Did you know that cranberries are one of only a handful of fruits native to North America? Those cans of sauce that get opened every year for Thanksgiving have a long history, dating back to before the Pilgrims even arrived. In the 17th century, Native Americans used cranberries for their medicinal value and to draw poison out of wounds. They were also used to make natural dye for textiles, according to TeacherVision.
These small red berries are more than just delicious to eat. Since you most likely have some extras lying around for the holiday this week, we’ve found some fun, educational STEAM activities that kids can do with cranberries. There are no Ozobots required for these activities, but it never hurts to have one around to join in the fun!
Slime is such a huge hit for kids right now. Maybe it’s the gooeyness that makes it so much fun. This cranberry slime recipe from Schooling Active Monkeys is sure to be an enjoyable activity for Thanksgiving break.
- Xanthan Gum
- Fresh cranberries
- Red food coloring
- White sugar
- 1 orange
- A hand mixer
Mix 1 cup of water, ½ cup of sugar, and the juice from one orange in a pot on the stove. Heat until the mixture starts to boil and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Add a few drops of red food coloring and a tablespoon of Xanthan Gum. Mix together with a hand mixer. If you don’t, the slime will be lumpy and not quite as slime-like. It will look more like jello if you don’t mix it up correctly. Add the cranberries to your slime and let the kids enjoy playing with it on a surface that’s easy to clean up!
This one is simple, but the possibilities are endless. Using only fresh cranberries and toothpicks, kids can create houses, towers, shapes, figures, and more! This engineering activity will get their creative juices flowing! You can even make it into a challenge at the Thanksgiving table. Who can create the tallest Evo cranberry castle?
Dancing Cranberries Experiment
This science experiment from Teaching to Inspire has two parts. First, kids make a hypothesis on whether fresh cranberries will sink or float. Next, they’ll see how dried cranberries interact with Sprite. Teaching to Inspire offers free downloadable booklets for this activity for kids to record their data as well!
For Part I, you’ll need:
- Fresh cranberries
- 1 cup of water
Begin by asking the kids whether they think the cranberries will sink or float. Test their hypothesis by giving them cranberries to place in the cup of water. What is the outcome? Discuss the reasons why the cranberries float. You can find that information here.
For Part II, you’ll need:
- Dried cranberries
- 1 cup of Sprite
Have the kids place the cranberries in the Sprite. When the cranberries interact with the bubbles (carbon dioxide gas) in the soda, they will be carried up to the top. When the bubbles pop and release the carbon dioxide, the cranberries drop back down. This makes it seem like they are “dancing” in the Sprite.
They’ll love watching the tiny cranberry dancers!
This color-changing experiment from Almost Unschoolers looks at how the pigment, anthocyanin, can change color and react with other elements.
- Cranberry juice
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- 4 cups
Start by filling all four cups with the cranberry juice. From there, add vinegar to one of the cups. Add lemon juice to the next cup, and baking soda and powder (respectively) to the final two cups.
Discuss the results with your kids. Which cups changed color? What was the reaction? Why did the baking powder have more of a reaction than the baking soda?
Cranberry Mystery Ink
With this activity from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist, Kids can reveal invisible messages they write with baking soda and water! It’s almost like magic ink! Don’t forget, cranberry juice stains! Play clothes or aprons should be worn during this activity.
- 2 cups of cranberries
- Baking soda
- A small paintbrush/Q-Tip/etc to write with
- Printer paper
Boil the cranberries in three cups of water, covered, for 15-20 minutes (this should be done by an adult only!). Crush the cooked berries and push the liquid through a sieve or colander to collect the concentrated cranberry juice. Then, pour into a dish big enough to fit a piece of paper.
Tip from The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: If your cranberry juice seems thick and syrupy, add a little water, so that it’s thin enough to soak into paper! Test the paper you want to use by cutting a small piece and soaking it into the cranberry juice. If it turns pink, it works. If it doesn’t, try some other paper. Add a few teaspoons of baking soda to 1/3 cup of warm water and stir.
Dip your writing tool (paintbrush, q-tip, etc) into the baking soda mixture and write out a message on your paper. Let air dry or use a blow-dryer to speed things up. To reveal your hidden message, soak your paper in the cranberry juice!
We would love to see your photos of these activities on social media! Please use #OzoSquad and @Ozobot so we can see how your kids did!