Polymer Play: Making Plastic


I got the idea of making plastic from one of the Leonardo Da Vinci books.  He was said to have been the inventor of plastic and whilst this is obviously not like the plastic we know and love now, I thought it would be a fun activity for my littles to do.  I am grateful that the success of a science class doesn’t depend upon the result of said science.  In my eyes this was a failure.  The children however, loved it.  A5 in particular spent hours adding to her plastic to make some sort of revolting substance which made me want to heave.  She had great fun though, and this is the point of science for the little ones.

To make ‘plastic’ you need milk, vinegar, a source of heat and you’re away:


You will need to heat up the milk, I guess I used 1/2 pint but you can use more or less.  Don’t let it boil:


Once very warm, but not boiling add vinegar.  We dyed ours with red food dye but to be honest the colour didn’t take too well and was a bit surplus to requirement:


The vinegar will have an affect immediately:


We had a lettuce spinner colander which we used to strain the mixture but a muslin would have worked better I think as some of the curds fell through the holes:


Again a muslin cloth would have been useful to be able to squeeze out the excess fluid.  We used our hands and squeezed as much as we could out of curds.  The children then played with it, rolling it, forming it and when they got fed up with it falling apart, they tried to improve its texture by adding all manner of food stuffs from the pantry:

Ribbet collagepp1Ribbet collagepp2Ribbet collagepp3

Were we successful plastic makers?  No.  Did we have lots of fun making lots of mess?  You bet!

Science Sunday   Tot School