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We've tried dozens of slime recipes—and this is our favorite

This Borax-free slime is the easiest recipe around

Little boy looking on in awe as he mixes slime made from Elmer's Glue and contact solution. Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

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It’s going to be a looooong winter. If you’ve run out of ways to keep your kids engaged while stuck at home, may we suggest a tried-and-true trend that's simple to pull off and is always knock-it-out-of-the-park fun: slime. There’s a reason why slime has been a go-to kids' craft for a while now: it’s fun, it’s creative, it gives terrific sensory input, it's a little bit ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), and it can be made with stuff you probably have around the house anyway.

There are hundreds of different slime recipes on the internet, and I think our family has tried them all. Some use Borax, which we found too harsh. Others use everything from shampoo to yogurt, which were—honestly—a bit of a disaster.

Experimenting with slime concoctions is part of the fun, but if you’re looking for a tried-and-true recipe, this one, which we've modified slightly from the kids' book My Pet Slime, calls for just three ingredients and makes consistent, stretchy slime that holds up to plenty of play and adapts well to mix-ins. Read on for how to make our favorite recipe, as well as some of our favorite add-ins and alterations to keep this quiet-time activity engaging right through to the spring thaw.

Tools

Little boy joyfully mixing slime in a bowl. He's wearing a blue shirt and laughing.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

It's so exciting for kids when they see the chemical reaction that turns their glue into slime!

You don’t need an arsenal of tools to make slime, but here are our favorites for mixing, storing, and getting ideas.

Silicone spatulas

Honestly, a good, old-fashioned wooden spoon will do the trick but, once they've been submerged in glue, they always take a bit of scrubbing to get clean. We like these fully coated silicone spatulas by HiramWare that can either be washed down in a couple of swipes with some hot, soapy water, or tossed in the dishwasher.

Bowls

Glass bowls are great, but the draw of Borax-free slime-making is that kids can be pretty independent when mixing it. For younger kids we like a simple set of plastic bowls, like these by Cook With Color. This set is non-porous and sturdy enough to stand up to overly-vigorous mixing by excitable children.

A dishwasher-safe board for kneading

This cutting board creates a non-porous surface that is perfect for kneading and playing with any and all slime creations—and it cleans up easily.

Storage containers

Slime isn’t meant to last forever, but with these air-tight storage containers it’ll at least last for a few days of repeat play.

A book of inspiration

If your kid already has a Ph.D. in Slimology this book will make slime-making exciting again. Ultimate Slime Extreme Edition is under $4 and is filled with ideas and inspiration that really do take slime to the extreme and will help you up your slime game.

Ingredients

Arm & Hammer, Elmer's Glue, glitter, food coloring, and lens solution lined up.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

The best thing about slime is it's a quick activity that can be made with stuff you probably already have at home.

Glue

White glue, clear glue, glitter glue—it all works and is pretty interchangeable in terms of glue-to-activator ratios. We like Elmer's Clear School Glue for its versatility. You can buy it in extra-large sizes and it’s super-adaptable to color, glitter, and any sort of add-ins and—if you want to make it opaque—you can just add shaving cream to make it cloudy and add a some fluffy texture. Whatever kind of glue you gravitate towards, just be sure it's labeled "school glue" otherwise it might be too heavy-duty for slime.

Baking soda

Any baking soda will do, but Arm & Hammer is tried and true and comes in extra large bags.

Contact lens solution

Read the label! The lens solution you buy will need to contain boric acid and sodium borate in order to effectively activate and set your slime. ReNu by Bausch & Lomb is often cited as a highly dependable brand for slime-making, but we've had great success with this generic brand from Target.

Shaving cream

Shaving cream is optional but is great for making a fluffy slime. Just start your slime recipe with three cups of shaving cream and its texture will be transformed. Make sure the shaving cream you buy is foamy, like this one by Smartly. Gel shaving creams won't mix as well.

Add-ins

Young boy in blue shirt smiling holding slime with eyeballs mixed in.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

Add-ins are what really make slime-making fun.

The sky really is the limit to what you can add to your slime. We encourage experimentation, but here are some of our favorite add-ins.

Coloring

A lot of people like to add acrylic paint to their slime and it does add a really nice, rich color. Acrylic paint is best when used with white school glue but it will make clear glue cloudy. We like using basic food coloring for versatility.

Styrofoam beads

These are fun to use for turning your slime into "floam," for a fun sensory experience. We like to experiment with adding beads and balls of varying sizes and colors.

Glitter

Some prefer to buy glitter glue to mitigate the near-certain mess glitter makes, but we are a family that likes to flirt with disaster. Plus, using real glitter allows your child to experiment and customize the amount of sparkle they want. According to our 6-year-old expert, glitter glue is never "glittery enough." There's no argument that glitter is messy, but so is slime, so we tend go into this craft allowing for optimum fun—even if it does mean I have to pull out the vacuum for cleanup.

Eyeballs

Okay, it doesn't have to be eyeballs specifically, but any sort of toys or crafting supplies makes for a fun and silly experience. That being said, eyeballs are pretty fantastic in slime and highly recommended.

Recipe

Little boy in blue shirt happily pulling gold and glitter slime.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

Adding a couple tablespoons of water to your slime will make it stretchier.

Simplest 3-Ingredient Slime Recipe

Adapted from My Pet Slime by Courtney Sheinmel

Pour the glue into a bowl, then add the food coloring of your choice and give it a cursory stir. If your child wants to keep mixing, over-stirring isn't a problem, but it's not necessary to mix things in too thoroughly at this point.

Add the baking soda and mix it in until it's completely dissolved. If you want your slime to be extra stretchy, add a few tablespoons of water at this time.

Next add any glitter or add-ins you want and add the contact lens solution in small increments until the glue starts to separate from the sides of the bowl. The more solution you add, the firmer your slime will become, so be sure to take your time adding.

Knead, knead, knead! You may be surprised at how much kneading is required to fully mix the slime and get it feeling slimy but not sticky.

Nebula slime!

Little boy looking at slime stretching.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

Mix two different types of slime to make for an exciting experience that we call Nebula Slime!

This is our son's very own creation. Make the slime from the recipe above—ideally in a darker color like purple or blue—add copious amounts of glitter, and set aside. Then make fluffy slime from this recipe by Tinkerlab. When both slimes are made, twist and knead the two together for a really cool effect that resembles a deep-space nebula!

Tips

Young boy adding blue food coloring in blue bowl to slime.
Credit: Reviewed / Janelle Randazza

Food coloring is a good choice for making slime with clear glue.

We've tried more slime recipes than I care to count. Here are some things we've learned along the way.

Be patient

Don’t be too hasty and add all of the contact solution at once. We like a slightly stickier and stretchy slime, so we only add 1 tablespoon. If you like your slime to have more snap, you can add up to 2 tablespoons, but take your time and do it in increments. The slime will come together; just give it a minute for the chemistry to work its magic. If you add too much activator too soon your slime will become rubbery and break when you pull it, instead of being malleable and stretchy.

Follow the order

Follow the order of ingredients to a "T." This is a chemical reaction, so going out of order will yield less-than-desirable results.

Have fun!

Slime is so much fun to experiment with and, as long as it doesn't get on a porous surface, it's easy to clean up—either with hot water and a sponge, or with more slime. This is definitely a kitchen activity, but it's a fun way for kids to learn that science can be creative.

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