HB and I got ourselves invited to the birthday party of the almost-three-year-old that HB nannies. We wanted to give him a gift that would be handmade and a hands-on sensory experience. So we decided to make gak!
After scouring online recipes and waffling about borax versus Metamucil as one of the key ingredients (borax may be harmful if swallowed), we decided to just go with borax since we had it on hand for making homemade laundry detergent, whereas we would have had to buy a big container of Metamucil just to get less than a tablespoon of the stuff for the recipe. We figured we'd put a warning label on the jar of gak to alert the parents about borax being potentially toxic. Both the three-year-old and his one-year-old sister don't put much
non-food stuff in their mouths anymore, so we figured the borax gak
would be safe enough. Gak is a good supervision-required activity anyway, since it's notoriously difficult to dig out of carpet fibers.
We used one of the many recipes online for flubber (one of the many aliases of gak). HB had an excellent time mucking about mixing the gak ingredients while I made the jar label, and she speculated that making the gak would actually be an awesome activity to do with kids, as long as they're old enough to keep their hands out of their mouths. The part that took the longest by far was kneading food coloring drops into each chunk of gak before we dropped each into the jar. (We figured the kids would mix all the colors together sooner or later anyway, so we didn't bother to divide the colors into different jars.)
To finish off the gift, we included a Gak Explorer Kit made from objects we scrounged up around the house: chopsticks, straws, and plastic knives slipped into a never-worn lone toe sock.
Maybe you will decide to do this for a preschooler in your life too! And if you're as mature as us, you'll save a chunk of the gak for yourself so that you can plunge it in and out of a salvaged salsa container to simulate flatulence sounds. You will spend a solid half hour doing this and giggling madly after the kid you're babysitting that night has fallen asleep.