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15 Easy Kitchen Science Experiments (With Ingredients You Already Have)

magic milk experiment

Kitchens aren’t just for parents and making meals!

Kids can use kitchen ingredients and tools to learn from kitchen science experiments. Check out the following ideas for fun kitchen science.

1. Rubber Egg Experiment

Rubber Egg Science Experiment and Explanation

Materials:

  • Egg
  • White vinegar
  • Glass or jar

Cover an egg in a container with vinegar to see the shell disappear and the resulting egg that feels like rubber. Children learn about the chemical reaction between the eggshell (calcium carbonate) and the vinegar (acetic acid). Bubbles on the egg and on top of the water are from carbon dioxide. 

2. Shaking for Butter

Materials:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Jar with lid
  • Bowl
  • Sealable plastic bags

Using heavy whipping cream at various temperatures, kids shake the cream in a jar to observe changes in color and texture. They learn about emulsification and the butter-making process of churning, in which cream is agitated and fat particles begin clumping together. They can see whipped cream form first, followed by butter, when the air is no longer held by the cream.

3. Bread in a Bag

Source: Little Bins for Little Hands

Materials:

  • Plain flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Rapid rise yeast
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Your children mix ingredients to make dough in the plastic bag, then knead the dough to bake. They discover how yeast is a dormant fungus that can be awakened with warm water and sugar as a food source for fermentation. Children also observe bubbles that form when the yeast eats the sugar and gives off carbon dioxide.

4. Growing Plants from Food Scraps

Source: Modern Parents Messy Kids

Materials:

  • Pineapple top
  • Green onion white root sections
  • Avocado pit
  • Wide-mouthed, clear jars or glasses
  • Toothpicks

Kids poke toothpicks into a pineapple top and avocado pit and prop over jars filled with water, while the white (root) ends of the onions are placed directly in water. They can see how roots grow on the pineapple and avocado and how the green ends of the onions poke from the top as the roots in the water continue to grow. 

5. Lemon Volcano

Source: STEAM Powered Family

Materials:

  • Lemons
  • Craft sticks
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda

Your kids place cut lemons in the bowl with dish soap, food coloring, and baking soda poked in with craft sticks. They observe the reaction between the acid (lemon) and base (baking soda). Carbon dioxide is released and appears in the bubbles, made even more visible with the help of the dish soap that captures the gas.

6. Rock Candy

Materials:

  • Sugar
  • Food coloring
  • Bamboo skewers or wooden sticks
  • Large glass jar
  • Foil

Children squirt colors into the water you’ve heated and added sugar to melt. They roll moistened sticks in dry sugar to make the seed crystals, then place those in the jar of the cooled mixture. See how a saturated solution allows the sugar molecules to bump into each other and start sticking together.

7. Baked Potato Science

Source: Left Brain Craft Brian

Materials:

  • Large potatoes
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Baked potato pins

Kids predict which method of cooking a potato will be the fastest in the regular oven: plain potato, in foil, with baking pin, in foil with baking pin OR in the microwave plain or in plastic wrap. They explore how the wrappings may hold heat within to steam, whether the pin helps heat enter the potato sooner, and if a microwave is faster than a traditional oven.

8. Magic Milk

magic milk experiment

Materials:

  • Milk (whole or 2%)
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Cotton swabs

Your children squeeze colors into a shallow dish of milk and then touch the milk with a swab soaked with dish soap, to see the various colors of milk shoot away from each other. They learn that fat in milk is a nonpolar molecule, which doesn’t dissolve in water. The soap makes the fat separates from the water.

9. Solar S’Mores

Source: Desert Chica

Materials:

  • Small, low boxes, such as pizza boxes
  • Black construction paper
  • Foil & plastic wrap
  • Long wooden skewers
  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate bars

Kids make their own solar ovens with the first 4 items and then build s’mores with the food ingredients. On a sunny day, they observe the effects of solar energy to melt the chocolate and make the marshmallows puff. Discuss the purpose of the foil (reflection) black paper (heat absorption) and plastic wrap (heat retention).

10. Walking Water

Materials:

  • Test tubes with rack OR clear plastic cups/jars
  • Food coloring
  • Paper towels cut into thin strips
  • Stirrer

Children add water and different colors to the containers and stir, then place the paper towel strips into the containers, with two ends in each. They can see how the colored water “walks” through the fibers and spreads to meet and mix. This is a capillary action, which is the same way that plants, such as celery, take in water.

 11. Cake Experiment

Source: Teach Beside Me

Materials:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • Milk
  • Cooking oil
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Ramekins OR other small baking dishes

Bake four different cakes with the kids, leaving one important ingredient out of three: oil, egg, or baking powder. Kids predict the various effects in looks and flavor related to each missing ingredient. They learn that eggs add color, flavor, and structure; oil adds moisture and tenderness; and baking powder makes the cakes rise with its release of carbon dioxide.

12. How Does Salt Affect Ice?

Materials:

  • 5 clean tin cans
  • Ice cubes
  • Table salt
  • Coarse rock salt
  • Measuring spoons
  • Digital thermometer (no-contact type)

Have children add the same number of ice cubes to each can and then add a teaspoon or 2 tablespoons of either table salt or rock salt into each, shaking them a bit to spread the salt. They observe condensation on the bottoms of the cans as the reactions begin. Help them take temperature readings to compare the effects in each can.

13. Sandwich Bag Compost

Source: CBC

Materials:

  • Food waste in small pieces (veggies are best)
  • Cardboard egg carton pieces
  • Sandwich bags
  • Straws

Kids add the first two items with a bit of water to individual bags with the tops zipped most of the way and a straw inserted into a gap for air. Mush it up a bit each day and add more water, if needed for moisture. They observe on a small scale how composting turns food waste into soil.

14. Explore the Density of Liquids with Salt

Source: Buggy and Buddy

Materials:

  • Clear glass
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Salt

Children pour oil into water to observe what happens, adding a drop of color on top, followed by larger and larger sprinkles of salt. They offer ideas of why the various movements take place. They learn water is denser than oil and salt are denser than the liquids.

15. Ice Cream in a Bag

Materials:

  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Small zipper sandwich bag
  • Gallon-sized zipper bag 
  • Ice
  • Salt

In the small zipper bag, your child adds the first 3 ingredients and zips closed. Add salt and ice to the large bag and place the small bag inside the larger one and seal. They shake to make ice cream! Children can learn that salt (sodium chloride) lowers the freezing point of water so it can become even colder.

These kitchen science experiments are easy and require little planning! They’re great activities to learn the scientific method and for some of these food experiments, you can enjoy a tasty treat afterward too!

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