If the Slimefest has your kids up in arms for some of the messy goo or has already left you with the clean-up, we’ve enlisted help. Durban author of Sticky Fingers, Ayesha Parak-Makada, has come up with slimeology 101.

The mother of two is fearless. She owns and runs a toddler playgroup, Mums & Cubs, that specialises in messy play and honing fine and gross motor skills.

Her book Sticky Fingers is a sensory play recipe book. It has recipes for all sorts of wonderfully stimulating things that can easily be prepared at home for children to play with. Unless otherwise stated, all of the recipes are taste safe. This makes them perfect for toddlers as well as older kids.

Here is Parak-Makada’s slime 101 to bring you up to speed on the slime craze:

While slime might feel like a new phenomenon, it has actually been around for decades. With its “ooey gooey” texture, slime is great fun for adults and children alike.

Why is slime good for your child?

Slime is a very tempting substance; you can’t help but squash and stretch it. All of this squashing and squishing is really good for fine motor skill development and improving dexterity. For me slime is one of my favourite things to include in sensory play.

What is sensory play?

Sensory play can be defined as any activity that aims to stimulate any one of a child’s five senses.

From birth, children learn about the world around them using their five senses. Sensory play encourages learning in a practical way that stimulates a child’s senses.

Why is sensory play important?

By stimulating a child’s senses we are sending signals to the child’s brain. In doing so we are helping to strengthen important neural pathways that are integral for learning and development. This also helps prime the brain for learning other skills.

How can I contain the mess?

While I think I encourage messy play more than the average person, I have a secret: I hate cleaning up! This sheer laziness has driven me to finding novel and resourceful ways to contain mess. When using slime, I like to use a kiddies’ plastic table that I set up in my kitchen.

I cover it with a plastic table cover, or I just set out wipeable plastic place mats. Why the kitchen you must be wondering? I’ve learnt from experience that messy play and soft furnishings don’t really work well together.

Slime on the go

Slime is so entertaining; it’s often a lovely thing to take with you to keep a child occupied. My mess-free solution is to package it in a sealable plastic bag. That way you get all of the fun, with none of the mess!

Help! I have slime on my clothes!

* Step one, take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay.

* Remove any excess slime from the clothing.

* Saturate the affected area with vinegar.

* Allow the clothing to soak for a few minutes.

* Rinse the affected area with warm water.

* Pour yourself a cup of tea, you survived!

How to make slime different

If you’ve been playing with slime for a while, it might be time to change things up a bit. There are so many little bits and pieces that can be added in to make your slime experience magical. My favourites are glitter, sequins, beads and gold leaf.

This is a completely new recipe that I have been working on. Please note, this recipe is not really taste safe, it is completely non-toxic.

Fluffy ‘Unicorn Poo’ Slime

Ingredients:

¾ cup cornstarch

¼ cup baby wash

Food colouring

2 tbsp glitter

2 tbsp water

Method:

In a medium-sized dish, combine all of the ingredients.

Stir the mixture until all of the cornstarch has been completely incorporated.

Use immediately. Enjoy!

* “Sticky fingers” sells for R250-R285 and is available from leading book stores across the country. It is also available online from www.mumsandcubs.co.za