My kids and I have made cornstarch and water quicksand before, but I had forgotten about it until some friends told us about their recent adventures in Mexico. The family was on a hike in the Yucatan, with the daughter, Molly, age 10, leading the way. Knowing Molly, she was probably on the lookout for animals, because this girl knows incredible facts about hundreds and hundreds of creatures. She didn’t know there was a danger of quicksand, and she walked right into a patch of it, getting stuck before she even knew what was happening. Her older brother, who is 13, jumped in to get her, but he got stuck too. The dad went in after both of them, and managed to get them free, but then he was so stuck it took two other men to pull him out. Everyone was fine, and this being a family who isn’t bothered by the little things, continued their hike.
Their experience brought up the question: How dangerous is quicksand, anyway? In case I ever run into it, the Yucatan being a place I’d like to visit again, I decided to investigate. The good news: A person can’t be completely drawn under in quicksand, because humans aren’t dense enough (we aren’t talking mental denseness here) to sink. According to LiveScience, if you lie back, eventually you will float, particularly if you wiggle your legs around a little. Good information to store away.
How to make your own quicksand for experiments:
All you need is cornstarch and water, and paint if you want to make it look more realistic. Pour a cup of cornstarch in a bowl. Add about ¼ cup of water and mix. It should start to feel thick enough so that it’s a little tough to pull the spoon out. You may need to add a little more water or a little more cornstarch. For more ideas about turning your quicksand into alien goo, check out this link.