Sparking creativity with slime

Photos by Michelle Allen

Most kids love to make things with their hands and are usually not afraid to get a little messy. My son Anikin is one of those kids. So I knew he would like All Fired Up Tahoe in downtown Tahoe City, an art studio with a variety of do-it-yourself craft projects.

After school one day, I took Anikin and his friend, James Steele, to All Fired Up Tahoe. They can barely contain their excitement when they find out where we are going. Anikin tells James about the red, green and glittery candle he once made there. They chat feverishly about what project they want to do as we enter the studio. Owner Kathie Zepp greets us and explains the options.

Projects include paint-your-own pottery or canvas and make-your-own mosaics, candles or garden art. … But then Zepp says, “And there is also slime.” Anikin responds wide-eyed, “Did she just say slime?”

Projects include paint-your-own pottery or canvas and make-your-own mosaics, candles or garden art. The boys look around the room at finished art pieces and the various project stations. But then Zepp says, “And there is also slime.” Anikin responds wide-eyed, “Did she just say slime?” Yes, yes, she did.

Not surprisingly, the boys choose the slime project. Zepp sets them up with a tray with all the necessary supplies. She instructs them to mix glue and water, stirring the mixture with a small wooden stick. They add their choice of food coloring and continue to stir. Eventually the mixture starts to thicken and change texture.

Next, they add baking soda to the mixture and stir until it becomes too tick to stir. Zepp tells them to pick it up in their hands and to keep kneading it and stretching it out with their hands. As they manipulate the gooey substance, it starts to bond.

At first the mixture is sticky and clings to their hands. Zepp encourages them to keep stretching it and eventually the stickiness subsides, and the slime starts to stick to itself instead of their hands. Finally, the mixture forms a big blob of slime. Zepp suggests they add a little whipped cream to their slime to give it a fluffy texture. Zepp helps them and the boys are pleased when the texture becomes smoother and softer.

But they aren’t done yet. Now it’s time to add to items to the slime like glitter, plastic gems, tiny cotton balls, toy bones or scented oil. The boys pick a few items and mix their treasures into the slime until everything binds together; everything except a few things that fall to the floor because they are trying to add too many things to the slime. They marvel at each other’s masterpieces as we clean up. As we leave, I promise them we can come back and do another project soon.

All Fired Up Tahoe provides a welcoming environment for sparking imagination and ingenuity, with projects that help stimulate creativity, critical thinking and self-expression.

All Fired Up Tahoe is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is also available for parties. They also have a location at the Legends in Sparks, Nev. | allfireduptahoe.com