What’s better than learning? A nice snack afterwards! From how it’s made to what it’s made of, food offers a wide variety of science experiments for kids. There’s no better way to get children interested in science than by teaching them about the things they see every day. How is ice cream made? What allows vegetables to grow? Can you really fry an egg on the sidewalk? All of these questions are bursting with scientific possibilities with the fun promise of a treat at the end!
Beth Davis’s book Hands-On Science and Math has dozens of science activities for kids. Below are some kid science experiments perfect for letting kids lunch while they learn. It’s the best kind of brain food!
Get the book and explore more fun science activities!
Buoyancy and Salt Water
- Two eggs
- Two large paper cups or containers
- A spoon
- Markers, pencils, or crayons
- Hard-boil the two eggs before the experiment
- Hold up the eggs and ask the child whether they think the eggs will sink or float. Record their predictions if you wish
- Fill the two cups with water and label one Salt and another one No Salt—do not add salt to the water yet! Drop an egg into each cup and show the child how they sink to the bottom. Then ask them if they think salt will make the eggs float
- Ask the child to hypothesize how many tablespoons of salt it will take to make the egg float. Then add one tablespoon of salt at a time to the Salt cup until the egg floats
- Record the information and discuss why the salt made that egg float. Compare the salty water to the ocean and explain how the greater density makes it easier for things to float on the water
- Use the spoon to scoop the eggs out of the water to share. Crack them open and enjoy!
Shake and Freeze: Homemade Ice Cream
- Plastic spoons
- Bowls or cups
- A timer or stopwatch
- A gallon-size, heavy duty ziplock bag
- A sandwich- or quart-size ziplock bag
- 6 tablespoons of salt
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Duct tape
- Fill the gallon-size ziplock bag about half full with ice, and put the salt in the bag
- Let the child help add the milk, vanilla, and sugar to the quart-size bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag
- Put the quart-sized bag into the gallon-sized bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the large bag. Make sure the bag is sealed completely
- Have you and the child each hold a corner of the bag and shake it back and forth until the mixture in the small bag gets thick. Note that the bag will get very cold, so the child may have to stop and let their fingers warm up. If the child cannot hold the bag for the required amount of time (about five minutes) take over and shake the bag yourself. As they shake, explain that the salt makes the ice even colder so that it will freeze the ice cream ingredients inside
- Remove the small bag of ice cream and wipe the salt off the bag
- Scoop the ice cream into some cups and enjoy your sweet homemade treat!
- A large cardboard box
- Black tempera paint
- Aluminum foil
- A clear plastic lid or sheet of acrylic plastic
- A thermometer
- Two small butter cookies or graham cracker squares
- ½ of a large marshmallow
- 1 rectangle of chocolate
- An 8” X 8” piece of aluminum foil or a black paper plate
- A paintbrush
- A paint smock
- A paper cup
- Have the child assist in making a solar oven. Give them a paint smock to protect their clothes, put some black tempera paint in a paper, and give the child a paintbrush. Let the child help paint the outside of the large cardboard box and then set the box aside to dry. When the paint dries, line the inside with aluminum foil
- Outside, use the thermometer to measure the temperature inside the box and record it
- Give the child the s’mores ingredients and a piece of aluminum foil or a black paper plate. Show them how to put the bottom cookie down first before stacking the marshmallow and the chocolate piece. Leave the top cookie off for now
- Make sure the box is in the sun and put the s’more inside. Cover the box with the clear plastic cover or plastic wrap to trap the heat inside
- Watch to see when the chocolate melts—(this should take about five minutes). While you wait, explain how the sun heats things up like an oven and how the black paint and aluminum foil increase this effect
- Carefully remove the foil piece or plate and hand it to the child. Let them put the other cookie piece on top of their s’more and enjoy!