Growing Reader

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Aha! Fun and Yummy Science Experiments Kids Can Do at Home

by Dena McMurdie

Photo credit: Rebecca Nelson, Moment Select/Getty Images

Summer break is looming and if you’re wondering how to handle ten weeks of bored kids, I’ve got a suggestion — science! There isn’t a kid on the planet that doesn’t enjoy a good science experiment, and these books are jam-packed with hands-on activities that will engage your children for hours.

Scroll down for some scrumptious science to try at home!


Scrumptious Science to Try at Home: Ice Cream in a Bag!

Did you know that making your own ice cream is fun, easy, and a great lesson in science? Grab your kids, a few supplies, and shake up a bag or two of this yummy activity.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 quart-sized freezer bag
  • 1 gallon-sized freezer bag
  • 5 cups ice
  • 1/2 cup salt (rock salt works best)
  • Bowl and spoon (for eating your science experiment)

Recommended Items:

  • A friend
  • A small towel
  • Sprinkles or other ice cream toppings

What to Do:

  1. Measure your sugar, vanilla, and cream into the quart-sized freezer bag and swish around until mixed together.how-to-make-ice-cream
  2. Pressing out all the air, seal the quart-sized bag and place it inside the gallon-sized freezer bag. how-to-make-ice-cream-2
  3. Dump the ice and the salt into the gallon-sized freezer bag and seal it. how-to-make-ice-cream-3
  4. Shake the bag. You will have to shake it for a few minutes, so have a friend close by to take turns with. You can wrap the bag in a small towel to protect yourself from cold fingers and wet clothes. how-to-make-ice-cream-4
  5. After you’ve shaken the bag until your arms feel like jelly, pull the quart-sized bag out and give it a test squish. If it feels solid, move on to step six. If not, keep shaking. how-to-make-ice-cream-5
  6. Once your ice cream is firm, cut the bottom corner off the quart sized bag and squeeze the ice cream into a bowl. how-to-make-ice-cream-6
  7. Add sprinkles or the ice cream topping of your choice and enjoy! how-to-make-ice-cream-7

 

How Does It Work?

Have you ever noticed that air gets a teensy bit warmer right when it starts to snow? That’s because water needs to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) in order to freeze. Rain drops release heat as they turn into snowflakes, warming the air around them.

Ice cream works the same way. In order for the cream to harden, its temperature needs to dip below freezing. The quickest way to do that is for something else to draw heat out of it. That’s where the salt comes in. Salt melts ice (that’s why we spread salt on frozen roads in winter). The ice warms up, stealing the heat it needs to melt from the cream. Meanwhile, the cream releases its heat and freezes into a tasty treat.

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How to Make Ice Cream

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What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Let us know in the comments!