Projects that require accurate measurements and chemical reactions are awesome for kids because they’re educational, but mostly just fun!
This recipe for edible water bubbles is perfect for teachers, parents and babysitters on a rainy day. It requires super accurate measurements, so you’ll want to use a digital scale to weigh your ingredients rather than measure the volume of them with measuring cups. Most kids are more accustomed to using measuring cups, so mixing it up and using something else allows them to see there are different ways to put a recipe together. A fun project like edible water bubbles is a great way of teaching kids something new.
Plus, weighing ingredients actually provides a more accurate amount than measuring by volume. These edible bubbles are actually a product of molecular gastronomy, a type of food science that changes or forms edible substances based on chemical reactions. When dealing with chemistry, even when it’s simple, it’s crucial to have the precise amount of each ingredient present— no more, no less. Measuring cups can give inaccurate measurements, and your bubbles may not turn out the way you want them to. That’s why we use digital scales to weigh ingredients instead.
Use the Right Tools
Science or food projects, especially with younger kids, can get messy really fast. If they weren’t educational, they probably would never happen. Weighing ingredients can be risky especially if liquids are involved, because some scales aren’t resistant to water and can be ruined. So, for this experiment we recommend a waterproof scale like the Wave washdown scale. This way, you don’t have to worry about the kids making a mess and splashing water all over the place. The Wave can be cleaned right under running water— a major win if you’re a parent.
Once you have your waterproof digital scale ready and calibrated, you can gather up your materials and get to experimenting!
Calcium Lactate powder
Sodium Alginate powder
Water (filtered tastes best, but tap is fine)
Food coloring (optional)
Digital food scale
1 large bowl
1 medium bowl
Tablespoon sized measuring spoon
How to Make Edible Water Bubbles
- The first step is to make the sodium alginate solution. Blend 1 gram sodium alginate in 1 cup of water (add food coloring if desired) in a small bowl with an immersion blender. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until there are no air bubbles and solution is crystal clear.
- While sodium alginate solution is resting, mix 5 grams calcium lactate in 4 cups of water with a spoon or spatula until completely dissolved.
- Now comes the fun part!! Making your first edible water bubble. Scoop a tablespoon full of the sodium alginate solution and gently lower into the calcium lactate bath. Tip the spoon slowly so the bubble won’t break. Gently stir the calcium lactate bath for 2-3 minutes until bubbles have a jelly-like surface and don’t break when touched. It takes a bit of practice to get perfectly shaped bubbles, so keep trying!
- Fill a bowl with water about two thirds full. Gently remove bubbles from calcium lactate bath and place into the water bowl to rinse.
- Remove and eat! Or is it drink?
Check out the full article on Left Brain Craft Brain, who is also credited for all photos.