How to make astronaut pudding - This outer space article includes lots of science about astronauts and space travel. You can make this food treat with toddlers, preschoolers, or older kids. Very simple and easy recipe for homeschool or classroom.
Did you ever go to the science center as a kid and buy astronaut ice cream and other space foods? I did, more than once.
If you've never eaten astronaut ice cream, I will tell you that it's sort of like eating chalk, but a little less dense. I'll order that kit of space food for Grace and Allie one day, to let them taste it, but it is not exactly something you'd want to eat for a bedtime snack. Or ever.
Enter astronaut pudding.
Astronaut Food - The Science Lesson
This is a fun way to demonstrate to kids the challenges of living and working in space, where every single thing must be brought in aboard a space capsule.
Everything that astronauts eat in space is freeze dried, dehydrated, or vacuum sealed in pouches. Because water is heavy, they can haul more dehydrated foods to space than they could normal foods. Because they "make" their own water aboard the International Space Station (henceforth ISS), they can simply rehydrate the foods just before they eat.
Watch this video with your kids. In it, a real astronaut aboard the ISS shows the pantry, chooses food items (beef stew, asparagus, green beans with mushrooms, and lemonade), and then rehydrates and warms them to eat. He also talks about how they get potable water and mixes up a drink.
When I was teaching, I always paused the video to show my kids things or explain things further. They hated it, but I loved it and do it to Grace even now.
Here are some things to point out in the video:
- They really have a lot of food choices. There are other videos on YouTube that talk about astronaut food choices and many other resources online. Research the options with your kids and create a lunch or dinner menu together. Make that meal at home, but consider how the astronaut version might look and taste.
- The food warmer is built inside a suitcase. Draw or discuss how it might work.
- What does potable mean? He talks about the potable water dispenser. What do you think they do with non-potable water?
- He adds 50 mL of hot water to his asparagus. How much is 50 mL? Measure it to find out.
- He adds 250 mL of room temperature water to his lemonade. Measure that (and add some powdered drink mix from the grocery store).
- The refrigerator aboard ISS is a little bigger than a shoebox. What would your kids choose to keep cold if your fridge were that teeny?
- Why are the scissors on a string?
- His asparagus floated away somewhere. Imagine that!
- Did you notice that everything has velcro on it? Every time he puts something down (his drink, his green beans, an empty package), he makes sure it's stuck to the table with velcro. If you look closely, you can see the white velcro tape under the packages. Velcro was has been used in the space program since the 1960's. Why do you think they use velcro in space?
- He doesn't mention is specifically, but astronauts eat almost all of their foods with a spoon. Try eating one of your meals with only a spoon!
- He says the garbage comes to a fiery end. What does that mean?
These videos are awesome, too:
- A tour of the food console from an astronaut and a cosmonaut
- This tour of the ISS from Sunita Williams, the woman who holds the record for the longest space flight is my favorite space video ever. She explains how to go to the bathroom in space, how to brush your teeth, how to eat, and lots of other things. It's super cool.
Back to the Activity - Astronaut Pudding
This was so much fun. Allie didn't understand what was going on or who astronauts are or where they go, but she had fun with it, too.
Astronaut Pudding requires a few simple ingredients:
- Instant pudding mix
- Powdered milk
- Quart-sized zip top bags
- Measuring spoons
- A measuring cup
Astronaut Pudding Recipe
1. Put 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of dry pudding mix into each kid's plastic bag.
2. Add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of powdered milk to each kid's bag. Mix it up. This is how the package would arrive at the space station.
3. We don't have a fancy potable water dispenser, so we had to use a measuring cup. Pour in just under ½ cup of water and seal the bag.
4. Double check that the bag is sealed, and then squish, squeeze, and mix the pudding until it's all blended and starts to set up.
Doesn't that look yummy? No? I didn't think so, either, but my kids were over the moon for it.
5. Cut the corner off of the bag and squeeze it into your mouth, astronaut-style.
We have a dehydrator and dried some strawberries this summer. They seemed like the perfect accompaniment for our astronaut snack.
Here are some other fun science activities to try at home or in the classroom:
- The Sun - Elementary Science Unit Plan and Interactive Activities
- Paper Airplane Science - An Experiment Designed and Tested by Your Kids
- What Do Sugary Drinks Do to Your Teeth? - Kids Science Experiment
- How Does Gravity Affect Seedlings? - An Easy Kids Science Experiment
- 9 Easy Science Experiments to Do at Home
Wow!!! exactly what I was looking for!!!
Simple science to have my migrant students make at our family festival. Make & go craft/food.
I was really excited to see this activity because it would go along great with my space exploration unit. However, I tried making the pudding twice at home (used 2 different kinds and very carefully followed the directions), and I couldn't get the pudding to set up. It stayed runny even after sitting in the fridge overnight. To minimize mess using this with a large class, I need the pudding to be more set. I'll keep experimenting with it because now I have 8 boxes of pudding!
Tara Ziegmont says
Use less water.
I made this with my classroom today. We tried it three times. We adjusted the water. Both times it turned into chocolate milk! The third time we add only 1-2tablespoons of water and it worked! We got pudding!
Megan Wu says
It's really nice, I change the pudding mix flavour to vanilla. Thanks for the recipe!
I used 2 tablespoons of pudding mix, 3 tablespoons of dried milk, and 1/2 cup of water and it worked out perfectly!!
Sadly, this did not work with Jello, but it made a delicious milky kool-aid!!
Tara Ziegmont says
You used Jello Instant Pudding? That's what I've used every time, and it always works. Maybe you used too much milk?
This looks great for my kids! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe! Just wondering if I should use warm or hot water to make the pudding mix dissolve faster? Thanks again!
Tara Ziegmont says
I don't think it matters. We used room temperature water, and it worked just fine.
This was fantastic, thank you. I generally find recipes with lengthy blogs a bit of a pain but this was absolutely brilliant and fit in so well with the topic we were learning about!
My kids really enjoyed the video (and even put up with my constant pausing and questions without complaint lol). We explored the kitchen and pantry for foods you might find up in space and used all the discussion topics you suggested. My kids are now thoroughly entertained by the idea of using wee to create drinking water and letting everyone they meet know about this important aspect of being an astronaut.
All in all, it made our homeschooling day very enjoyable 🙂 so thanks again
Great for my kids during astrount theme.