Spread the Happiness -Make Your Own Butter.

This one is an old one but a good one. I originally tried it on my very first teaching practice at Saint Anne’s C of E Primary in Sale. I was working with a class of Reception children and was being observed by my University tutor for a graded lesson. It got me an ‘outstanding’ judgement – which just goes to show how things have changed!

(I doubt anyone would get an outstanding judgement for making butter these days- not unless the children were also completing a phonics word search whilst reciting their times tables – backwards!)

Anyway – it ended up being a firm favourite at this time of year. Partly because you can tie it in to harvest and a bit of bread making, but also because it is good for a big circle time activity where you can use it to help the children learning each others names, you can sing, take turns – whatever you need to do.

If you don’t want to do it as a whole group then you can do it with smaller groups and also individually.

What you need

Cream – either double or whipping as long as it has got a high fat content. (I used double)


Jar – You can use a glass jar, but plastic jars are lighter and less likely to smash if they slip out of little (or big in my case) fingers. If you are doing individual butter making then use a baby food jar.

I mean, who would want this to happen?!

CLEAN Marbles – These are not essential but do help to significantly speed up the process.


What to do

Half fill your jar with cream (TIP: a cold jar and cold cream will help)

Drop in your marbles  – if you are using them

Put on the lid SECURELY


What will happen

As an adult you can go from cream to butter in under 6 minutes. When you are working with the children you are looking at more like 10 minutes if not a bit more. My advice would be that every couple of minutes an adult takes a turn and gives the jar a really good shake.

About 2 minutes

At about 2 minutes you will get whipped cream. All of the sloshing will stop and the cream will be thick. It is good to stop, give your arms a rest and have a look at the change.

After 2 minutes

This is the bit where you think it is all going wrong and nothing is happening, but KEEP SHAKING.

This is also the longest bit – it can take around 5 minutes.

Seriously, keep going – it will happen!

EVENTUALLY, the butter milk will separate from the butter and you will hear it start to ‘slosh’ around.

Last bit

Strain off the butter milk (you can save it and use it to cook with)

Rinse the butter in COLD water until the water runs clear

That’s it!

You can of course add other things into your butter at this stage like chopped herbs. Or, just spread it on your snack toast and eat it!

If you make a bit of butter, then please share you photos via blog comments, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I would love to see them.

You could always try gurning while you’re churning. Now that would be worth a photograph!


Filed under: ABC Does A Blog, Child Initiated Learning, Creativity


  1. We did this last week and I must admit I was a bit sceptical as to whether it would work. The children were a bit bemused and fortunately we had a student who was determined for it to succeed and carried on shaking until we really did have butter! The children were fascinated and couldn’t quite believe what had happened. We used the butter and whey to make some herb (children chose mint and rosemary from the garden) scarecrow shaped scones. They were delicious! Our director got to hear about it and was very complimentary saying she hadn’t heard of a nursery that includes butter making on the curriculum! Thanks for a great idea. We will certainly do it again.

  2. A small rubber bouncy ball, like the ones people pop in party bags, is effective too!

    • Nice idea!

  3. I don’t like using marbles in case they chip, but instead use those re-usable ice cube things

  4. Wonderful! Will definitely plan this in for harvest…thanks!

    PS. Love the new site!

  5. Great idea, we’ll churn our own butter to spread on our home made sandwiches for our teddy bear’s picnic. Oh I love it when a plan comes together!

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