Kids love to cook even if the final product isn’t edible! Cooking with your child can provide a wonderful opportunity to explore physical science concepts. After all, these culinary experiences allow your child to make observations about ingredients before and after cooking and to make predictions about the final product. In this activity, your kindergarten kid will conduct a color mixing experiment to discover which primary colors are mixed to make the secondary colors. One warning: this concoction doesn’t taste that great … but it definitely looks cool anyway!
Heavy duty plastic baggies (freezer type works well)
Red, yellow, and blue food coloring
Stove or hot plate for adult use only
What You Do:
Show your child the ingredients you’ve assembled for your project. Ask her to describe each ingredient (are they solids or liquids?). Allow your child to help you measure the following ingredients as you place them in the pot. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1 cup cornstarch. Add 4 cups of cold water. Heat the mixture on medium heat until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Allow the mixture to cool. Encourage your child to describe the appearance of the mixture before and after it is cooked.
Once the mixture is cool, divide it equally into the 3 small bowls. Allow your child to add food coloring (one color per bowl) until the mixtures reach the color intensity desired.
Give your child a plastic baggie and tell her that she can select two colors to mix together. Let her use the spoons to place equal amounts of two primary colors of stew in the baggie. Make sure to have your child tell you which colors she is mixing.
Help your child seal the baggie tightly. Then have her knead the baggie to mix the colors to make a new color of rainbow stew. Ask her to tell you the name of the new color she made. You may even want to provide her with paper and markers or crayons to record her work. You may want to help your child write sentences such as: red and blue make purple; red and yellow make orange, etc.
Let your child mix the other colors until she has made all secondary colors. Allow her to display her rainbow stew baggies to showcase her color mixing work.
For a neat extension, try mixing varying amounts of the primary colors in order to create different shades of each secondary color.
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.