Kitchen Science and Not-So-Edible Fun!
Kitchens are used for cooking, but can things found in the kitchen be used for some fun kitchen science or colourful Do-it-Yourself projects? Check out some cool educational activities below!
1. Spaghetti Worms
Get ready to mess with colourful, stringy worms that come in the form of spaghetti! In this project, teach your children about how different pigments help colour food! You will need:
- A Pot
- Some cooking oil
- Tumeric (for yellow coloured spaghetti)/Blueberries (for blue coloured spaghetti)/Beetroot (for pink/purple coloured spaghetti) OR food colouring of your choice
Start by splitting the spaghetti you have into three portions. Bring the water to a boil, and add one portion into the pot. Next, add in a food colouring of you choice! You can use either natural food ingredients to die your spaghetti or artificial food colourings (this works better with artificial ones, but if you want to teach your child about certain chemicals found in different food that act as natural colouring, then the above can be used instead!). Make sure the spaghetti is cooked before draining it and immediately running it under cold water. Add in some cooking oil to the spaghetti immediately after running under cold water to ensure that it does not stick together. Repeat the previous steps till you get three different coloured spaghetti! Let your kids have fun playing with the spaghetti – this works as a ‘slime’! Encourage them to try making noodle towers or braids that train their fine motor skills!
2. Squirmy Gummy Worms
This experiment makes use of a chemical reaction between simple items that are commonly found in the kitchen! All you will need are:
- Some gummy worms
- Baking soda (3 tablespoons)
- Warm water (1 cup)
- White vinegar
- Transparent glass/cups (2; this will work better if the glasses are tall)
- A knife and cutting board
Start by cutting the gummy worms into thinner slices – this makes sure that there is a greater surface area for absorption later. Next, add the baking soda into the water to form a mixture, and place the sliced worms in it. To ensure that the worms absorb the mixture, allow the worms to sit in it for 15 – 20 minutes. While waiting, fill the other glass with white vinegar. When the worms have been soaked long enough, remove them from the baking soda and water mixture, and place them into the glass with the white vinegar. After the worms are placed inside, bubbles should start to form on the surface of the worms, causing them to ‘squirm’ and ‘wriggle’ up to the surface of the glass! Note: Remember not to add too many worms into the glass of vinegar at one time! This will cause some worms to be weighed down and the effect will not be as obvious!
Due to baking soda acting as a base and the acetic acid found in vinegar acting as an acid, an acid-base reaction takes place when the baking soda in the worms comes into contact with the vinegar. This causes gas to be produced, which explains the bubbles that formed on the worms! Since gas rises, the bubbles on the worm cause it to rise to the top!
3. Bouncy Eggs
Has your child ever wondered the importance of brushing our teeth? Or perhaps they dislike brushing their teeth! In this experiment, explain to them how the food we eat or the beverages we drink can cause our teeth to stain or even decay. Explain to them how our teeth and egg shells are both made out of calcium, and use this experiment to demonstrate to them what happens if the sugars or acids found in food or drinks can damage our teeth if we do not brush regularly! All you will need are:
- Hard boiled eggs (with the shell still intact and not cracked; 4)
- Jars (4)
- White vinegar
Start by filling the jars – the first with white vinegar, the second with Coca-cola, the third with water and the last with milk. Next, place one hard boiled egg into each jar, and leave the egg in there for 24 hours. During this time, get your child to form 4 different hypotheses of what will happen to the egg shells of each egg after 24 hours. Once the eggs have been left in the various liquids for 24 hours, remove and observe them. The shell of the one that was soaked in vinegar should have had completely dissolved. This is due to the acetic acid found in vinegar that reacts with the calcium carbonate found in the egg shell, causing it to dissolve. The one in Coca-cola should be stained, and some of its shell may also have been dissolved. Coca-cola also contains small amounts of acid that would cause the egg shell to break down.
We hope you and your child enjoy these educational activities! Should you and your child be interested in science and scientific endeavors, check our our YMCA Learning Centre STEM programme! This programme aims to spark an interest in students in learning how the world around us works, through experiential learning. Do contact us to find out more!