Steve Spangler and Steve Spangler Science's lead graphic designer Emily Davis play with Oobleck! at Toy Fair
If baby boomers are your target buyer, you couldn’t ask for a product name better than Oobleck!.
“Imagine if Dr. Seuss saw this product!” enthused Steve Spangler, the popular science teacher/television personality, at the Steve Spangler Science exhibitor’s booth this week at the Toy Fair trade show at New York’s Javits Center.
He was in fact demonstrating the company’s mysterious Oobleck! product to a curious baby boomer. Oobleck, of course, is the sticky green substance that rains down on the Kingdom of Didd in Dr. Seuss’s 1949 children’s book classic Bartholomew and the Oobleck.
Steve Spangler Science’s Oobleck!, Spangler explained, is “a non-Newtonian fluid that behaves differently than a kid normally sees.”
As one might guess, a non-Newtonian fluid is one that doesn’t follow Newton’s law of viscosity, i.e., constant viscosity independent of stress. The behavior of Oobleck!—which is a suspension of starch in water—is likened to quicksand: Simply adding water to the colored powders in the Oobleck! bag creates a goo that can be both liquid and solid.
“The whole idea is to give kids matter that acts like solid and liquid at the same time,” said Spangler, rolling a hunk of solid Oobleck! in his hands while it quickly turned into a liquid and slipped through his fingers. “You can’t roll water over!”
Being one himself, Spangler noted that “every teacher in the world calls slime or any gooey substance ‘oobleck’ as a generic term. I do professional development for teachers with my brand—teaching them how to present information in the classroom. Oobleck! actually allows teachers to connect science with children’s literacy—thanks to Dr. Seuss.”
Also at Toy Fair, Steve Spangler Science showed its Super Slime, Geyser Tube and Insta-Snow (a powder that turns ordinary water into a white snow-like fluffy substance in seconds) product.
“We have over 50 items that engage kids and gets them to think—created by a teacher and finding a mass market,” said Spangler. “But ultimately, we create STEM toys to help kids eventually get jobs—which is what everyone is looking for today.”
But Spangler took issue over STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) being “stamped on everything at Toy Fair.”
“STEM really stands for four Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Creativity,” he said. “Like the president of the Toy Industry Association said here yesterday, ‘Just because you can make a ball bounce doesn’t mean you’re selling STEM product.’”