Edible Science is a fun theme for a do it yourself program any time of the year, and works well to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) as well as Makerspace concepts. Using food and other household items can empower families to replicate these activities at home. Special thanks to Uyen Tran for suggesting this topic for an arts and game program, and for offering some of the activities.
Reach out to the local high school service clubs to obtain teen volunteers. You should have two helpers at each craft or game to assist younger children, and to make sure kids share and don’t eat all of the candy!
Refreshments – Fresh fruit is always a healthy snack; partner with a local food bank or farmers’ market to obtain donations. Popcorn is good, too; have a volunteer explain why popcorn pops! www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-makes-popcorn-pop .
Display – Display science experiment books and cookbooks side by side, to reinforce the concept that cooking involves both math and science.
Icebreaker – Offer bubbles to show children how much fun science is, but also showing not all of the items used at the program should be eaten!
Edible Butterfly Life Cycle: Make these simple diagrams of a butterfly’s life cycle out of food, candy, and a paper plate: www.science-sparks.com/edible-butterfly-life-cycle/ .
Edible Soil Layers: Using a clear plastic cup and some candy, butterscotch and chocolate chips, Oreo cookies, and coconut to make a diagram of soil layers: http://blog.learningresources.com/diy-earth-day-edible-soil-layers/ .
Edible Plate Techtonics: Use canned frosting, graham crackers, and rice cakes to make these models of plate techtonics: http://girlstart.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/5.Edible-Plate-Tectonics.pdf .
Gumdrop Structures: Make structures using gumdrops and toothpicks: https://thehomeschoolscientist.com/gumdrop-structures-engineering-challenge/#.VNuTcP-9KrU .
Mars Rover: Make models of the Mars Rover using graham crackers, marshmallows, Reese’s small peanut butter cups for wheels, as seen here: http://librarymakers.blogspot.com/2014/09/summer-special-edible-mars-rover.html .
DNA Model: Using toothpicks, marshmallows, and licorice, make DNA models: www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Edible-DNA-Model .
Oreo phases of the Moon: Children will learn the proper names for the phases of the moon, and enjoy eating part of these cookies! https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/oreo-moon-phases/.
Solar Ovens to make S’mores: This only works outside on sunny days but is worth doing! https://desertchica.com/diy-solar-oven-smores-kids-science-experiment/ .
Fake Snot Slime: Kids learn about polymers when making this slime out of gelatin, corn syrup, and food coloring: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/fake-snot-edible-gelatin-slime-science-activity/ .
Edible Silly Putty: Make this slime-like silly putty using corn starch and sugar-free jello: https://thesoccermomblog.com/edible-silly-putty/#wprm-recipe-container-17429 .
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool