Six Quick Experiments to Make With Food & Other Household Items
written by: SunnyGriffis
• edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• updated: 6/6/2012
You will probably find these simple ingredients at home in your kitchen cupboard. Try these three chemistry experiments at home!
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All you need is a few simple ingredients to conduct home chemistry experiments. The following experiments require only a few common kitchen items that you likely already have on hand. The end result is both fascinating and edible!
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Quicksand is a mesmerizing substance and know you can create a home version of it. To conduct this experiment, collect 2 cups of cornmeal, 1 cup of water, a container to mix it in, and a spoon.
Stir to mix the ingredients, which will create instant quicksand. Stir at different tempos, and notice how the cornmeal and water react. Stirring rapidly causes the mixture to thicken, while stirring slowly allows the cornmeal and water to separate. For a supplemental art project, try adding a few drops of food coloring to the cornmeal to create beautiful colors and let the cornmeal dry. Have your students use the colored cornmeal to glue onto paper to create “sand art."
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Casein is the protein in milk. It’s used to make cheese. You can make homemade cheese with this quick home chemistry experiment. Set out a cup of whole milk, a tablespoon of white vinegar, and some salt. You’ll also need a bowl, and a strainer of some kind, such as cheesecloth, a sieve, or netting.
To conduct the experiment, watch carefully as you pour the vinegar into the milk. Stir gently, and notice how the vinegar reacts with the milk. The milk will begin separating into casein, or cheese, and whey. Strain the mixture and salt to the cheese to taste. Add a small amount of yellow food coloring if desired. Other variations on this experiment include using lemon juice instead of vinegar, varying the amount of vinegar used, and using different types of milk, such a skim milk and 2 percent milk.
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Lemonade Soda Chemistry
Make a fun, healthier version of lemon soda with this home chemistry experiment. The items needed for this science experiment include 1 whole lemon, one-third cup of water, 1 tsp. of baking soda, and sweetener of choice.
Squeeze the lemon into a cup, and then add the water. Add the baking soda and watch the immediate carbon dioxide reaction. Add a little sweetener to taste, such as honey, sugar, or stevia. The chemical reaction that results from this experiment is a welcome change from the classic baking soda and vinegar carbon dioxide demonstrations.
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Carbon Dioxide Dance Experiement
Try demonstrating the properties of carbon dioxide by making raisins or dried blueberries “dance." To begin, fill a cup halfway with water. Add two teaspoons of baking soda and stir well. Then add your blueberries to the glass, which will initially sink to the bottom. Next, slowly add vinegar to the mixture. The blueberries will slowly begin to dance.
The vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide bubbles will adhere to the surface of the blueberries, causing them to float and dance. To further expand the experiment, try using substituting various items for the blueberries, to see which items float and which remain unaffected. Alternatively, you can use soda which is already carbonated, instead of the baking soda and vinegar.
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The Magic Bottle
Delve into the concept of air pressure by trying a simple experiment using just a few items. You'll be wowed by the end result! Begin by placing a peeled, hard-boiled egg on top of a glass bottle with an opening smaller than the diameter of the egg.
With adult supervision, use matches or a lighter to ignite a thin strip of newspaper. Remove the egg from the bottle, place the burning paper inside, and then quickly replace the egg on top of the bottle. After a few moments, the flame will go out due to lack of oxygen. As the bottle cools, the pressure on the inside of the bottle becomes less than the pressure on the outside. The outside pressure forces the egg inside the bottle.
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Slime, Goop & Gak
Make slime with borax and school glue. Borax helps connect the molecules of the glue, which results in a slime that’s interesting and fun to play with.
To try this experiment, mix one tablespoon of borax into a cup of water and stir well. Mix a quarter cup of water and a quarter cup of school glue in a separate container. Place a half cup of the borax solution and all of the glue mixture into a disposable plastic bag and add a few drops of food coloring for a fun effect. Seal the bag and knead the mixture. It will soon gel and be ready for playing.