I have something very special for you today. One of the coolest science experiments we have ever done… Color Changing Lemonade. Made with a deliciously natural, beautifully floral ingredient that turns a frosty glass of lemonade from yellow to purple to pink. And makes it taste extra delicious too. And I have another special something for you! A very special giveaway brought to you by the author and illustrator of Ada Twist, Scientist.
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Ada Twist, Scientist
We got inspired to do a little science when Andrea Beatty, the author of Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect sent me her latest book, Ada Twist, Scientist. It’s the story of little Ada. Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Learn more about the book here.
Illustrator David Robert’s drawings always capture that wonder of kids trying things for the first time. And persevering through challenges. And really got us thinking about those yucky smells. So we decided to do a much sweeter smelling project. Lemonade.
And because we love color changing science, we added a really cool feature to that sweet and sour lemonade. A really cool color changing affect. So go whip up a glass and then we’ll talk science.
Color Changing Lemonade Recipe
- 1 butterfly pea flower tea bag or 1 tsp. loose flowers
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups lemonade
- 1 lemon (optional)
- 1 copy of Ada Twist, Scientist
Makes 4 servings
- Heat water to near boiling, add tea bag and let steep for 3-4 minutes or until tea is a deep blue color. Chill.
- Fill four glasses with ice. Top with one cup lemonade each.
- Serve with a small shot glass or beaker filled with 1/4 cup butterfly pea flower tea and a straw for stirring.
- Add the tea and watch the color change!
What’s the Science Behind the Color Change?
There’s a very special ingredient in this lemonade. Butterfly pea flowers. Butterfly pea flowers contain a vivid blue pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has a unique capability to act as an indicator. Meaning it changes color as the pH changes. It appears bright blue at high (basic) pH’s and transitions to a vivid pink at low (acidic) pH’s. This is why you can turn your lemonade from yellow to purple to pink as you stir your butterfly tea into the drink. The flowers and tea are a more common ingredient in countries like Thailand where they like to serve the tea with honey and lemon.
While you’re sipping on your lemonade, have a little fun with the leftover tea. We played around with a lemon, the tea and some baking soda. You can keep changing the color back and forth as you make it acidic with the lemon and basic with the baking soda.
Love Ada? Meet Rosie and Iggy too!
And once you stir up a glass of Ada’s Color Changing Lemonade, be sure to check out the Tinkering Station for Young Engineers inspired by Rosie Revere, Engineer. Or print out a free list of 100 Invitations to Build inspired by Iggy Peck, Architect.
Win Ada Twist!
We’re celebrating the launch of Ada Twist, Scientist today with a giveaway!! Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, the author and illustrator of Ada Twist, Scientist sent me an extra copy of the book and a signed illustration, perfect for hanging in your kiddo’s room or your classroom. To enter to win, simply sign up for the Left Brain Craft Brain newsletter. You’ll get fun, hands-on STE(A)M projects in your inbox a couple times a month. And lots of ways to play and learn with your food, too.
And while you’re at it, pick up a few more science activities to go along with Ada in my new book STEAM Kids! It’s packed with 50+ hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math activities that will wow the boredom right out of your kids. Pick up the PDF e-book version or a print copy on Amazon.