Make Blue Bread with Butterfly Pea Flowers

Not that my kids need any convincing to eat bread, but here is a fun spin on a yeast bread that only requires one extra step to get a gorgeous purple-blue hue without a flavor change!

Why make blue bread, you ask? I don’t know, why not? It’s pretty, it makes you go wow, and its a fun special activity to do with your kids.

All you have to do is replace the water in your recipe with strongly brewed butterfly pea flower tea. Butterfly pea flowers contain a large amount of the amazing class of molecules called anthocyanins. They normally appear as a gorgeous, deep purple-blue color in nature, commonly seen in blueberries, but anthocyanins are also responsible for the deep pinks found in fruits like pomegranates and cranberries.

Butterfly pea flowers are still pretty new to western supermarkets, so I buy mine from Amazon here.

To make this bread, I added 1/2 cup of loose butterfly pea flowers to 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan, brought them to a boil over medium high heat, removed from heat, and let the flowers steep for about 10 mins. The resulting tea should be a very dark, dark blue. I waited for the tea to cool to about 105F, added the recipe’s sugar, then proofed the yeast straight in the tea. Afterwards, I just followed the normal recipe.

Butterfly pea flower tea doesn’t really taste like anything, maybe slightly reminiscent of normal green peas but not off-putting when you drink it by itself (kind of boring to me though). In the bread, the taste was undetectable. If you’re familiar with anthocyanins, you might be wondering if this bread changes color, as anthocyanins will change to pink when in acidic conditions. It does, but I couldn’t get it to change under normal palatable bread conditions. If we doused it with lemon, it changed to a bright pink after a few minutes, but then we had soggy lemon bread. Not too great, but still pretty. I want to try using cultured butter one day, as that is slightly acidic. Let me know if you ever try this yourself!

When you find yourself with lots of leftover flowers after you make this loaf, try some of these other activities with your kids that utilize butterfly pea flower tea! It undergoes a color change at different pH values, which opens the door to some amazing projects! (Some of these project say to use red cabbage juice, but that and butterfly pea flower are interchangeable for color changing activities).

Magic Snowflakes for Frozen 2!

We made these magic snowflakes to get ready for Frozen 2 this week and my daughter couldn’t get enough of them! They utilize differing solubilities of markers to make it look like color is coming out of nowhere!

Materials

  • Coffee filters
  • Black indelible marker
  • Washable markers (any color)
  • Eye dropper
  • Water

Method

  1. Draw the snowflake with the black indelible marker.
  1. Color over it with the washable color markers, being careful to stay only on the black lines.
  1. Give it to your kids and have them drop water on to the snowflake to see the colors evolve and dance about!

Discussion

The black marker is not soluble in water so it does not run when you drop the water on it. The washable markers are colored by molecules that are soluble water, however, so they are lifted from the coffee filter and carried around the plate. It is a beautiful, surprising effect and one that can be modified for many other themes besides Frozen!

Playdough Symmetry Activity

This simple activity has become an after school staple for us ever since I saw it on @themakermum on Instagram. It’s a nice mental exercise that also includes a level of focus that is calming and almost meditative for my daughter after a crazy day at school. All you do is shape half an image made out of playdough, then have your child finish the other half. Sometimes before I pick up my daughter from school, I’ll set this up and lay a damp paper towel over the top so it doesn’t dry out before she gets to it.

The possibilities are really limitless and you can make whatever image your child is interested in, or stick with seasonal ones, like for Christmas or Halloween.

Taste-Safe Sensory Foam

Sensory play has been a boon to me with a three year age difference between my kids. It’s something they can both have fun with and play in their own way, but they are playing together in the same space, which makes my life immensely easier. I also love for them to experience different sensations, especially my youngest. We play with slimy, messy, gritty, powdery, crunchy, you name it, and I’m always looking for more things to introduce them to and to hold their interest.

I was just about to empty out the liquid in a can of chickpeas (called aquafaba), and I thought about this vegan meringue recipe I wanted to make for my aunt last time she was over, but then it hit me. We could use the chickpea foam for a sensory base! So here is the recipe, which has taken the sensory world by storm!

  • Liquid from a can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Whip it at high speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 5-7 minutes until stiff peaks.

That’s it! It couldn’t be easier and I love that it uses something you would normally throw away. I’ve seen some beautiful, messy play with this after I shared it on Instagram, and I’m so excited to share it with you all here! Let me know how it goes!

Notes:

  • If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can try a splash of vinegar or lemon. I haven’t tried the foam without it, but it serves to form and stabilize the foam through its acidity.
    A blender will not get the thick, stable foam like a hand or stand mixer, but if it’s the only thing you have, give it a shot!

DIY Patterned Playdough Roller

It really can’t get easier than this. It’s just hot glue on a toilet paper roll. Yeeeeep. Use your fingers to support the roll as you imprint it into playdough, or stick it around a rolling pin if it fits! We’ve made so many variations of this so far, including these mermaid scales and a honeycomb print!

Original idea from @playtime.messy.madness on Instagram!

IKEA Flisat Table to Light Table Hack

This is so simple that I hesitated posting it because, well, you’ll see! But this is by far the easiest way you’ll find to make your Flisat table (or any two plastic bins!) into a light table!


Ok get ready for it. Take a bin and put some fairy lights in there:

Put the other bin on top of it:

You’re all set! Have fun with your new light table! It works like a charm!

DIY Magnetic Shapes

I’m always trying to find ways to repurpose supplies I purchase for activities. We have a big bag of magnetite powder we use to make magnetic slime, but I haven’t thought of another use for it…until now! By mixing it with glue and baking soda, you can pipe (like frosting) any design you can think of, and it will stick to a magnet. This is perfect for magnet-on-a-pole fishing games. Read on to learn more!

Materials

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Method

Note: Magnetite powder (an iron oxide) is very messy and should not be touched with bare hands as it stains. Wash hands thoroughly after doing this. Older children may help with steps 3-6, but should always be supervised as any large amount of iron is dangerous to ingest. The dried shapes are safe to handle with bare hands, but the shapes and magnets should not be handled by children who put things in their mouth.

  1. In the ziplock bag, measure in a 1:1:1 ratio the magnetite powder, school glue, and baking soda. Since the first two ingredients are so messy, it is totally fine to just eye-ball the amounts. This is a very forgiving goop.
  2. Squeeze out the air and seal the ziplock bag.
  3. Mix the contents thoroughly by squeezing and mushing.
  4. Snip off a small lower corner of the bag and pipe designs onto wax paper like you would if you were decorating a cake. (Though these will not be incredibly fragile, you don’t want any shapes to have lines with less than ~1/4 inch thickness or they will break with typical child’s play.)
  5. Let dry for 24 hours.
  6. Paint the shapes with paint or nail polish.

Discussion

Magnetite is a natural mineral made of iron and oxygen. It is attracted to a magnet and in some cases can be magnetized to become a permanent magnet. Magnetism was discovered millennia ago by observing metal sticking to naturally magnetized magnetite, called lodestone. Though I haven’t been successful in magnetizing the shapes made by this project, it is possible to magnetize magnetite by placing it in a strong magnetic field (eg. very strong magnet or electromagnet).

The shapes you will make are called magnetically soft, in that they become temporary magnets when exposed to a magnetic field (i.e. other iron-containing things will become attracted to it when it, itself, is in a magnetic field), but if the magnet is removed, the shape becomes unmagnetized.

How to Play

  • Alphabet Fishing (learning letters): We tied a magnet to a wooden pole and went “fishing” for magnetic fish shapes and letters covered by dried rice in a plastic bin. You can use this activity to learn upper or lower case letters, or spelling a name.
  • Fishing for Compliments (learning to read): We made magnetic hearts and I wrote adjectives that complimented my daughter on the back of them (eg strong, smart, kind, etc). She fished for them in a tub of dried rice and black beans and sounded the words out as she found them.

As always, let us know if you’ve tried this on Instagram and Twitter @cara_florance. Tag us and include the hashtag #IBravedTheElements for a chance to be featured!

xoxo

Cara