Category: Taste-safe

Fun science ideas that are non-toxic and taste-safe.

What happens when you add pineapple to jelly / Jello? Fun edible science experiment for kids!

Taste testing the jelly

Have you noticed on your packet of jelly (or Jell-O as my North American friends call it), that there’s usually a small note that says “Do not add fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit or paw paw as jelly will not set.” Well, we noticed, and of course, we became intrigued!

But turning our curiosity into a pineapple & jelly science experiment was actually my 10 year old daughter Jewel’s idea. I suspect she:
a) wanted to make jelly
b) was intrigued by the warning label on the box, and
c) thought that suggesting a science experiment would be a good persuasive argument for why she should be allowed to make (and eat) a sweet treat! (She’s been learning about persuasive arguments at school…)

Well, she does know how best to convince me. 🙂

 

Suitable for

Playing with food is fun for all ages, especially if it ends in deliciousness! With slight modifications, this activity could work for anything from preschoolers or tweens!

These instructions below are for older kids, but if you did want to try this with little ones, you could modify by using ‘hot to touch’ (rather than boiling) water and cutting fruit and candy for them.

Making jelly

But first, let me clarify something that can be a little confusing. What we call jelly in Australia, is the same thing that North Americans call jello (or Jell-O). So, when I say jelly, I’m referring to jelly as a jiggly dessert, and not jelly as a spreadable fruit preserve (which. incidentally, Australians call jam). OK? Sorry about that, it’s an Australian / American / British English language thing…

Anyhoo, onto the experiment! 

How to experiment with jelly and fruit (and candy)

Read More What happens if you add Pineapple to Jelly (or Jell-O)?

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

Create cool mushroom spore prints! Fun nature science activity that kids can do at home.

How to make a mushroom spore print - nature science for kids

Did you know you can make a natural spore print from a mushroom? Like, really easily? So awesome!

Suitable for

Try this as a nature science activity for preschoolers or kindergarteners. My 4.5 year old daughter Bumble Bee thought this was the coolest thing ever!

Older kids might also like to try scraping off some spores and studying them under a microscope afterwards.

How to make a mushroom spore print

You can actually make a spore print with any mushroom, and apparently different mushrooms have different coloured spores and create different patterns, which is so awesome.

We decided to use a large field mushroom (also called portobella or open cap mushroom) since we’d bought one from the store earlier that day.

We used:

  • a large field mushroom
  • a sharp knife
  • a piece of white paper
  • water
  • hairspray

Step 1: Buy a mushroom that has its gills mostly protected (or if its gills are exposed, try to choose one that’s as fresh as possible).

Note: if you’re going to pick a wild mushroom, don’t eat it unless you know its not poisonous! And please wash your hands carefully afterwards.

Field mushroom

Step 2: Cut off the lower portion of the mushroom, exposing the gills. This should also ensure that the stem is flush with the underside.

If it’s a store-bought mushroom, see if your kids will snack on the off-cuts. Bumble Bee thought it was delicious! (Somehow food always tastes better when you’re playing with it, don’t you think?)

Cutting the rim off a field mushroom

Step 3: Place the top section of the mushroom gill-side down on a piece of paper.  (We used regular printer paper, but I think slightly thicker paper would have been better. We’ll try that next time.)

Step 4: Add a few drops of water to the top of the mushroom cap to encourage the spores to drop. Cover with an upside-down box, and set it aside somewhere where it won’t be disturbed. Leave overnight.

Add a few drops of water to the top of the mushroom

Step 5: The next day, gently lift the box and the mushroom, and you should see a beautiful spore print on the paper underneath!

Mushroom spore print

Each individual spore is incredibly teeny tiny, but on mass they look really impressive. I love the way you can clearly see the shape of the gills. Isn’t it fascinating!

Mushroom spore print - fun nature science for kids

If you want to preserve your spore print, you can spray it with hairspray and let dry.

Or if you’d rather study the spores under a microscope, you can scrape off some of the spores with a needle, and place the spores on a microscope slide. Place a drop of water on the spores and cover with a cover slip. (We haven’t tried this yet – but I’m super keen to do this next time!)

Biology for kids - making mushroom spore prints

Depending on how hot and humid your house was overnight, you might even be able to eat the rest of the mushroom! Mmmm, grilled mushroom on toast anyone?

Making field mushroom spore prints

 Mushroom Facts

Mushrooms are part of a larger group of organisms known as fungi. Fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.

Most fungi reproduce by releasing tiny spores that then germinate (sprout) and grow into a new fungus.

Mushroom spores are tiny, and can only be seen individually with a microscope. On a mature mushroom, thousands of spores can grow on just one gill!

Different mushrooms have different coloured spores, Mushroom spores can be white, brown, black, or many shades in between!

Find more information about making spore prints from different types of mushrooms here.

Make a mushroom spore print - nature science for kids

This only the second time we’ve tried making a spore print. So far we’ve found it a fun and easy process. It’s making me keen to try making spore prints from different types of mushrooms, and maybe even make a mushroom spore print craft! Stay tuned!

Nature science - make a mushroom spore print

We’ve got lots more ideas on our Nature Science Activities page, including:

You might also like to follow our Go Science Kids and Fun Science for Kids boards on Pinterest.

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!

How to make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal fir tree ornament – fun winter or Christmas science project.

Explore salt crystalisation and make a cool winter snow fir tree - fun crystal science for kids

Have you ever had that icky feeling, when you do something really cool with your eldest, but you can’t involve your youngest because it isn’t age appropriate yet?

And no matter how hard you try to make it up to your youngest, it still feels like they’re being left out of all the fun?

Yup, that’s how I’ve been feeling about crystals.

Making crystals is cool. It’s impressive to transform something from one form into another, especially when the new form is sparkly, faceted and gem-like.

How to make a 'Snowy' crystal tree - crystal science project for kids

My eldest daughter Jewel and I have made a bunch of pretty, sparkly, faceted Borax crystals, but so far my three year old daughter Bumble Bee hasn’t been allowed to join in.

So Bumble Bee was very happy that, this time, she got to try out a new way to play with crystals, which only uses everyday materials I’m happy for her to handle. And because this new way creates a beautiful, hazy, snowy effect, we decided to try making snow-covered fir trees.

We’re planning to use these as a science-themed Christmas ornament to hang on our tree.

Snowy fir tree Christmas ornament made with salt crystals

Read More Make a ‘snowy’ salt crystal tree