On October 30th, 2018

Halloween Science Crafts for Kids

With Halloween this month, kids of all ages will be picking out their costumes and getting excited for a night of trick-or-treating. We love Halloween here at the Discovery Center! Just in time for the holiday, we've put together this list of our favorite Halloween-themed science crafts and experiments for kids that are sure to please even the pickiest ghouls, goblins, and ghosts.

An Erupting Ghost Pumpkin

This ghoulish holiday twist on the classic volcanic eruption experiment will delight kids and parents. It's also one of the simplest science crafts and can easily be done as a last-minute activity on Halloween night. You may want to try this experiment outside since it can be pretty messy.

What you will need:
To make it, you'll need either a white ("ghost") or orange pumpkin that has already been cleaned out and carved by an adult. If you're short on time, you can just cut off the top of the pumpkin instead of carving it, making sure to clean out most of the inside.
Baking soda and vinegar are essential.
If you have dish soap, food coloring, or glitter, these will help add to the visual drama of this experiment.

How to do it:
If you're doing this activity inside, once your pumpkin is ready, place it in the sink or in a dish with deep sides so that the eruption will be contained. Next, mix together 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar (any kind), and 1/4 cup dish soap (optional). Add a few drops of red or orange food coloring until you achieve the color you desire. Finally, add as much or as little glitter as you wish. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you may want to double this recipe. Once you've mixed up all of these ingredients, pour the mixture into your pumpkin. Alternatively, for less mess, you can pour the mixture into a plastic bottle or jar and place it inside the pumpkin. Now for the best part: triggering the eruption! When you're ready, place two tablespoons of baking soda (or four tablespoons if you've doubled the recipe) inside a tissue. Drop the tissue inside the pumpkin or container with the mixture, step back, and enjoy the colorful explosion.Don't have a pumpkin? This experiment can be equally fun when done in a witch's cauldron, especially if you add some plastic Halloween eyeballs!

Halloween-style Oobleck

Oobleck, more commonly known as slime or goop, has properties of both liquids and solids and is a non-Newtonian fluid. It's one of the easiest crafts for kids and is particularly good for younger children and sensory play.

What you will need:
Food coloring (red or orange is best for the Halloween theme)
Measuring cups and mixing bowls
Newspaper or table covering (this project can get messy!)

How to do it:
To make it, start by mixing together water with a few drops of red or orange food coloring in a bowl. Next, add cornstarch to the same bowl using a ratio of two parts cornstarch to one part water. Stir until the
mixture has the moist consistency of slime; if it is too dry, just add more water. Finally, feel free to add plastic spiders or other Halloween decorations! Kids really enjoy rolling oobleck around, and you can also shake it or make puddles of it. If you're really into oobleck, you might even try making an extra-large version in a wading pool outside!

Glowing Drinks and Gelatin

One of the fastest crafts for kids, adding a glow to your beverages or gelatin can be especially spooky on Halloween. Best of all, it works with water and soda, so just choose your favorite drink and get started!

What You Need:
To create an otherworldly glow, you'll need tonic water and a blacklight.
That's it!

How to do it:
Fill a glass with tonic water and ice, wait a few minutes, and then turn on the blacklight. You'll notice a creepy blue glow that will soon engulf the entire drink. The quinine in the tonic water creates this glow. If you're not a fan of tonic water by itself, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Once frozen, add the ice cubes to the drink of your choice (any soda will work), turn on the blacklight, and enjoy the glow! To do this with gelatin, simply pour the tonic water over the gelatin and shine the blacklight.

Frozen Halloween Hand

This last Halloween science craft is a twist on a classic! Remember making ice hands as a kid by freezing gloves full of water? This halloween twist will then let the kids melt away the ice hands to get a prize. This craft is best to split over two days, to allow the gloves of water to freeze overnight. The first day can be done inside, but the second part of the craft can get a little messy and may be best to do outside.

What you will need:
Surgical gloves (the material type doesn't matter)
Food coloring
Craft items and Halloween theme items (beads, buttons, googly eyes, etc)
Salt (with more food coloring)
Twist Ties

How to do it:
Have the kids fill the surgical gloves with some of the halloween craft items. Then, fill the gloves with water and a few drops of food coloring, any color. Tie the gloves closed or twist the gloves with a twist tie. Once secure, give the gloves a few squishes to mix around the items and food coloring (you may want to do this over the sink, just in case). Lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
The next day, pull the gloves out of the freezer and carefully cut away the the glove from the ice (be careful not to break off any fingers!). Then outside, you can give the kids the challenge of retreiving the halloween crafts items from the ice by melting away the ice. You can give them safe tools from around the house such as hot water and syringes or basters, salt shakers (you can add food coloring to the salt if you want to make it 'spookier'), paint brushes, and safe butter knives, etc. This is a great way to teach about the different stages of water and how salt can melt ice!

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