Kitchen experiments with the kids – just the thing for half-term

Edible slime, jelly worms, ‘unicorn noodles’: what better way to entertain children than by making a mess in the name of science?

The last time I did science in the home with an 11-year-old, something happened that I can’t tell you about until the person whose chair it was has died. That is my abiding conclusion about the natural sciences: they stain, and don’t let anybody ever tell you they won’t.

Nevertheless, I have just undertaken science in the kitchen – nudged by a new book, The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Michelle Dickinson – because I have exhausted all the other ways of getting them to join me there. “This dish reminds me of evenings spent making bechamel with my mother, her apron brushing against my cheek as we spake of fat and its magical alchemy,” said every cookbook ever, but my parenting is much more in the Johnny Ball style: “Kids, you can’t teach them anything, but they learn everything from you.” I’m still in phase one: they will not touch my wisdom with a bargepole. C, 11, will enter the kitchen for anything that ends in a cake, but then we just end up with a load of cake. H, nine, will promise me the moon on a stick, then get distracted by a bee. T, 11, thinks it is emasculating to crack an egg. It wasn’t for the science that I tried a new tack; it was just for the company. Plus it was half-term, and you have to keep them occupied somehow.

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