Kneading Slime: Are You Raising Slugs?

Making a goo called slime is the biggest middle school craze sweeping across North America. Green slime has been synonymous with Nickelodeon since its introduction on the game show You Can’t Do That On Television. It was usually dumped on a person’s head as a gag called being slimed.  Slime is now a staple of the networks Kids’ Choice Awards.

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Now kids want to make this glutinous goo themselves to knead, fold and pop- at school, at home, at friends’ houses.  They make it in different colors with lotion, borax, soap, food dye and glue.  Young entrepreneurs are cashing in by turning their kitchens into workshops and selling it at school or online. Many moms think it’s just an innocent pastime.

“There are a lot worse things they could be doing,” a mom said to me after a slime making party this week.

I guess she was alluding to underage  vaping, another fad where middle school kids inhale and exhale the vapor produced by a battery-operated electronic cigarette. Most e-cigs have nicotine and other chemicals.

But there is concern on the part of some medical professionals that one of the ingredients in slime could be toxic.  They say using a laundry soap like borax as a toy isn’t a good idea. The Canadian government’s health department has even issued a warning. But opinion is mixed. Other experts say handling the detergent is fine if it’s used in small amounts and not rubbed in the eyes or ingested. If you’re worried, Today’s Parent magazine offers a cornstarch slime recipe.

Whether it’s harmful or not, the whole thing seems a little too much like nursery school to me.  Slime requires a lot of cleanup.  After years of getting Legos, Play Dough, and Silly Putty off the floor now it’s slime stain out of the carpet.  I went to a parenting seminar last night at my church.  Parents were concerned that teenagers aren’t helping out around the house.  Is this new fad good, clean, “slimy” fun or are we raising a group of self-indulgent children who are taking their cues from social media?  It seems that kids spend too much time watching  YouTube videos on anything from how to French Braid to making another gooey concoction called Gak.  Our kids worry more about posting a four-second photo on Snapchat than learning an old family recipe that they could serve to their kids someday.   If middle school kids want to whip things up in the kitchen, how about learning how to cook and helping with the dishes.

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Or better yet, if  an adolescent wants to use borax, I’ve got a load of dirty laundry with their name on it.  By the way, if your child is acting like a lazy slug leaving a trail of slime wherever they go, you might want to hide the salt shakers.