Probably because I am not a 7-year-old, I did not initially understand the appeal of slime.

The stuff is everywhere now, oozing out of all corners of the internet. I’m told by friends who have children that there are YouTube slime celebrities, and that kids sell each other special slime. 

That might sound pretty ridiculous, but then I remember when I was in the fourth grade, people paid actual money for colourful cardboard discs called Pogs, and we had Floam, a type of moldable ooze filled with Styrofoam balls. Every generation needs a pointless, dumb, messy, squishy, disgusting substance to work its tiny grubby fingers into.

There are so many types of slime. Glitter slime, magnetic slime, glow-in-the-dark slime and the most deeply disconcerting: Edible glowing blood slime. 

Many kids make theirs from recipes they find online (the main ingredient is borax solution for the non-edible kind and cornstarch for the edible variety). But Jell-O really knows how to capitalize on a trend, so in December, it released a powdered slime mix that would be easy for kids and parents to make. 

It comes in two flavours: Monster slime (lime) and unicorn slime (strawberry). It’s very easy to make: Just dump three scoops of slime powder into a bowl, and add one scoop of water, according to the instructions. We found that a scoop and a half of water worked best.

And then, once I was wrist-deep in strawberry slime, I started to see the appeal. This stuff is a weird science project! It’s somewhere between a solid and a liquid: You can roll it into a ball, but once you let it sit on your palm for a few seconds, it will melt right through your fingers. 

If you pull it taut, you can rip it in half, but you can also stretch it like a stringy, melted cheese. I had no idea how the heck it works, and this explanation from Jell-O doesn’t really help too much, but sounds very cool.

“In chemistry, this is what’s called a ‘non-Newtonian fluid,’ which means the way the slime flows and moves in your hands depends on the amount of force you use,” said Lynne Galia, spokeswoman for Kraft Heinz, which owns Jell-O, in an email. 

I did not eat a lot of slimes, because it doesn’t taste as good as other candies out there, and I can’t imagine what large quantities of it would do to your stomach. 

But I played with the slime for way longer than my professional duties required, mashing it up and dribbling it out of my fists and generally acting like a kid again. 

I get it now.

The Washington Post