Boy, these kids are hungry! Between e-learning, craft time, and those daily walks, your children always seem up for something on which to munch.
Next time they stroll into the kitchen asking the famous “what can I eeeaaat?” question, try some of these STEM-inspired snacks. Nothing unique about these ingredients either – you’ll most likely have what’s listed here hanging around the house. Talk about real BRAIN food!
Root Beer Floats: Solid, Liquid, Gas!
You won’t have any trouble convincing kids to try this classic. All you need is:
- Vanilla ice cream
- One can of root beer
- A big mug or cup (clear is best)
- Some little bowls to separate your matter
Place one scoop of ice cream in the mug, then pour the root beer on top.
The reaction is immediate! There are bubbles everywhere. Next, we see that scoop of ice cream float right to the top.
So what is happening? All states of matter are represented in this snack:
Root beer = Liquid
Ice Cream = Solid
Carbon Dioxide Bubbles = Gas
The root beer is carbonated, so when it comes in contact with the ice cream, carbonated dioxide bubbles are released. Also, the liquid root beer helps free the air bubbles that are trapped in the solid ice cream. That makes the ice cream float, float, FLOAT to the top!
Grape, Apple, or Cheese Structures
A STEM snack mainstay, this activity gets your little ones thinking like little engineers that could. You will need:
- Lots of toothpicks
- Cut up snacks of “fortitude” like grapes, apples, or cheese
When putting together structures like this, it gets children thinking in two ways:
- What to make?
- How to improve on something you’ve already made?
Engineering shapes and structures like these helps with dexterity, grasp, and coordination, no matter the age.
As they build, remind kids that failure is definitely an option. Their shapes may shift and their towers may topple, but that will teach them how to solve the structural problem. Attempts to rebuild are simply lessons from the first, second, or third try.
Math Sorting Snack
This is how we play with our food! For the younger set, print out this number “place mat”.
Have children fill in in the circles with their favorite cereal, fruit snack, or whatever small food they like. Fine motor and counting skills are practiced during snack time!
Goldfish: More, Less, or Equal?
Goldfish are a pantry staple and just ripe with counting, sorting, and graphing possibilities. For this specific activity, you will need:
- Goldfish crackers
- A printout or sheet
- Less than, greater than, and equal signs (we used felt)
- Two dice
For this game, simply print out a sheet with boxes, or handwrite the title and boxes on construction paper. With your pile of fishy crackers at hand, roll each dice and place in the box.
Count out the crackers and place under the dice. Compare the number of fish, and identify which has more, less, or whether they are equal in number. (Tell children the greater than/less than symbol represents a shark mouth. The open side will always show toward the bigger amount – the shark wants to eat as many fish as he can!)
Make Your Own Ice Cream
The creation of ice cream is actually a scientific, step-by-step process. Maybe mix up a bag of this sweet treat one night after family dinner!
- 1 cup of half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 cups ice
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- Gallon-sized bags
- Sandwich-sized bags
- Ice cream toppings of your choice
Using the sandwich-sized baggie, combine the half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla. Be sure to combine it well by shaking it, and then squeeze out the extra air and seal it well.
Place the ice in the gallon-sized baggie and add the salt. The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes. This bag of salt ice will melt even when the temperature is below the normal freezing point of water. This is the same principle in the wintertime when trucks put salt on slick, icy roads.
Place the small bag into the ice-filled bag. Shake it vigorously for 7-10 minutes. You might need a towel or oven mitts when you shake the bag because it becomes so cold. All this shaking is a great way to get out some energy!
Check ice cream to see if its consistency has hardened.
Ready to eat! If you tried this experiment without the salt, the liquid would have remained in that liquid state simply because the ice wasn’t cold enough.
This looks good enough to eat! Happy STEM Snacking!