3 Engaging and EDIBLE Science Experiments Your Preschooler Will Love
Children make sense of the world around them through the experiences they have interacting with it, and much of those experiences involve their senses. The young brain is shaped by what a child sees, hears, touches, smells…and tastes. And it is that final sense that we will be exploring today.
Recent research finds that taste has a profound effect on our ability to retain memories of certain events. It’s the reason biting into a sugar cookie as an adult can take us back to our own childhood and baking the same cookies with a beloved grandparent. Or the smell of a bubbling pot of curry reminds us of weekend dinners with extended family.
We’ve all seen a baby reach for a toy then immediately place it in their mouth. Doing so allows them to explore shape, texture, and, yes, the taste of the object. Not only is this type of “mouthing” normal, it is an important step in their development. In fact, by the age of 6 months, a baby receives more information through their mouth than from any of the other senses.
As they grow, children continue to gain a better understanding of the world through their sense of taste. And expanding their palette to a variety of tastes and flavors reduces the risk of your child becoming a picky eater.
That’s why we’re sharing 3 of our favorite edible science experiments. These activities are easy to create and, with a little parental supervision, can engage your child’s mind in new and exciting ways.
While many children love the taste of fresh butter, few understand how it is made. This activity is fun for a variety of reasons—it helps children burn off a little energy through physical movement, it provides the excitement of discovery, and it tastes delicious once the experiment is complete.
We love this easy-to-follow recipe (with a kid-friendly video included!) from Pre-K Pages. All that’s required is a jar with a screw-on lid, some cold thickened or heavy cream, and strong hands for shaking.
Help your child pour heavy cream into a jar and seal tightly with the lid. Then let the shaking commence. It requires approximately 8 – 15 minutes of shaking before the cream will begin to thicken. We all know 8 – 15 minutes is an eternity for a child, so be sure to stop occasionally and open the jar so they can see the transformation that’s taking place. Eventually, the cream will separate into butter solids and whey.
Pour off the liquid, add a pinch of salt, and let your child taste the fruit of their labor on a cracker or piece of bread.
Fizzy Sherbet Powder
If you’re looking for a quick experiment that comes together in a flash, try this recipe for fizzy sherbet powder. It’s perfect for getting little hands involved and can be whipped in less than 10 minutes.
Here, you’ll need a few more ingredients than what is required to make butter, but most can be purchased at your local grocery store. Kids will enjoy helping you measure out ingredients and this provides the perfect time to teach them how to level off measuring spoons when baking or putting recipes together.
Combine baking soda, citric acid (available at most grocers) icing (or confectioner’s) sugar, and any flavor of Jello powder that your child loves. Mix everything together then let your child dip their finger into the powder and give it a taste. They’ll be amazed by the slightly sour, slightly sweet, and totally fizzy flavors that dance in their mouths!
There’s only one thing that could make children love slime even more…make it taste-able! It’s important to note, while some sites share recipes for “edible” slime, most are made with ingredients that, while food safe, wouldn’t make tummies feel good if consumed in large quantities. That’s why we’re calling this “taste-able” slime. Made with marshmallow fluff, it is perfect for molding and enjoying a small bite.
This recipe from Little Bins for Little Hands requires 3 simple ingredients—a jar of marshmallow fluff, cornstarch, and food coloring…that’s it!
Simply mix the ingredients together (you can divide the dough into smaller portions and color each portion a different shade using your food coloring). Then let your child have fun squishing, rolling, and cutting their slime with cookie cutters. You can also let them combine dough in primary colors to see what new color results.
The kitchen is a perfect place for combining science, learning, and tasting. By engaging with your child as he or she engages her sense of taste, you’ll create lasting memories that both you and your child will treasure.