By: Robin Lundgren
Beat the heat by making some ice pops with your kids! When temperatures soar, there is no better way to cool off than with an icy treat. And your kids can learn a little about how things freeze and melt, making this activity tasty and educational!
What you need…
-Variety of beverages to freeze
-Small paper cups
-2 very ripe bananas
-10 very ripe strawberries
What to do…
1. Have your child choose a couple of different beverages to freeze to make his ice pops. Ask him why he picked the ones he did. Which one is the sweetest? Which one does he think will taste the best?
2. Discuss with your child how long she thinks it will take for the beverages she has chosen to freeze. Does she think they will all freeze in the same amount of time? Why or why not?
3. Help your child carefully pour the drinks he has chosen into the small paper cups, filling the cups two-thirds full.
4. Ask your child to cover the top of each cup tightly with plastic wrap.
5. Have your child watch as you gently poke a small hole in the center of the plastic wrap that is covering each cup.
6. Instruct your child to gently push a craft stick through each hole and into the liquid in the cup. Discuss what would happen if you did not have the plastic wrap covering the top of the cup. What would happen to the craft stick?
7. Have your child place the filled paper cups into the freezer.
8. Next, have him peel the bananas and cut them into slices, using the plastic knife.
9. Have your child observe as you slice the strawberries, using the sharp knife.
10. Instruct your child to place the sliced bananas and strawberries into the blender. Ask her how she thinks the fruit will change after being blended.
11. Turn on the blender and encourage your child to watch as the bananas and strawberries are blended together.
12. Let your child pour or spoon the mixture into small paper cups, again filling only 2/3 of the way.
13. Have your child cover these cups tightly with the plastic wrap, as he did before. Poke holes in the center of the wrap covering each cup and have him push craft sticks through each hole and into the blended fruit.
14. Ask your child to add these cups to the others in the freezer.
15. Encourage your child to check on her ice pops every 30 minutes until they are frozen.
16. Ask your child if he knows how he can make his frozen ice pop into a liquid again. Encourage him to leave one of his ice pops out at room temperature. What does he think will happen?
17. Gather the family together to enjoy your child’s delicious frozen treat!
Making ice pops is an experiment touches on science in many ways. Kids observe and learn how things change from liquid to solid and back again. They also learn to make predictions about what will happen in each stage of this experiment, based on what they already know and what they think will happen. Challenge older kids to do a little research and experimentation to find out how the amount of sugar or carbonation in a beverage impacts freezing. Math skills such as estimation and fractions are also used, as children practice filling the cups two-thirds of the way full.
Robin Lundgren is a writer and Vice President of Aquarian Entertainment.
Looking to experience Hand On Science activities right here in our own area? Visit www.TheChildrensScienceCenter.org, where you and your children can “Explore, Create, Inspire.” The Children’s Science Center (CSC) is committed to building a place where children can grow in their love of learning.