Halloween is just around the corner and that means – candy. It means that kids are getting their costumes pressed (or hobbled together out of old t-shirts and bad zombie makeup) and ready to hit the night. Pillow cases in hand, the goal is free sugar. Yet, once kids notice that candy can be purchased at any point, they might start looking for more interesting activities for Halloween.
Familiar with STEM? It stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The U.S. is behind in STEM education so there has been an increased focus on these types of activities and curriculum in schools. In order to create interest around STEM, a growth in creative and innovative problem-solving has introduced STEAM, adding the arts into the mix. There are a bevy of fun, family STEAM projects with a distinct Halloween theme.
Most of these experiments would make fantastic party decorations, or something to put on the stoop to entertain trick-or-treaters. There aren’t any advanced engineering projects here, no rocket science needed on Halloween. Rather, these projects stick with the Halloween theme of sweet things, some are even edible. Remember, while there is a learning component to each activity, it’s about family interaction and having fun. Kids can and should be involved from the start.
Have any gummy worms laying around? This is a great experiment for kids who want to see something move around. Kitchen Pantry Scientist offers up a simple recipe using common ingredients (baking soda, vinegar) to create a chemical reaction that sends your gummy worms into a creepy crawling frenzy.
- Disposing of Candy Pumpkins
The love for Candy Corn is real, but Candy Pumpkins usually fall to the bottom of the bag. Lemon Lime Adventures has a fun way to dispose of those pesky Candy Pumpkins. Using several different liquids, kids can see how the pumpkins dissolve and parents can easily make allusions to what that sugar does to young teeth.
3. Dry Ice
Nothing says Halloween like a fine mist rolling through the cemetery while teenagers look for a spot to scare any younger kids passing through. Dry ice can be purchased at most grocery stores and offers a ton of exciting experiments as well as the perfect atmospheric decoration.My Kids Adventures offers a few dry ice experiments, most geared towards older kids with a bit more patience.
4. Alien Eggs
Kitchen Pantry Scientist is at it again and gives us some really gross alien eggs. While directed more towards something you’d find on a Halloween buffet table, these eggs end up without a shell, but still whole. Kids can draw on veins or eyeballs. Alien eggs would mix well with dry ice experiments, to create a very creepy vibe.
5. Make Slime
Slime is just fun. Something that might be a liquid, might be a solid, might be plasma, slime offers kids the opportunity to explore phases of matter. Stick some plastic spiders or bats inside the slime, and you’ve got yourself some Halloween slime. Little Bins For Little Hands has a common recipe for some kid safe slime. Add some food coloring if your slime needs are more colorful.
6. Ghost Rockets
Growing a Jeweled Rose has an explosive idea for Halloween. Another chemical reaction using household items, this experiment sends plastic ghosts (using old film containers) flying into the air. Add some glow in the dark paint and your kids can light up the neighborhood.
7. Creepy Liquid Density
This is a great project for any kid who has ever asked about that Lava Lamp in a picture from the 1970s. Science Sparks lists out the liquids you’ll need to create a jar of visually disgusting grossness. A perfect experiment to show kids why there is an inch of oil at the top of the peanut butter jar, and a perfect decoration for the stoop. Don’t forget the back-lighting.
8. Tea Bag Ghosts
What kid doesn’t like playing with fire? This experiment offers a lesson in convection and air pressure. It might also get your child into drinking tea. Or starting fires. Hope for the former. Playdough to Plato shows you how to take a tea bag and turn it into a flaming apparition.
9. The Slow Death of Jack-o-Lantern
Like Christmas trees, pumpkins on the stoop seem to stay in place a lot longer than they should. If you are a parent who can’t bring yourself to throw the Jack-o-lantern in the trash on November 1st, then get ready for a lesson in decay. Kids can track the rotting progress of the pumpkin, while learning that nothing lasts forever. It’s a sad lesson, but one that will stay with them throughout life. Kids Activities Blog has a good example of journaling the slow decay.
10. Make and Pick Apart Brains
Whether for decoration or just learning about the brain, Left Brain, Craft Brain recommends you get a brain mold and fill it with ingredients to create a pliable brain. Nothing says Halloween like a dismembered brain laying around.
Whatever experiment tackled this Halloween, remember to play it safe and don’t let kids eat anything they shouldn’t. Like that strange house that just hands out handfuls of popcorn and pennies, don’t eat that.