Category: Sensory Science

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

Fun game to learn how to find north using your senses, the sun, and a compass!

Finding North - Hiking Science Game for kids

We love hiking in our family (or bush-walking as we tend to call it here in Australia). It’s such a fun way to combine our love of nature, exercise and family-time!

Recently Bumble Bee gave Jewel a compass for her 9th birthday, so we decided to bring it along on our next hike to try it out – and we invented a game called Finding North.

 

Suitable for

This is a fun outdoor activity for younger or middle primary / elementary school aged kids. Jewel was 9 and Bumble Bee was 6.5 years old here.

Read More Finding North: a fun hiking game for kids

Christmas STEAM activity:  design your own Christmas tree magnet maze game! Fun way for kids to learn about physics and magnetism through play.

Make a Christmas tree magnet game - fun science for kids

Remember the magnet maze game we made a little while ago? This Christmas tree magnet maze game is essentially the same thing, but with a fun Christmas spin!

My kids really enjoy repeating an activity with minor variations. It gives us a chance to play around with a concept, and perhaps think a little deeper about it than we may have the first time round.

This Christmas tree magnet maze activity explores the physics of magnetic force through an object, and how we could use this force to move a ball along a particular path.

Design a Christmas tree magnet maze - Christmas STEAM activity for kids

The artistic element of kids being able to design and decorating their Christmas tree any way they like, helps this activity cross the curriculum to incorporate both science & art. Incorporating art into STEM subjects is a great way for kids to use both sides of the brain, and encourages creative kids to enjoy and engage with STEM subjects.

Related: Click here to read more about integrating STEM + Art to make STEAM.

Suitable for

I’d suggest this activity for preschoolers or kindergarteners. Bumble Bee was 4 years old when we did this activity.

Please note…

Only try this activity if your child no longer puts things in their mouth, as the small balls are a choking hazard.

Either way, I recommend using a large-sized magnet. The ones we used here are a few inches long, and not easily swallowed. Smaller magnets that could potentially be swallowed are particularly dangerous if swallowed concurrently with other magnets, or items attracted to magnets, as they can attract each other inside the gut and cause all sorts of nasty problems.

You know your child. Use your best judgement, and please supervise at all times.

How to make  A Christmas Tree Magnet Maze Game

You’ll need:

  • paper plates (or thin cardboard)
  • markers
  • a large magnet
  • small steel ball (or other steel object)

We used Stix markers and Geomag magnetic rods and steel balls (affiliate links*) as that’s what we have at home. But other similar products would also work as well.

Related: You can see our previous reviews of Geomag sets here and here.

What to do:

  1. Design and decorate your Christmas tree!
  2. Put a steel ball on the maze side of the paper plate, and the magnet on the other.
  3. Move the magnet underneath. Magnetic force will make the ball move too!

Decorating a Christmas tree

I drew a Christmas tree outline onto a paper plate, to give Bumble Bee an idea of what she could do. I encouraged her to draw her own. But, rightly or wrongly, Bumble Bee decided she didn’t want to draw her own, and instead adopted the tree outline that I’d drawn as hers. (I didn’t insist, as then I would have had a battle on my hands!) She did happily decorate ‘her’ tree though, with lots of purple baubles!

Once her decorations were complete, she carefully placed the ball on the top side of the plate, whilst holding the magnet underneath, until the ball was ‘caught’ in the magnet’s magnetic field and stopped rolling around.

Christmas magnet play for kids

She then held the plate in one hand, and moved the magnet underneath to make the ball move along the Christmas tree outline.

DIY Christmas tree magnet maze STEAM activity for kids

It’s actually quite tricky for young kids to move the ball along a set path, as it requiring kids to use their sense of proprioception (or awareness of their body in space), which is one of our seven senses.

(Yes, we have seven senses! Read briefly about them here.)

In order to move the ball around the maze, kids need to use their sense of proprioception to judge where to move their hand, and how much force to use to push the ball along the path, without actually seeing their hand moving, only the ball.

Don’t be surprised if it takes some children a few tries before they get the hang of it.

Christmas tree magnet maze

Fun Science

Gravity is a force. It pulls objects towards the earth. It’s an invisible force, but you can see the affect it has on objects. Normally if you have a metal ball on a paper plate, and you tip the paper plate up, the ball will roll off the side of the plate and onto the floor.

A magnet is something that produces another force, called magnetic force. This magnetic force is also invisible, but you can see the affect it has on objects. If you bring a metal ball near a magnet, the magnetic force will attract the ball and make it move towards the magnet. Magnetic force works through some objects, like paper plates. If you have a metal ball on a paper plate, and a magnet on the other side, and you tip the paper plate up, the ball has two forces working on it: gravity, which is trying to make the ball fall to the floor, and magnetic force, which is trying to attract the ball to the magnet. If your magnet is strong enough, magnetic force will win.

Extension Idea: Older kids might be able to use IT to design their own Christmas Tree mazes, which they could then print out and glue onto a paper plate or cardboard.  This would be a great way to incorporate technology into this activity, another of the STEM pillar subjects.

For more physics fun, you might like:

We also have lots more Christmas science ideas, including:

If you’re on Pinterest, check out our Christmas Science Projects for Kids board.

While you’re there, you might also like to follow our main Go Science Kids board, and our Fun Science for Kids and STEM for Girls boards too. We’re always pinning awesome science stuff!

And, of course, 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!

* This post contains affiliate link(s). An affiliate link means I may earn a referral fee or commission if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little project afloat. Thank you so much for your support. I was not obligated to write this post or mention any particular product. All opinions are my, or my kids’ own.

solid or liquid jelly jello gelatin scienceThis activity started out with my three year old daughter Bumble Bee asking if she could make jelly. Specifically, she wanted to make “jelly on a plate that wibble wobbles, just like the song“. Hmmm…. Jelly is a treat that we normally reserve for parties, but I figured if I could turn her jelly making experience into an edible science experiment exploring the difference between liquids and solids, then I might be able to justify serving it at home, just this once! Read More Solid or Liquid?

So, you know how we have a little obsession with tasty science activities right? Well, I was super excited when Mr GSK came home with both regular and champagne watermelon varieties from the shops recently, because I knew it would be perfect for a little edible science experiment to explore how we perceive taste. (Hint: we use much more than just our tastebuds!)

Champagne and regular watermelon slices

Suitable for

This would be a great science activity for little people, from toddlers, preschoolers to kindergarteners. Bumble Bee was 3 and Jewel was 5.5 years old when when we did this.

Read More Exploring Taste with Watermelon

Sweet vs Sour: confuse your taste buds with Miracle Berries. Fun taste science for kidsI first heard about Miracle Berries during a recent visit to Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre). Luckily our visit coincided with one of their live shows, Tasty Science, and we were first in line! (Which, given our obsession with edible science, is not surprising really…)

When they asked for volunteers, my hand shot up! And so this was how I was given the opportunity to try a West African berry called synsepalum dulcificum, (more commonly known as miracle fruit or miracle berries), that was totally able to fool my taste buds.

Fooling tastebuds - sense of taste science at Questacon
(That’s me in the blue and black zigzag dress, happily sucking away on a slice of lemon that tasted just like a lolly.)

Because the miracle fruit doesn’t travel very well, they’ve been dried and turned into a tablet form. Before we left Questacon, we bought a few miracle berry tablets from their museum store, so we could try this again at home. That way, Jewel and Bumble could try deceiving their taste buds too! Read More Sweet vs Sour: Confuse Your Taste Buds with Miracle Berries