Have you ever gotten “the grocery store” as an answer to “where does orange juice come from?”
I have, and many more amazing places where my children thought food came from. Imagine their surprise to learn that dirt made the tomatoes in their lunch! Wow, right?
Making butter from heavy cream helps children participate in the process of preparing food that needs to be changed either in its state, or in its composition. Either way, it is a fantastic way to own a friendly “butter chef” title by doing something so simple. We eventually got the conversation revolving around molecules but I don’t know how much of that part is still there.
The fun in shaking the bottle, or tossing it from one pair of hands to another was indescribable. Waiting for the sound of the marbles to disappear was the “self-timer” in this case. This indicated that the butter was ready to be enjoyed. At one point, one of the boys wanted to open the container but we could still hear the marbles. Well, that was also part of the learning: too runny. And, before you know it, we were re-enacting the three little bears: “too runny, too hard, just right.”
The process, while simple, is complex with beautiful layers of learning and “connecting the dots,” or molecules, if you will. Yes, you guessed it: science in action and potential for experimenting, too. What other food items can we put butter on? Is ‘home made’ butter good for making muffins, too? What makes the heavy cream thicken? What if there were no butter in this world? How was butter invented? Where does is really come from? Will water turn into cream if we shake it in a bottle?
Labeling your containers is a great way for children to see writing in action and what it means to be able to ‘name’ jars, shelves, food, etc.
Enjoy your next toast or cracker with butter made from ‘butter chefs.’ Hopefully, by the end of this experience, your children will know ‘who makes the butter on your cracker!’
Set-Up for Episode #8:
- Heavy Cream – organic tends to work best
- Small plastic container – make sure it has a tight lid
- Marbles – ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TAKE THEM OUT BEFORE YOU ENJOY YOUR FRESHLY MADE BUTTER
- Your child’s favorite cracker/bread
Children will get tired if you use a container that’s larger than their hands. I found this measure to be effective and quick to give them the results they were waiting for. The more marbles, the better, or course. In this episode, two seemed to be a good quantity for the size of the container. It took fifteen minutes to get the cream into a butter state. Remember to refrigerate after the feast and you will be a happy camper. Some children like to add a bit of salt as well.
You can also have fun ‘timing the timer.’ The butter will be ready when you can no longer hear the marbles juggling around inside the container. However, we don’t measure time by counting marbles, or sticking them in things to wait until they don’t make any noise. We don’t say it’s three o’marbles either – children think this is really funny, for some reason. So you can set a chronometer to measure the amount of time that it will take the butter to be ready. Great way to talk about how seconds, minutes and hours are all part of ‘counting’ time.
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