Kids love science and this is one activity that also provides a sensory taste sensation that some might really enjoy.
Here is a basic recipe in how to make sherbet. There can be some confusion between sherbet, sherbert and sorbet but as I understand it (and as a child growing up in Australia) sherbet is a light and sugary powder that can be enjoyed by itself and is tingly on the tongue. Great fun!
I had found a recipe online that included bi-carbonate soda, however, I didn’t think it tastes as nice so instead I simplified it and improved its taste. It also meant that it was only going to take 2 ingredients to make.
Recommended age: 2.5 years +
(I always recommend active adult supervision on all my activities)
You will need –
- Soft icing sugar
- Citric acid for baking
- Jelly crystals (optional)
This recipe couldn’t be simpler for children make. Add 3 teaspoons of soft icing sugar to a medium sized bowl. Next add 1 teaspoon of citric acid. If you wish for your sherbet to be flavoured you might choose to add 2 teaspoons of raw jelly (or Jell-o) crystals. Another fun addition might be to include some popping candy or 100s & 1000s, which can often be purchased from supermarkets or cake stores.
Product variations – There seems to be some variations to the names of products according to different countries. As far as I can research, icing sugar can also be called ‘sugar powder’ and citric acid can be called ‘sour salt’. All these products should be available at your grocery store and found in the baking aisle.
Storing and serving – I choose to store it in zip lock bags and only serve out small half teaspoon sized serves to children in tiny 30ml plastics cups.
I absolutely love ‘cooking’ with Possum (aged 2.5 years). She gets to see me measure ingredients and understand that there is purpose behind what we are doing and we are working towards a goal, that is to make sherbet.
Sometimes it can be tricky for little ones to get involved in cooking because they don’t have the muscle strength to stir stiff batter and naturally an adult needs to come along (aka take over) and make sure it has been given a thorough mixing. Children have no trouble mixing this recipe together because the simple ingredients are light and easily combined.
I chose to make a flavoured variety of sherbet and simply added the well measured jelly crystals.
If you are familiar with sherbet you will know what a fizzy explosion it causes in the mouth. This would be Possum’s first ever sensory experience of tasting sherbet and I had a good feeling I’d know how she would react…..
This picture makes me giggle. Possum had never experienced such a sensory experience in her mouth before and she loved it of course and was soon asking for more! LOL
Serving Size – I would only recommend offering children half a teaspoon of sherbet mixture over a 24 hour period. Having them lick a clean finger and dipping it into the sherbet will usually pace children’s consumption of this fizzy mixture. Always have children clean their teeth afterwards.
The science of what makes sherbet fizz
Typically when the citric acid and bi-carbonate mix together with the saliva in the mouth it releases a gas, which causes a fizzy chemical reaction. A similar fizzy reaction can be achieved with just the use of citric acid and saliva. The icing sugar sweetens the mixture.
Making sherbet is a fun and engaging science activity for children and what adds to it’s ‘awesomeness’ is the fact that it’s an edible science activity. Here is another post that might interest you about making sherbet. Kids over the age of 2.5 years will love making it and tasting the fizzy sensation on their tongue.