Snack time is a delicacy in the eyes of children. It’s a time where they can eat crackers, cheese and drink milk. Snack time can also be a time to teach about different topics such as agriculture.

Hands-on activities help children learn in a new dimension. Creating butter from whipping cream allows kids to learn where a food, that is in about everything, comes from, and no, the answer is not Wal-Mart. This activity teaches kids how butter is made and provides a tasty snack.

small containersFor this activity, all you need is:

  • whipping cream
  • crackers
  • small plastic containers WITH lids
  • marbles
  • plastic baggies.

After passing out the containers, marbles, and plastic baggies to the kids (one per kid), fill each container about half way full. Once the container is halfway filled, allow the kids to drop their marble in the cream and put the lids on. Then they can put the container into the baggie and close it. Warn them not to shake it until you say to shake it. From my experience, kids will want to shake it after the lid is adhered, so I always had to give them a command word when they could start shaking it. Without the baggie, sometimes the lid will move and cream will drip out; the baggie contains the possibility of a mess which will make everyone happy. After the kids snap their lids on and place the container in the baggie, give them the command word to shake the container.

The best motion to shake the container is side to side instead of up and down. A figure 8 is also a popular method.  The shaking should last about five minutes which can be too long for some kids, so assistance may be needed depending on the age. K-2 needed more help than kids 3-5.

MarblesWhen the shaking continues, the cream will become very thick to the point where you can’t hear or feel the marble move from side to side. To disbelief, the butter isn’t done at that point. Once you reach the stage where the cream is very thick, keep shaking until the butter and liquid separate. You will hear and feel the marble moving again. After the butter forms, the kids can pour their buttermilk out in the sink or they can keep it in their container. After all the kids have butter, pass out the crackers. The salt embedded on the cracker will give flavor to the butter just like the butter we buy in the store. The kids can dip their crackers in the containers or you can pass out spoons for them to spread onto the cracker. Enjoy!

Find this activity and other fun ways to engage kids in learning here!

michelle nickrent

Michelle Nickrent
University of Illinois


About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See or follow us on Twitter,
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