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Kids get hands-on, slimy experience

Lotus Rivers, right, sold face painting as part of her business partnership at the Economics Fair.

Photo by Jolene Guzman
Lotus Rivers, right, sold face painting as part of her business partnership at the Economics Fair.

KINGS VALLEY — Emily Phillips and Adam Mahr believe they have the secret ingredient to making perfect slime.

They aren’t sharing precisely what that element is, just that is some type of lotion, and that it keeps their slime from falling apart or being too sticky.

The pair — business partners in “Friends in the Sea” — have observed other brands of slime carefully.


Students in Kings Valley Charter School's third through fifth grades participated in an Economics Fair that last two Fridays.

“Everybody loves their slime,” Emily said. “We are very interested in the other people’s slime because they’ve made some sticky slime and some that are not really sticky.”

Not that they haven’t learned lessons about the manufacture of slime.

“Not to make it too fast,” said Adam. “If you put too much air in it, it explodes.”

Emily said she has video evidence of the mishap — that resulted in Adam sliming himself in the face.

“It was funny,” she said smiling.


Esias Sapp awaits customers during Friday's Economics Fair.

Friends in the Sea’s storefront advertises much more than slime — though that seems to be the biggest seller. They sell paper airplanes, stickers, drawings and coloring books.

Adam and Emily seem to be having a lot of fun with their business experiment, but they both agree, being small business owners — literary small — is hard.

Emily (third grade) and Adam (fourth grade) are students at Kings Valley Charter School. Their slime-and-more selling endeavor is part of the third- through fifth-grade classes unit on economics.

“We discuss consumers and producers, supply and demand, scarcity, imports and exports, and needs and wants,” said fifth-grade teacher Stacey Zaback. “We then branch out to learn about how these elements apply to businesses, with students creating their own store.”

The last two Fridays, student groups have been putting up their storefronts and “selling” handmade items to parents, teachers and other students at the Economic Fair.

Another goo peddler, Caden Anderton, has his eye on Friends in the Sea’s inventory. He announced there was going to be a bidding war on the pair’s remaining slime after the fair closes. That’s the time entrepreneurs get to go shopping themselves.

Caden had plenty of money. His marketing strategy on his slime worked. He sold magnetic slime, glow-in-the-dark slime and regular slime, plenty intriguing on their own, especially to the elementary-aged crowd. But he added an incentive.

“He advertised with a special prize inside somebody’s slime,” said Athena Lodge, the third- and fourth-grade teacher.

Zaback said the fair adds hands-on learning of principles introduced in class.

Each group was given a $1,000 start-up investment to open their store and calculated revenue and profit once the two-week fair ended.

“We try to do as much projects-based learning as we can and really bring things to life for the students,” she said.

Like in real life, not all the businesses were immediate successes.

David Clements and his partners specialized in paper products, such as paper boats, planes, books and drawings.

“We figured out what are the easiest things to make,” David said, explaining their creative process.

The problem was marketing.

“It was easy making stuff, but hard getting people to buy it,” he said.

The business just a few desks away experienced the same problem, but owner Annika Mellein used one of her own creations to draw people in: a homemade harmonica.

“It’s made of Popsicle straws and rubber bands,” she said.

If business was slow, she’d start playing the harmonica. Other items in her inventory included cloud dough — a variation on Play-Doh — and exploding boomerangs.

She demonstrated the boomerangs, made of Popsicle sticks that “explode,” break apart, when they hit something, but you can put them back together again.

“I learned that it’s a little tiring and it’s hard to get people’s attention,” Annika said of developing her business.

Overall, she said it wasn’t a bad experience.

“It was really fun doing this,” she said.

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