Learn How to Make Butter Simple Science for Preschoolers – Last week we were making butter in a jar with marbles all while my little preschoolers were having the time of their life with this STEAM activity. Food + Science = Fun!
How to Make Butter Simple Science for Preschoolers
I think this STEAM activity for preschoolers was one for the books and to add to the top of the list! When I can combine food + science it always makes for a fun learning activity.
Materials needed to make butter
Glass- pint jar
Lid for jar
Heavy Whipping Cream ( 8 oz at room temperature)
and that’s it!!!! I told you it was simple!
Process for Making Homemade Butter
- Let your preschooler pour the heavy whipping cream (room temperature so it doesn’t take as long to make the butter!) into the pint size jar.
- Drop the two marbles into the jar with heavy whipping cream. The marbles aren’t essential but it sure does help agitate through the process…you’ll hear them shaking in there, which is cool too. We learned this trick from Playdough to Plato
- Close lid tightly onto the jar.
- Pass the jar to your preschooler and let them start shaking…it’s fun…and teacher/mom you’ll have to take a few turns in there too, unless you are passing it around a group of preschoolers! You’ll begin to hear the marbles less…which means the process is coming along nicely.
- After about 1-2 minutes of shaking open up the jar and you should start seeing whipped cream…you are making progress! They’ll have to have a taste test…then close the jar back up and…
- Keep shaking the jar.
- You’ll begin to hear more of a thump where the whipped cream has solidified into butter. You should now have a solid mass!
- We put the lid back on and shook for another minute. The fat in the cream continued to clump together forming butter as we shook but now the buttermilk began to separate out.
- The preschoolers couldn’t wait to taste the butter but first we had to rinse it. We carefully took turns pouring off the buttermilk. You can save the buttermilk for cooking but my little scientist were too curious and wanted to taste it.
- I then scraped the clump of butter into a medium sized bowl and removed the two marbles for rinsing. The goal of rinsing the solid mass aka butter is to remove any buttermilk trapped in your butter to prevent spoiling.
- Let the kids gently kneaded the butter to remove the buttermilk. When the water became cloudy we dumped the water and repeated until the water remained clear. The cold water helped to keep the butter from melting while kneading. It took about 4 or 5 rinses.
- We added a little salt and taste tested on a cracker! Science sure tastes good!
The Science Behind Making Butter
Heavy cream is milk that contains a high percentage (35% or more) of milk fat in the form of fat globules. Fat globules are microscopic membranes filled with fat molecules. When shaken the membranes smash into each other and burst spilling out the fat molecules.
Why doesn’t this mix? Because fat and water don’t mix, so as the fat molecules burst from the membranes they seek out other fat molecules.
At first not enough globules have burst and the fat molecules have to align themselves with somewhat neutral air molecules that have been forced into the cream as it’s been shaken. When this happens, the air becomes trapped in the cream and whipped cream is formed.
As you continue to shake the whipped cream, more globules burst and the freed fat can now clump together with other fat molecules. The once fluffy whipped cream releases the trapped air and the fat solidifies into butter while the liquid buttermilk separates out.
Simply agitating whipping cream can take it from…
liquid to foam
to a solid and liquid.
Science is simply delicious in its many forms!
Simple SCIENCE ACTIVITIES for Preschoolers:
We are a husband and wife team, pairing our strengths together to teach our preschooler in the most fun and engaging way we possibly can. The mister is a high school educator at Northlake Christian school in Covington Louisiana and over the Innovation Center, which is all things STEAM. I am a SAHM that blogs pretty much everything we do in our little paradise, from what we eat, to where we travel to how we teach our little one. We hope you are inspired to incorporate STEAM into learning with your children.