Most preschoolers love to help their parents in the kitchen. In this activity, your child gets to be the chef while she learns about how heat changes food. On the next warm and sunny day, head outdoors to make an outside oven with your child. After the food is “cooked”, you will have a yummy treat to enjoy together.
Cover the inside of both bowls with aluminum foil.
Put two marshmallows on each skewer. Be careful that your child does not poke herself with the sharp ends. You can cut off the pointed ends after the marshmallows are on the skewers.
Take your child outside and ask her to find the sunniest place in the yard. To make sure that animals do not disturb the experiment, place one bowl on the chair in the sun. Have your child look at the bowl with foil and ask her if the light looks any brighter on the bowl. Talk about how the aluminum foil reflects the sun and makes the rays hotter.
Have her put the skewer with the marshmallows across the top of the bowl. Make sure that the bottom of the marshmallow is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
Ask your child to find a shady spot in the yard. Put another marshmallow on a skewer and set it across the second bowl. Place the bowl on a chair in the shady spot.
In about 15 minutes, have your child check on the bowls. Depending on the temperature outside, you may need to wait another 15 minutes. Have her check on the sunny spot and the shady spot. Talk about any differences in the two marshmallows.
When the marshmallow begins to melt, ask her why the marshmallow in the sun melted before the marshmallow in the shade. Ask her if she can feel the difference in the temperature of the two spots.
When the marshmallow is soft and gooey, let your child eat the marshmallows. To make s'mores, put a small piece of chocolate on the graham cracker and put the marshmallow on top of the chocolate. Put another piece of chocolate and a graham cracker on top of the marshmallow. Enjoy the tasty treat that your child cooked while experimenting with science along the way!