Play with it, drink out of it, use it to wash dishes or even shave. Foam is a material we see every day in many forms. The concept of foam is so complex that NASA has studied it in space, but to the ordinary person it's as simple as gas bubbles forming and separating before our eyes.
Stir the Borax and 1/3 cup of water together in a bowl until the Borax is dissolved. Add small amounts of Borax to the mixture to make it thicker or use up to 1/3 cup of additional water to make it thinner.
Use white glue, craft glue or any glue that contains polyvinyl alcohol to hold the shape of the final product. Pour the glue and 1/3 cup of water into a separate bowl and mix well. Split this mixture in half before you add the coloring. You should end up with two different colors. Stir in the food coloring one drop at a time until the desired color is reached. An alternative to food coloring is 2 packets of unsweetened instant drink powder, such as Kool Aid. The powder mix must first be dissolved in water and then the glue is added to the color mixture.
Open the two plastic bags and place half of the polystyrene beads in each bag. Use one bag for each color. Pour half the Borax mixture in each bag. Next add half the colored glue mix to each bag. Add more beads or water if the final product is not the desired consistency.
Seal the bags, making sure the air has been removed. Knead the mixture in each bag until it is blended. Check the mixture in the bag after it has rested for 20 minutes and knead it again if necessary.
Refrigerate the bags that hold your homemade foamy science mixture. This will keep the foam soft and fresh. Sculpt or mold the foam into a shape and allow it to dry. The sculpture may be squashed and the foam put back into the bag to be used again.
Fun Foamy Science Experiments
Put 1 tsp. of dish liquid detergent in a large mixing bowl that contains one cup of water. Use a hand beater or electric mixer and beat the mixture until lots of foam forms. Place the soapy foam on a hard surface and have fun making foamy forms or mounds.
Create erupting foam by mixing hydrogen peroxide (30%), a squirt of liquid soap, a few drops of food coloring and sodium iodide solution. The result is an eruption of oxygen filled foam that looks like giant toothpaste. This is a scientific experiment that must take place in a chemistry laboratory with the assistance of a teacher. Certain chemicals are not available to the general public and safety equipment and precautions must be used.
Mix a package of dry yeast, 1/4 cup of warm water and 1/2 tsp. of sugar in a small mixing bowl. Watch the mixture foam.
Play with multiple kitchen materials to make foam. Some suggestions include whipping heavy cream, beating egg whites and mixing baking soda with vinegar.
Borax is found in the laundry product section of your grocery store. Polystyrene beads are sold as fillers for bean bags, dolls, stuffed animals, milk bottles and may be called micro beads. Another option is to use a grater to break up Styrofoam cups into beads. Experiment with the amounts in the recipe until you find the right consistency for your craft project.
Read the caution label on the Borax container for proper handling or visit the Green Living Tips website for advice on proper handling. Do not eat the foam mixture even if you added Kool Aid. Do not eat any of the materials or the foamy substances. Do not make the erupting foam without the supervision of a trained adult.