Mommy, Where Does Beer Come From? Franklin Institute Teaches Kitchen Science to Kids

If the thought of keeping your kids entertained all winter is making you nervous, you may want to consider writing a thank-you note to the sage folks at The Franklin Institute. Without leaving your house, you and your family could easily spend several months’ worth of weekends experimenting, learning, eating and laughing together, courtesy the Kitchen Science portion of the Franklin’s website.

The section ( is devoted to teaching kids and adults all about food science; you know, the stuff that’s cool to talk about with brewers and chefs in these heady times of food mania. Wanna learn about fermentation? Click on the “Fermentation” tab and get a full serving of kid-friendly explanations, examples and experiments. No, it doesn’t tell you to go out and by a Mr. Beer homebrewing kit for your kids (though that is always an option), but it does give you a recipe and instructions for using yeast cultures, water, sugar, a glass bottle and a balloon to finagle a contraption that lets you watch as yeast gobbles up sugars and belches CO2 and alcohol. You may not need that beer kit after all.

Same scenario goes for pages about boiling, mixing, frying and baking, plus nutrition, food safety and flavor. You could even stock up on the few basic ingredients required for each of the eight experiments and turn your kids and their friends loose in the kitchen whenever they’re in search of an activity. This, as every reader with kids has already realized, is a recipe for a rare moment of grown-up time–perfect for enjoying a fermented beverage of your own.