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Kitchen Science for Spring Break

written by Annie Orsini

Boom! Splat! Splash! Ewww! A parent does not want to hear those sounds in their kitchen, unless there is a science experiment happening. There is so much science that can be done in your kitchen and backyard. Teacher leader Annie Orsini wanted to share a few of her family’s favorite science explorations with WDMCS for Spring Break. These activities are simple to set up, but jam-packed with learning.

 

Dissolving Peeps, from Lemon Lime Adventures

The setup for the dissolving peeps experiment. Photo from Lemon Lime Adventures.

The setup for the dissolving peeps experiment. Photo from Lemon Lime Adventures.

See what happens when you try to dissolve marshmallow Peeps in different liquids. Don’t tell your kids, but there is no way to dissolve a Peep. Select a few liquids to try, like water, soda, vinegar, laundry detergent, coffee, or milk. Make predictions about what will happen. You could observe the changes for twenty minutes or check back periodically throughout the day. Ask your child what they notice. Even though the Peeps won’t dissolve, your child may be able to draw some interesting conclusions. In our house, it sparked an interesting discussion about brushing your teeth!

Egg Drop Challenge, from Buggy and Buddy

An egg drop invention with a parachute to cushion the fall. Photo from Buggy and Buddy.

Challenge your child to create a structure that
will protect a raw egg from cracking. Use any materials
you want — yogurt containers, plastic bags, pipe
cleaners, sponges, and LEGO® bricks are all great ones to try!
Then test out the contraption by dropping the egg off
the front porch or deck or out a window with adult
supervision. Redesign based on what happens.
Encourage your child to keep trying. This is what
scientists and engineers do!

 

 

Oobleck Cornstarch Science, from Steve Spangler Science

Some fresh-made oobleck, dyed bright green.

Some fresh-made oobleck, dyed bright green. Photo from Steve Spangler Science.

Make oobleck. You just need water, cornstarch, and a large mixing bowl, plus a place to make a mess. Mix one cup of cornstarch with up to half a cup of water, adding the water slowly until it reaches the consistency of syrup. Add food coloring, if you wish.  Encourage your child to get their hands messy and play around with it. Observe what happens if you move slowly or try to hold the oobleck still and if you try to roll it up. Substances like oobleck do not have the standard properties of either solids or liquids; they are referred to as “non-Newtonian fluids.” Discuss whether oobleck is more like a solid or a liquid.

 

 

Keep in mind that scientists ask questions, make observations, carry out investigations, design solutions, and test their thinking. When exploring science with your child, you don’t need to be an expert. Listen and ask questions about your child’s thinking and model curiosity by wondering aloud. For example, on a walk, you might wonder about why it is cooler in the shade or why there are so many earthworms above ground. For more tips on sparking your child’s interest in science, check out this PBS website. Happy exploring!