It all started when I sang this less known verse of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to the children – song lyric credit goes to Raffi:

“Moo moo brown cow have you milk for me?

Yes sir, yes sir as tasty as can be

Churn it into butter or make it into cheese

Freeze it into ice cream or drink it if you please.”


I asked the children if they knew what it meant to churn the creamy part of milk into butter. No one knew what that meant. I explained what a butter churn is and how it works. I told them that if cream is agitated it will first turn into whipped cream and then it will separate into butter and buttermilk. None of them knew what buttermilk was, and I thought that making it and seeing it for themselves would help them understand. I decided to try a little experiment.  I put some organic whipping cream into a glass jar and we all took turns shaking it.


After a while it started to thicken up


We kept shaking it and singing shaking songs like “Shake Your Sillies Out” and “I’m in the Mood for Shaking,” We also did a fun rendition of “Twist and Shout,” which was a new one for the children.


After LOTS of shaking, everyone was amazed to see… BUTTER and BUTTERMILK!


We passed it around for everyone to get a closer look at what they had created with all that shaking.


I poured out the buttermilk and offered everyone some buttermilk on individual spoons.


Then I spread the butter onto bread and offered a piece to everyone.


This experiment was a simple and exciting way for the children to experience the science behind churning cream into butter.