Like most kids, mine are full of questions. Doing science activities at home is a great way to start answering them. Today I’m sharing some classic science fun.
I’ve decided it’s time to start adding more science activities to our time together after school and on the weekends. I put together a list of classic science activities, and today I’m sharing activity #1. These are designed to use with kids ages 4-8.
We started with an activity that I knew the kids would love: Which snack food is the greasiest?
We talk a lot about healthy eating at our house. I try to prepare balanced meals for the kids, and we rarely have junk food in the house. (This is not because I don’t like junk food. It’s because I can’t leave it alone…) The kids were pretty excited when they saw me putting Cheetos and Combos into our shopping cart!
I also gathered some healthy food choices like popcorn, cheese, apples, and some packaged food with whole grains and little added sugar.
I explained to the kids that we’d be putting each snack food on a paper towel to see if it left any oil behind. We made predictions about whether each food would prove to be high or low in fat. To do this, we looked at food labels.
Hmm… only 5 grams of fat in a serving of Combos? That’s surprisingly low. Oh, wait… this bag is supposed to hold six servings!
We looked at the amount of fat in a slice of cheese. This was an opportunity to talk about healthy versus unhealthy fats.
As we talked about each food, we made our predictions. Would the snack food leave grease behind, revealing hidden fats? My Seven filled out a prediction card for each food.
We let the snack foods rest on the paper towels for about ten minutes. Of course, during that time we had to have a snack. Since our kids only get to have Cheetos at parties, pot lucks, or open houses, they were pretty pumped.
Now was the test! We dumped the snack food off each paper towel, one by one. First was the air-popped popcorn.
Of course, the Cheetos would be the real test.
Woah, look at that grease!
As it turned out, Cheetos were the only snack food that left oil on the paper towel. We were surprised that the Combos left no grease. Maybe because of the pretzel coating?
We talked about the fact that hidden fats are not the only sign of an unhealthy snack. A long list of ingredients, refined sugar and flour, and other factors can also make a snack unhealthy.
Other foods to try:
- corn chips
- rice cakes
- dried fruit
- french fries
- Compare the results of a particular food in three different brands.
- Dip snack foods in water and see how much of a floating oil slick they create.
When the snack food leaves behind a lot of oil, that means it’s high in fat. Like protein and carbohydrates, fat is a fuel our body needs. But too much of one particular kind of fuel is unhealthy. And while some fats are healthy for you, others hurt your body. It’s important to balance unhealthy fats with fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. We can make healthier food choices by reading food labels and choosing foods with a short ingredient list.
Stay tuned for more science fun!
If you’re looking for step by step science experiments to do with your kids, I highly recommend Time for Kids’ Big Book of Science Experiments. I’m about to renew it from the library for the third time!