"Slime is about the noise," said Goldie Bronson, a Los Angeles fifth grader. "Most people like the noise."
By slime, Goldie, 10, was referring to the sticky substance with a well-known heritage that includes the buckets of green stuff dumped on Nickelodeon guests, the goo spewed by Bill Murray and his "Ghostbusters" crew and the slippery concoction in small plastic trash cans that Mattel started selling in the late 1970s.
The current iteration is homemade, and it comes in a multitude of colors and textures — fluffy, glittery, grainy — that emit crackling noises when poked and squeezed.
"It's fun to play with," said Goldie, adding that it can help relieve stress, too. "But it's also like you're making your own science experiment in your house."
Like Goldie, some children have turned slime into a business.
There's a thriving nationwide market for slime, and the demand is met by children aged 8 to 12, teenagers and young adults, who sell it at school or online, often through Etsy. Many post marketing videos on Instagram, where they can be seen poking, swirling and squishing globs of it. The hashtag #slime appears on 3.5 million Instagram posts, and slime searches on Etsy have increased 9,000 percent since October, according to the company.
YouTube is brimming with video tutorials, or "slime D.I.Y.s." The most popular garner millions of views and attract lucrative advertising and sponsorship deals for their creators.
Although Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom, owns trademarks on a plethora of slime-related products, including "free-flowing gel," clothing and books, the term slime is widely used among home producers, and Viacom typically doesn't enforce its rights against them.