to finish of my daughters post growth spurt wardrobe, that was almost half the $ spent.

  • We had so much fun on Sunday at our local Minor League Baseball Game! $14 for all 5 of us. My husband made a great video of our time there which I posted on my blog. Looking forward to being “intentional” with our fun this summer. Thanks for this series Crystal!

  • Tosh says:

    What fun and messy! I bet your kiddos loved it! Can’t wait to make this with my 2 kiddos! Thanks!

  • Michele says:

    I remember making flubber back when my kids were in preschool. A fun activity to do “at preschool.” 🙂

    Our frugal activity this week was blueberry picking. My kids and I went to a farm only 10 minutes from our house. We picked 4 1/2 pounds of blueberries in about 1 hour. The total cost was $9 which actually came out of my food budget! The farm even had some pet goats the kids could pet.

    When we got home we made blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. My daughter attempted blueberry slushies, but they were a bit tart. Overall, it was a fun day for very little money.

  • Looks like everyone had a great time, and your laundry pile grew. 🙂

    With hubby off on Fridays during the summer, we go on family outings. Today, we ate a big breakfast, visited a local zoo (from a previously purchased LivingSocial deal – $20), and snagged the new Oreo cookie sandwiches from Hardee’s (using a coupon, of course!). We had a great time together for a total cost of $26.82 for our family of 5.

    Looking forward to more activities from this series. Keep up the messy fun, Crystal!

  • Becky says:

    I absolutely LOVE your ideas, thank you so much for sharing them and this linky!

  • Becky says:

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  • Stacey says:

    We visited the local public library for the second time this week….stocked up on books, videos, music cds and books on cd.

    About 8 years ago my youngest came home from preschool with a portion of Flubber. I can no longer recall the exact sequence of events, but I did learn that if the house key will not insert into the lock at all, check for dried Flubber and then proceed to pick it all out with something skinny and sharp. What WAS the child thinking?!

  • Sounds like a fun project. I am sure my nieces will enjoy it. Just confirming — the ingredients are non-toxic, right?

    • Crystal says:

      Borax is toxic if eaten. You’d definitely want to supervise children while doing this — or use some of the recipe mentioned in the comments by my readers.

      • That’s the only reason I couldn’t do this project at this point – my toddler-almost-3-year-old is still in the stage of eating playdough, and I don’t want to risk him accidentally ingesting Borax :). Bookmarked for a future project, though, to be sure!

        • Crystal says:

          Yes, definitely don’t do this if your child is still in the wanting to taste everything stage! You might try the cornstarch recipe a few other people mentioned.

  • Angela S. says:

    Just linked up “My Favorite Things About My Daddy” free printable!

  • Crystal, can you see me bowing down to you over here? Can you see me???
    I love that you did this. I just could never do it. I think my blood pressure would go through the roof. Now, on the other hand, my 12 yr old daughter would LOVE to do this with her siblings. So maybe I should let her do it while I am gone somewhere? LOL!!
    I am the “let’s read a book together” kind of mom. I am getting brave and letting them cook without me lately though.

  • Sue says:

    Next time for silas make him a mix of corn starch and water. Not to much water. It melts from the heat of your hand. If it drops some where you just let it dry and sweep or vacume it up. DONT use food coloring.

  • You should try to find the movie! It is so funny (better than the Robin Williams remake – imo). My kids love that movie.

  • Ruth says:

    Love, love Kathrynne’s hair do. Could you please show us how to do that?


  • Judy says:

    We made this recently and my boys loved it! It was a great way to use up half-used bottles of glue for us.

  • Kristin says:

    Not the same thing but somewhat similar, we make oobleck in my classroom every year and the kids absolutely love it! However, we don’t use food coloring unless I have gloves to wear… I prefer to not have dyed hands for days afterwards 🙂

  • Danielle says:

    That looks like tons of fun and I loved that movie when I was a kid! I also love seeing what others are doing 🙂 We did groovin’ grapes and shaving cream painting (who hasn’t? but so fun!). I linked above. Thanks to everyone for your ideas!

  • Shelly says:

    We did a scavenger hunt with camera. The kids had fun taking picture of items on there list. We also got to watch a butterfly/moth come out of the its little cocoon today, we have been waiting all winter and I am so glad we got to see it happen.

  • Julie says:

    Everytime I look at this website that little boy is on the kitchen counter, or kitchen table. Cracks me up! I had a climber too, mine will start college in the fall. Enjoy! I always enjoy your blog 🙂

  • Nell says:

    My husband and I had a little dirt left over from when we put in our raised bed gardens this year. We decided to put the extra in the back yard. My mother in law bought our girls a handful of little sand/dirt toys. Our girls absolutely LOVE to play with the toys in the dirt! Keeps them busy, and learning for quite a while 🙂

  • connie says:

    Love that hair…oh my!! So amazing!!!

  • Mad Science says:

    Slime is a bunch of fun, but if you have kids under 5 (or those who might put their hands in their mouths) you should use Liquid Starch instead of the Borax solution. It’s safer for the kids. Also, you can use washable paint instead of food coloring.

    Another fun option is to use clear glue instead of white glue. Makes it look more like slime than putty.

    Also, you want the putty or slime to set about an hour before playing with it, then pour out any remaining liquid and it will be WAY less messy.

    Enjoy your slime!

  • Isn’t borax toxic?

    We used to make slime from liquid starch and something else. I”ll have to ask my mom.

  • Jen says:

    Such a boy!! :)) I wish I could be as brave as you and the other moms, but I could not handle the mess! I don’t know how you ladies do it, I wish I could be a more fun, carefree mom 🙂

  • We made this recently. My kids had a blast with it. Love all the cool pictures you shared!

  • Diana says:

    How was the clean up on your lovely table?

    • Crystal says:

      It wasn’t bad — but I jumped on clean-up right away after we were finished as I figured it might be bad if I let it sit at all. I was picturing sticky gunk stuck all over everything…

  • Angie says:

    I am going to add your recipe to our summer fun list. My kids would LOVE it! Thanks for all you do! 🙂

  • Chelsea says:

    Your kiddos look fascinated! Love the grossed out face your oldest is making.

  • Kelley says:

    We really enjoy playing with this!! One fun thing to do with it is to put it in a large-ish bowl, get an upside-down bendy straw, cover it in flubber, and blow to make bubbles and noises. I try to avoid getting it on clothes because I have a hard time getting it out.

  • Kimberly says:

    Have you made oobleck? It’s a combination of water and cornstarch. Not sure of the amounts but I’m sure it’s online somewhere. When you mix it right it looks solid, but when you try to pick it up, it turns to liquid.

  • marie says:

    I would love to try this but my kids would never touch it! LOL. we got out our cardboard bricks and they played angry birds using stuffed toys. they even got to use empty milkjugs that were headed to the recycle! we all had a blast. they even let their 16month old sister in on the action.
    then we made chocolate chip cookie.

  • Emma K says:

    My husband took the kids to the park while I had a bit of mom time 🙂

    Not frugal but a fun experience for us… We went to the movie theater here in Korea and watched a movie for the first time since we moved here.

    Tomorrow’s Frugal Father’s Day activity is going to be going bowling. $1/game and kids bowl free.

    • Crystal says:

      Love it! So do they have Kids Bowl Free in Korea, too?

      • Emma K says:

        No they don’t. The post where we are stationed at does a great job at planning family activities. In May they had a mother-son dance; June, Father-daughter dance; July- Mother-Daughter tea. On weekend afternoons the bowling alley onpost isn’t busy so they offer $1 bowling for adults and kids under 10 bowl free. We also have free miniature golf onpost. We are very fortunate to have so many great activities to do cheaply. One of these days I’ll start my own blog about our adventures over here.

  • We didn’t do something particularly frugal today, but this past week I used our annual pass to a new children’s discovery museum and spent over 3 hrs. there. Sometimes an annual pass can seem expensive, but for us, we can go at least 1x week, so it only works out to $1.50 per visit for our whole family.

    • Crystal says:

      We’ve asked for passes for Christmas gifts some years and that’s been so fun. I’ve also found a few really great deals for memberships to local places on Groupon! If you use memberships regularly, they can be a wonderful deal!

  • Didi says:

    Thanks for the flubber recipe! What a fun and messy activity. Love it. 🙂

  • I used to babysit all of the time 🙂 I taught the girls how to write by using puddung and a cookie sheet. Of course I made sure they were wearing play clothes and their hair was back. I would make their favorite pudding & put a layer of it on the cookie sheet. We practiced everything we could think of. If they made a mistake it was very easy to fix. We would practice each letter of the alphabet. It amazd me how quickly they learned. I believe it was due to the fact, that they thought we were just playing. They could both write before they went to kindergarten 🙂 The girls are now 13 & 15. The last time I was back home they both came up to me and gave me a big hug. I miss them. However this is 1 of the many wonderful memories I have with them 😉

  • deseray says:

    Thanks for the recipes Crystal! I made this today with my twin four year olds and 19 month old. The baby was scared of the flubber and wanted nothing to do with it. The boys loved it! It thickened quite nicely and was a solid but pliable mass. They spread it all over their matchbox cars, and said “Look at the accident, mommy”! Thankfully it washed off , too.

  • Busy Mom says:

    We decided to dedicate the day to making homemade gifts for Father’s Day! The girls had a blast! Here is what we did:

    Can’t wait to try the flubber!

  • Sakura says:

    We had a blast today going to the opening of the farmers market downtown. It’s very close to one of our outdoor malls so afterwards we walked over to look at the chalk art festival and get an ice cream cone!

  • LeAndra says:

    I love that no matter what you are doing, be it cooking or crafting, Silas is always ON the table!

  • jenny says:

    I left the blog- Tadpole Time. Thank you for posting it on your page. It is late in the season but you can still find tadpoles. My kids had a blast watching them turn into frogs (our were tree frogs)

  • I think my preschooler will really like Flubber, I’m going to plan it for next week. Thanks for sharing the recipe, love your blog!

  • Tosha says:

    I also love your daughter’s hair. What is that called or do you have instructions? So cute!

  • My boys love sensory activities !!

    We make Oobleck instead, then I don’t need to worry about anyone ingesting something that might make them sick –

  • Diane says:

    Love all the greats ideas. Thanks for hosting 🙂 Can’t wait to look them over.

  • I just posted an article I wrote last year about creating your Drive-In, (I hope that is OK since it isn’t recent.) I loved going to the drive-in as a child but I find the prices these days just way to expensive. So we created our own drive-in in our backyard and the kids love it!

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