The kitchen makes a wonderful laboratory for a kid science activity! It contains water, heat, and refrigeration. Instruments such as glass jars, bowls, measuring utensils and other tools are readily available. Basic kitchen science experiments include making an acid or base indicator (dye) from red cabbage and creating electricity through a lemon.
When doing a kid science activity make sure you discuss with the children what you are doing in an experiment and why you are doing it. Part of the process is to collect and record data. Don’t forget to review safety procedures before you begin a kid science activity!
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To test whether certain foods are acid or base, an indicator is used. To make an indicator from red cabbage you will need to cut the cabbage in quarters, and grate it into a bowl. Add 1-2 cups of water to cover the cabbage. Let the cabbage stand in the water, stirring occasionally until moist. When the water is a strong red, remove the cabbage and pour water solution through a strainer into a glass jar.
Put a small amount of solution into a small white bowl. Test a substance you know to be an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and one you know to be a base (baking soda) first to see the proper color changes. Test other foods such as liquids from canned fruit or vegetables, cream of tartar, egg white, tomato, etc.
Another kid science activity is to use a lemon to demonstrate how batteries generate electricity. Straighten a metal paper clip and insert one end into the lemon. Take a 6”-8” length of copper wire and remove any insulation from both ends. Insert one end into the lemon.
Now hold the exposed ends of the paper clip and wire and touch them to your tongue at the same time. You’ll feel a tingling sensation caused by electricity. Discuss how a battery needs two kinds of metal plus an acid to conduct through water (your tongue) to complete an electrical circuit.
Other great kid science activities include growing crystals, finding a freezing point, testing yeast and why a cake rises. A great book with lots of experiments is Edible Science: Experiments You Can Eat.
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