Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Edible Kid Science

I decided to do another post on science projects for kids, but this time I wanted to do something really fun. How about science projects and experiments that you can eat? Food is a great way for kids of all ages to learn. They love it. So, I did some research and came up with a couple of edible science project to do with my kiddos and decided to share them with you!
How to make rock candy:
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp flavoring extract or oil (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • glass jar
  • skewer or thread (see below)

  • wet your skewer or thread and roll it in granulated sugar, set it to the side
    bring water to a boil over medium heat in a medium sized sauce pan and start adding sugar one cup at a time, stirring to dissolve. Continue this till all the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup is smooth you remove it from the heat. If you're going to add food coloring or flavor now is the time to do it. Allow the mixture to cool for around ten minutes before carefully adding to a large mouth jar. Place your skewer in the center of the jar, held up using clothespins. Like so:

    rock candy

    The skewer must be as close to the center as possible and not on the bottom or this will not work. If you don't see a change within 24 hours boil again and add another cup of sugar. If you do see crystals starting to form then you're doing good. Allow the rock candy to grow until it's reached the size you want. Be aware that this could take up to a week.

    A great topic of conversation for the rock candy project is to discuss how stalactites and stalagmites are made in caves as it is a very similar process, just not as tasty!

    Invisible Ink:
    Write a message on a piece of  paper with lemon juice, using a paintbrush or stick. Allow paper to dry. Take your hidden message and hold it close to a light bulb to warm it up. The chemicals in the lemon juice will turn brown when heated, making your message appear. It's pretty awesome, we did this as kids a lot.

    A great topic of discussion for this project is to discuss with your child how different chemicals and different materials change color and composition (think melting) with heat.

    Make Butter:
    This is a great project and very tasty. You don't need much to make your own butter at all, it's a very simple project. I think that most people have not tried this because the idea of it is daunting. It's really not hard at all though!
    Here's what you'll need:
    heavy whipping cream (not ultra pasteurized)
    regular salt (not iodized)
    cinnamon and honey (optional)
    a way to mix it!

    If you shop near me, or are here from my facebook and know me, Walmart sells the type of cream you need. It's in a smaller container that's purple and gold sold near the other creams and the weird notmilks beside the milk. Get that.
    There are lots of ways to mix the cream into butter, a hand mixer works but a stand mixer is best as it could take a while.

    Now, if you don't feel comfortable letting your kid even think about using a mixer (and I don't) then all you need is a Tupperware container big enough to hold all the cream, by half. So if you pour all the cream in it, it would only be half full. Then, place a marble or two in the cream and put on an air tight lid. Hand over to your kid and have them start shaking.

    The process of making butter will look the same no matter how you do it. First, the cream will foam up and thicken becoming thicker and thicker. This thick fluffy mass would be whipped cream if you added sugar at this point. However, we're not making whipped cream this time, we're making butter.

    The fun starts now, the whipped cream will start to break down, becoming watery at this point. It will eventually start too look kind of like watery buttermilk. At the "buttermilk" stage it's time to stop the mixing. There will be little white chunks floating in the whitish water, that's your butter. Go ahead and either run some ice cold water in the sink or have a large bowl of ice cold water nearby. Scoop up as many as the little chunks as you can find, using your hands or a small hole strainer (like mesh). These little curds will stick together and, in your cold water massage the ball (it will feel like butter) over and over.

    Why you have to massage the butter, you'll notice, is to get all the water out. If need be empty the bowl and refill it with more cold water, continuing to do this until the water is clear or no more milky water comes out of the butter. If you leave it there it won't taste as good and will cause the butter to spoil quickly.

    That's it, you're done! You now have butter. Add your salt (just a pinch no more than a 1/4 tsp) and if you'd like add cinnamon and honey to taste. I promise you'll love it.

    What science topic I would cover in this is what materials turn to what with what process like how cream turns to butter, sugar to candy etc. I would even cover how dirt turns to mud. My kids love mud so we would have to discuss this and this project can really take the other two discussions to another level.

    Want a easy bread recipe to eat your butter on? Here ya go!

    7-Up Rolls:

    1. 2 c. Bisquick
    2. 1/2 c. sour cream
    3. 1/2 c. 7-Up
    4. 1/4 c. melted butter
    Preheat oven to 450. Mix the first three ingredients together, form balls and put onto baking sheet. Don't over mix. Brush the tops with melted butter and bake until browned.

    That's all I've got for this post, I don't want to keep making them super long, but I'll be sure to update when I come across more ideas for you guys, if you try them please come back and comment, let me know how they worked for you!

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