Kids love cooking and doing experiments, so food science experiments are like the best of both worlds for them. It’s amazing how many different experiments you can do with a few simple pantry items. Here is a roundup of some of my favourite kitchen science experiments for you to try with your kids on a cold winter day.
Make this versatile play dough from used coffer grinds. You can bake it to save your childrens’ masterpieces. I love the smell of it and the kids love the odd texture.
- 1 cup used coffee grinds
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Mix dry ingredients. Add water and stir to form a soft dough. Once shape has been finalized. Bake in 200 degree oven for 45 minutes.
There’s nothing more exciting than reliving your childhood through your own kids. Remember making the volcanic eruption with tin foil on a cookie sheet? Here’s a fun alternative using the coffee play dough to create a more real-to life, environmentally friendly base.
- Baking Soda
Place some of the baking soda into your volcano and add some of the vinegar
The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base while the vinegar (acetic acid) is an acid. When they react together they form carbonic acid which is very unstable, it instantly breaks apart into water and carbon dioxide, which creates all the fizzing as it escapes the solution.
- 1 T. white glue
- 1/2 tsp. borax powder
- food colouring
- 3 T. cornstarch
- 4 T. warm water
In one cup, combine the warm water, cornstarch and borax. In another cup or bowl, put the glue.
Next, add several drops of food coloring to the white glue and stir well.
Give your water/borax/cornstarch mixture a good stir to combine all the ingredients (the cornstarch has a tendency to settle on the bottom). Then pour the water mixture into the colored glue.
Stir and you’ll see it immediately start to clump together. Stir a bit more until you have one big, slimy glob.
Take the glob out of the liquid and begin rolling it between the palms of your hands to form a ball. It’ll be sticky at first, so keep a paper towel handy to wipe off your hands occasionally. Soon a rubbery ball will form.
Blow up a Balloon
Here’s a fun way to blow up an everyday balloon using baking soda and vinegar.
- Small bottle
- Small funnel
- 2 T. Baking soda (2 tablespoons per student)
- 6 T. Vinegar
Using the funnel, add the baking soda to each balloon (two people may be needed for this; one person to hold the balloon open and the other person to put the baking soda inside of the balloon).
Pour the vinegar into the bottle.
Carefully fit the balloon over the bottle opening (be careful not to drop the baking soda into the vinegar yet).
Once the balloon is fitted snugly on the nozzle, hold up the balloon and allow the baking soda to fall into the vinegar.
Observe the chemical reaction and effect on the balloon.
Soda and Mentos Explosion
- 1 roll of Mentos chewy mints
- 2-liter bottle of diet soda
- Sheet of paper to roll into a tube
Go outside where you can make a big mess.
Open the bottle of Coke and place it on the ground.
Roll the paper into a tube so that the Mentos will just fit inside. Hold the tube of paper upright and put the card over the bottom of the tube.
Load 4-6 Mentos into the tube, holding the card so they don’t fall out.
Carefully hold the tube and card directly on top of the bottle, lining up the tube and the mouth of the bottle.Pull the card out from under the tube, letting the Mentos drop into the bottle.
- School glue
- Borax (Sodium tetraborate)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Two bowls
In one bowl mix 1 oz. glue (about ¼ of the glue bottle) and ½ cup water. If you want colored slime, add food coloring to the glue and water mixture. Add ¼ cup of borax to the glue and water mixture and stir slowly.
Stir as much as you can, then dig in and knead it with your hands until it gets less sticky.. Don’t worry about any leftover water in the bowl. Just pour it out.
The glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate, which is a liquid polymer. The borax links the polyvinyl acetate molecules to each other, creating one large, flexible polymer. This kind of slime will get stiffer and more like putty the more you play with it.
Brownie in a Mug
All done experimenting for the day? Treat yourselves to a cool glass of milk and one of this delicious brownies that you can make in a mug.
- 4 T. Flour
- 4 T. Sugar2 T. Cocoa powder
- 2 T. Vegetable Oil
- 2 T. Water
- Dash of salt
Add te sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt to the mug and mix. Then add the oil and water and mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Be sure to be thorough, there’s a tendency for clumps of the dry ingredients to form
Microwave for two minutes and enjoy. Thanks to Carson for sharing his favourite recipe idea.