Girl Scouts of Rhode Island, Inc. National Silly Putty Day January 3, 2008 Silly Putty was discovered in 1943 by scientist James Wright, who was working on a synthetic rubber substitute for General Electric during World War II. While the mixture of silicone oil and boric acid was a dud as a rubber substitute, the substance did have some unique properties. Wright found that it could be molded, stretched and bounced. No practical use for this "bouncing putty" was found until 1949, when a toy shop owner was handed a piece at a party. Her advertising consultant, Peter Hodgson, convinced her to include one ounce pieces of the strange substance in her Block Shop holiday toy catalog. With only a simple description, bouncing putty outsold the catalog's hundred of items except one - a 50 cent box of Crayola® crayons. Certain of its marketing potential, Hodgson, already $12,000 in debt, borrowed $147 to buy another batch. After studying 15 names he settled on one Silly Putty. He packaged the pliable plaything in red plastic eggs and debuted Silly Putty at the 1950 International Toy Fair in New York City . The rest, as they say, is history. Did You Know? Did you know that astronauts on the 1968 Apollo 8 mission took Silly Putty with them to the moon? Did you know that the Smithsonian Institution included Silly Putty in its exhibit on the 1950s? Did you know that Binney & Smith, the makers of Crayola, bought the rights to Silly Putty in 1977 (after Peter Hodgson passed away)? Did you know that you can no longer copy images onto Silly Putty from the comics because of the change in inking process? Did you know that people did finally discover numerous practical uses for Silly Putty, including as a balance for a wobbly piece of furniture, lint remover, hole stopper, and a stress reliever. You Can Make Silly Putty! Silly putty recipes are like slimy play dough. Silly putty can be called gak, goop or oblick, but whatever name you want to call it-cooking, creating and playing with it is great fun for kids. Silly Putty recipe 1 Cup Elmer's glue 2 1/2 Cup liquid starch Food coloring In a bowl, mix glue and one cup of the starch together. Stir in a few drops of food coloring, if you wish. Cover bowl, and leave it overnight. The following day slowly stir in with a spoon 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the starch until a big blob forms. Pour off extra starch. Store in an air tight container. Peanut Butter Putty recipe 1 Cup peanut butter 1 1/4 Cup dry milk 1 Cup white Karo 1 1/4 Cup powdered sugar Mix until creamy. Ooblick recipe 1 cup water 1 box of cornstarch several drops of green food coloring Mix three ingredients together in bowl. Spoon into plastic sandwich bags or jars. Label items warning that this is messy stuff, use only on easy to clean surfaces. Gak recipe 2 Cups glue ½ Cups water 2 teaspoons borax 1 Cup hot water Combine glue, water, food coloring in bowl. Dissolve borax in hot water then slowly add to glue mixture. Working quickly, as the mixture will thicken, Drain off excess water and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Its ready for playtime. Store in plastic bag. Goop recipe 2 Cups salt 1 Cup water 1 Cup cornstarch Cook salt and ½ water for 5 minutes until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in cornstarch and ½ Cup water. Stir together until thickens. Store in plastic bags. Silly Putty Tip Putty can stick to clothing, so have your child wear an apron. If it does become stuck on clothes, just soak in warm water to remove. Fun Activities to do with Silly Putty Bouncing Silly Putty - If you shape Silly Putty into a ball and bounce it off a hard, smooth surface it will bounce higher than a rubber ball. Cooling the putty improves its bounce. Try putting the putty in the freezer for an hour. How does it compare with warm putty? Silly Putty can have a rebound of 80%, meaning it can bounce back to 80% of the height from which it was dropped. How high can you bounce Silly Putty? Floating Silly Putty - The specific gravity of Silly Putty is 1.14. This means it is more dense than water and would be expected to sink. However, you can cause Silly Putty to float. Silly Putty in its plastic egg will float. Silly putty shaped like a boat will float on the surface of water. If you roll Silly Putty into tiny spheres, you can float them by dropping them into a glass of water into which you have added a little vinegar and baking soda. The reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, which will stick to the spheres of putty and cause them to float. As the gas bubbles fall off, the putty will sink. What fun shapes can you turn Silly Putty into and make it float? How Hard Is Silly Putty? - Did you know that it's virtually impossible to flatten Silly Putty by hitting it with a mallet or slamming it with your palm? Silly Putty is a dilatant compound, which means it reacts differently to hard, fast pressure than it does to slow, even pressure. When pressure is applied quickly, Silly Putty acts like a solid and holds its shape. When pressure is applied slowly, it acts more like a liquid and can be molded easily. Try this -- and as they say, "amaze your friends!" Roll a piece of Silly Putty into a ball and place it on a sturdy surface. Offer a friend a rubber mallet, a hammer or other heavy object and ask him or her to try and flatten the Silly Putty by hitting it with the object. After they stop laughing, have them try it. No matter how hard they smack the Silly Putty with the object, it won't flatten. After they've tried (unsuccessfully), press slowly on the Silly Putty ball with your pinkie -- you'll find it flattens with ease! Ink Copier - Test the ability of your Silly Putty to pick up different inks from printed materials (newsprint, several other kinds of printed materials such as magazine pages, comic book pages, typewriter print, photocopies, and computer print). Press your putty onto the paper, lift it, and then examine the surface of the Silly Putty that was in contact with the printed material. Which inks did the Silly Putty pick up? Silly Putty does not pick up all inks that you tested. The reason it picks up some inks and not others is due to differences in the inks solubility. Newsprint ink is a pigment suspended in oil which is adsorbed by the paper. Since Silly Putty picks up the ink from the newsprint, the pigment-oil suspension of the newsprint ink is readily adsorbed by Silly Putty. Running Silly Putty - Silly Putty seems solid, but in fact is the liquid form of the substance. You can shape Silly Putty into just about anything, but it will slowly flatten with gravity. If you roll Silly Putty into a ball and place it on a counter top, it will stay a ball for a while. Come back the next day, however, and you will notice your Silly Putty ball will have become more egg shaped. If you place the Silly Putty in the sun or another warm place, it will flatten more quickly. Put it someplace cold (like the refrigerator) and it holds its shape. Temperature affects how quickly it "flows" -- the warmer the temperature, the faster the flow. Try this: Take a large blob of Silly Putty -- about three eggs worth -- and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, then stick to the side of your refrigerator, a metal file cabinet or other non-porous vertical surface. During the next few days, the Silly Putty will begin "flowing" down the surface. It won't run all the way off -it eventually slows to where it seems like it's not moving at all. How far did it run? How long did it take to run? What was the temperature? Can you adjust the temperature and try again? Molding Contest – How many things can you shape and mold from one egg of silly putty? Have contest and see if your troop/group can guess what you have made? Try pressing some items into the silly putty and then see if your friends can guess what you pressed? (i.e. fortune cookie, clothes pin, golf ball, paper clip, fork tines). Replace ice sculptures by molding Silly Putty into a centerpiece. Crazy Uses - Stick it on the bottom of pet bowls , they can’t slide around the floor. Use it for flexible frisbees. Open a twist top bottle without hurting your hands. Use all the different colors and mold a dozen roses. Wrap it around a pencil and use as a grip. Silly Putty your change to the dashboard. Make impressions of children's hands and then turn them into turkeys for Thanksgiving. Practice juggling with Silly Putty. Use Silly Putty as an emergency ping pong ball. Make croquet balls out of Silly Putty to add an amusing dimension to a game. AND...it’s also something that people can play with for hours. Roll it. Mold it. Bounce it. Consciously. Semiconsciously. Something that embraces playfulness and creativity. Something with enough flexibility, enough controllability, enough tactile complexity to keep the hands busy and the mind free, all day.