Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Making butter - Children's Activity for Thanksgiving

Having been born in South Africa, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and I knew very little about it until I moved to Taiwan. Here bilingual schools, such as the one I teach at usually mark international festivals with an activity or two. This year we went all out with turkeys and everything that goes with it. But  this post is not about turkeys. It is about making butter.

Alan thinks his teacher has lost his marbles but shakes anyway.

Basically, all you need to make your own butter is some cream, a jar and some muscle power. Shake the jar vigorously and after about 5 to 10 minutes you have butter! You could, of course, just use an electric beater to achieve the results even faster, but what would be the fun in that? The point of the whole exercise was to teach students how people got along before electricity and supermarkets and iPhones. 

Billy in Grade 2 is a very enthusiastic "shaker".

Home-made Salted Butter


  • A glass jar (350 ml size worked best for us)
  • regular unsweetened whipping cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Muscle power (Involve your children, you'll be surprised how much they will enjoy this)
"Hey teacher, something is happening here!" said Alan.

  1. Clean the jar thoroughly. Pour in the cream until the jar is about 2/3 full. Screw the cap on tightly.
  2. Shake the jar vigorously.
  3. Pass the jar to the next person and...shake vigorously. First you will notice that the cream is getting thicker. After about 5 to 10 minutes of shaking, a lump of butter will start to form in the jar.
  4. Pour the "water" off and place the lump of butter in a glass bowl. Add salt to taste and work it into the butter with a plastic or rubber spatula. Pour off any extra liquid that is released. 
  5. Spread the light, fluffy butter on a cracker and allow your muscle power to taste the fruit of their labour. The rest can be stored in the fringe of freezer for later use, preferably on a delicious oven baked potato.
And there it is! All the shaking DONE!
A leaf from the "Thanksgiving Tree".


  1. Activities just like this one is one good way to develop a child's interest towards a certain field. Imagine, even as young as their age they can manage making a butter and having fun at the same time.

    1. That's correct. I would love it if my child would participate in this kind of activity whenever I'm at work. I don't have time to play with him anymore, ever since I started adjusting to a single mother life. I'm sure I'll get a hang of it, though. At least with this activity, I'll be sure he's learning, and at the same time, having fun.

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