Category: Chemistry

Fun chemistry ideas for kids

What’s fizzier: Limeade or Orangeade? Try this fun kitchen science experiment to find out. It’s chemistry you can sip!

Orangeade and Limeade drinks kids can make

We had so much fun making old-fashioned lemonade last week, that we ran out of lemons! But it got us thinking – can you use a similar acid-base reaction to make fizzy drinks with other citrus fruits? We had some limes and oranges in our fruit bowl, so we decided to find out!

We happened to do this in our backyard, as it was a warm autumn day and we’re trying to make the most of the sunshine. But you can totally do this in your kitchen too – actually, it would make a fun rainy day activity for those days when you’re stuck indoors…
 

Suitable for

Comparing the fizziness of homemade drinks is a fun kitchen science experiment that you could try with preschoolers, kindergarteners and primary school aged kids. My daughter Bumble Bee was 7.5 years old when we gave this a go.

 

How to make fizzy Limeade and Orangeade, and how to turn it into a science experiment

Ingredients

Ingredients to make Orangeade and Limeade

  • Limes (or other citrus fruit)
  • Oranges (or other citrus fruit)
  • Baking Soda
  • Sugar
  • Iced water
  • two matching glasses
  • Basic kitchen supplies (knife, chopping board, juicer, teaspoon, paper straws)

Note: Baking soda is also called bicarb soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate, and can be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. Baking powder is not the same as baking soda, and should not be used as a substitute in this recipe – unless you want to make a comparison of baking soda and baking powder part of the experiment of course!

Making limeade and orangeade for kids

What to do

We followed the same basic steps that we used when we made our fizzy lemonade earlier, except that this time, we used two different types of citrus juice, and we focused on creating a fair test to see the difference in the results between the two.

1. Cut a lime and an orange in half. (We used different knifes to prevent cross-contamination, or you could use the same knife if you washed it in between). Optional: Cut a slice of lime and orange, and set aside to use later as garnish.

Juicing half a lime

2. Juice the lime and pour into a glass. Take a small sip to taste. It’s sour!

Pouring freshly squeezed orange juice

3. Wash the juicer (to prevent cross-contamination), and then juice the orange. Pour some of the orange juice into a second glass, stopping when you have the same quantity of juice as the juice in the lime glass. We want the volume of liquid in both glasses to be the same, as that isn’t the variable that we’re testing. Take a small sip of the left over juice – hopefully you’ll notice that it’s sweeter than the lime juice, but still ‘citrus-y’.

Adding baking soda

4. Add the same amount of baking soda to each glass. (We added 1/4 teaspoon as this is the smallest measuring spoon we have, but 1/8 teaspoon would probably have tasted better for this volume of liquid. But, for the sake of the experiment, it doesn’t really matter exactly how much you add, as long as you add the same amount to each glass).

Making fizzy limeade and lemonade

5. Watch the juice in each glass fizz, foam and bubble! Take note of the differences between the two glasses. Which one fizzes higher? Is there a difference in the time that they fizz for?

6. Have a sip from each glass. How has the taste changed?

Adding water

Sipping limeade and orangeade

7. With the ‘experiment’ part of the project is now finished, but you can try adding some iced water and sugar to each glass to see if you can turn them into a tasty drink.

Making limeade and orangeade

To be honest, Bumble Bee didn’t really love the taste of her limeade and orangeade drinks, but she did like doing the experiment! Interestingly she did like lemonade we made earlier – probably the reason why most people make lemonade instead of limeade or orangeade!

If you’re wondering which juice ‘won’ on the fizziness factor, check out this video to see all the action!
 

 

(Note: you might notice that Bumble Bee used the same straw to stir the two drinks – she should have used two straws to avoid cross-contamination. But she did it too quickly, before I could point it out! Next time I’ll make sure to remind her about this beforehand…)

Fun facts

Conducting a ‘fair test’ is one of the most important things in doing primary school science experiments. A fair test, is a test where you change only one variable at a time, and keep all other aspects of the experiment equal. In this experiment, the variable that we changed was the type of juice that we used. We kept the size of the glass, the quantity of the juice and the amount of baking soda the same. By changing just one variable at a time, you can be sure exactly what caused any difference in the results.

An acid is something that has a low pH. Vinegar, buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, chocolate and honey are all ‘acids’. A base is something that is alkaline, or has a high pH. Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is the most common base that we use in cooking. When you combine an acid and a base (in the presence of liquid), a chemical reaction occurs that creates carbon dioxide gas (CO2). This chemical reaction can be used to add bubbles to fizzy drinks.

Fizzy limeade and orangeade - drinkable science for kids

Please note…

All kids’ activities on this blog assume attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.

Mixing together pantry ingredients is generally a safe way to explore chemical reactions with kids, however, please don’t let kids eat baking soda in its concentrated form (ie, don’t let kids eat plain baking soda by the spoonful) as it can cause toxicity if too much is swallowed. It is safe to consume when used appropriately and mixed with other ingredients.

Kids knife skills vary – use your own discretion as to whether you would like your child to try using a sharp knife, or if you would like to pre-cut the limes and oranges for them.

 
Fizzy limeade and orangeade science for kids

You can find more tasty experiments on our edible science activities page, including:

You can always subscribe to our newsletter, to receive all our latest activities straight in your Inbox. We’d love to have you join us!

How to make real old-fashioned lemonade from scratch, that really bubbles! Fun edible (or drinkable) science project for kids.

Make your own Fizzy Lemonade - a tasty science project for kids. GSK

I’ve been wanting to make homemade lemonade with the kids for AGES! It’s one of those classic “must-do” childhood activities, and if you make yours with an acid-base reaction like we did, it also doubles as an impressive & tasty science demonstration.

There are different ways you can add bubbles to (or carbonate) drinks. One way is to use something like a soda stream which forces carbon dioxide gas (Co2) from a pressurised cylinder into drinks, making them fizzy. Another way is to produce an acid-base chemical reaction, which creates the carbon dioxide from within the drink. That’s what we’ve done with our homemade lemonade recipe here. And the best bit is that our recipe doesn’t require a fancy soda stream machine – it uses common pantry items that you probably already have at home.

We’ve played around with acid-base chemical reactions in the kitchen before, like when we made Anzac biscuits, or our Violet Crumble honeycomb bars, and let’s not forget our homemade sherbet! There’s something so impressive about watching things froth up and bubble, especially when you get to taste them afterwards.

Our lemonade recipe will taste a little different to the store-bought lemonades that you might be more used to. Fair-warning that the baking soda does have a slightly soapy after-taste. But if you add enough sugar (!), and if your kids enjoy the process, then the results are certainly impressive and memorable . We made two glasses of lemonade, (reducing the quantity of baking soda in our second glass, until we found our ‘sweet spot), and my kids are asking to make more today, so I think that means it was a winner.

Drinking homemade lemonade

Suitable for

Tasty science is fun for any age! You could try this from preschoolers through to primary school aged kids – Bumble Bee was 7.5 years old when we did this at home.

Younger kids will be fascinated by all the bubbles in this demonstration, and it can start to develop their understanding of acid base reactions, and that ‘chemicals’ can occur naturally and be useful in cooking!

Older kids might like to turn this into an experiment (perhaps by studying the effect of varying the baking soda quantities) using the scientific method: form a hypothesis, create a fair test, by changing just one variable, and record results. They can share their findings in the comments below!

How to make fizzy lemonade - a tasty kids science project

Please note…

Mixing together pantry ingredients is a safe and fun way to explore chemical reactions with kids. The ingredients used here are all generally taste-safe, however, please don’t let kids eat baking soda in its concentrated form (ie, don’t let kids eat plain baking soda by the spoonful please). Baking soda is OK to taste once it’s with the other ingredients in the lemonade.

Kids knife skills vary – use your own discretion as to whether you would like your child to try using a sharp knife, or if you would like to pre-cut the lemons for them.

All kids’ activities on this blog require attentive adult supervision. Parents and carers will need to judge whether a particular activity is appropriate their child’s age and skill level. Click here for more information.

How to make old-fashioned lemonade that really fizzes

How to make Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Read More How to make Fizzy Old-Fashioned Lemonade

Zooming Hearts – a fun Valentine’s Day science activity kids love!

Zooming hearts science activity

This is such a cute and fun science activity for Valentine’s Day (or any day)! Can you make a paper heart zoom? If you’re sneaky with the dipping part, you can also make it look like a cool party trick and amaze your friends. Science magic!
 

Suitable for

This activity is fun for a bunch of age groups, from preschoolers to grade school kids. Jewel is 9 and Bumble Bee is 7 in the videos below – they can easily do all the elements without help, but they still found it fun!

How to make a heart zoom

Read More Zooming Hearts

Make cute salt crystal paper hearts, fun science craft idea for Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, or just because!

Salt Crystal Hearts Science Craft STEAM idea for kids

We’re becoming salt crystal obsessed in our house. They’re so much fun to make, for little and big kids alike! And they’re a great way to introduce science concepts like dissolving and evaporating, making a solution, and cubic crystals.

This time we made cute Salt Crystal Hearts, as part of Red Ted Art’s 31 Days of Love series. Click here to see our activity!

How to make salt crystal heart kids science craft

This will be added to our crystal science activities page, or you can also find more heart-themed science activities on our new Valentines Day science page, including:

Stunning winter or indoor snow day craft that doubles as a cool crystal science lesson – how to make salt crystal paper snowflakes!

Salt Crystal Paper Snowflakes - crystal science project for kids 1

OK, I think I’m slightly addicted to making salt crystal crafts – we began with our ‘snowy’ salt crystal fir trees, then we made our salt crystal ghosts, and now salt crystal snowflakes! I think these snowflakes are my favourite so far: they’re quite stunning, and I love science projects that only need everyday household materials – no need to duck to the shops first!

Salt Crystal Snowflakes 8

Suitable for

This is would be a great activity for a group middle schoolers (8-10 year olds), who should be able to do most aspects by themselves. Younger kids (even preschoolers) can try this too, but they’ll need more help. (The salt crystal part is easy enough, but it’s actually the folding and cutting of the paper snowflakes that little kids will need the most help with). For reference, Jewel was 9 and Bumble Bee 7 when we did this.

Salt Crystal Snowflakes 13

How to make Salt Crystal Snowflakes

Read More Salt Crystal Paper Snowflakes!

How to make salt crystal ghosts – fun Halloween science project for kids.

salt crystal ghosts

Suitable for

This is a fun activity for preschoolers or younger school-aged kids. Bumble Bee was 6 years and 11 month olds and in year 1, when we did this at home. But because it’s taste-safe, you could try it with older toddlers as well.

how to make Salt Crystal Ghosts - fun Halloween science project for kids

Do you remember the salt crystal trees we made a few years back? Bumble Bee had just turned three at the time, and now she has only a vague recollection. So we decide to make these salt crystal ghosts to help jog her memory, and have a little Halloween science fun in the meantime. 🙂

How to make Salt Crystal Ghosts

Read More Salt Crystal Ghosts