baking,  cooking,  experiments,  science

Preschool Science: Exploring Baking Ingredients

I have always loved baking in the classroom because it’s one of those hands on activities where children get to be involved and see changes happen right before their eyes.  When I cook in the classroom I try to be super prepared so that things go smoothly.  This doesn’t leave much time to actually explore the ingredients.

If the children are extremely interested in the cooking experience I’ll make sure to give them extra opportunities to play with and manipulate the ingredients that we use.  Here are some of the ways that I introduce these to the children;

Ingredient jars: I love these little containers (they’re Tupperware)! The lids are difficult to get off, but if the children do open them the small amount of whatever you’ve put inside of them is easy to clean up.  The children can get a closer look at the ingredients without getting them everywhere and you can leave them on the shelf for them to explore for extended periods of time.

Compare and contrast on colored paper: So many white ingredients look the same after a quick glance, but when you put them on colored paper the differences are more obvious.  This photo shows salt, flour, and baking powder.  The children can see the different granules of salt, and explore how they sparkle in the sunlight, watch the clumps of flour break down in their fingertips, and feel the smooth texture of the baking powder.

You can also try putting out cookie sheets full of flour, salt, and sugar so that the children can really explore the textures of each ingredient and experiment with what happens when they get wet by dripping water on them with an eye dropper.

I love to introduce liquid ingredients too.  Their properties are so different from the dry powders that are so common in baking.  I place different amounts of liquid ingredients on sheets of aluminum foil and give the children popsicle sticks so that they can move the ingredients around with foil and mix them together without getting their hands oily or stick.

Here are some common baking ingredients that are interesting to explore:
Dry ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • Powdered sugar
  • Corn starch
  • Dry milk
  • Corn meal
Wet ingredients
  • Vegetable oil
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporated milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sweetened condensed milk
How do you extend your cooking experiences? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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