Pumpkin Science To Float or Not to Float?

Pumpkin Science To Float or Not to Float?

In kindergarten, young scientists make lots of predictions. Not only is it a core science curriculum skill, but it can also be downright fun when it’s tied into seasonal adventures. And fall is as great a time as any to be a scientist. But this experiment can be done any time of the year. Here’s a great activity about exploratory science that challenges your child to make predictions and discover relative size, density, and buoyancy with… pumpkins!

What You Need:

  • Piece of string about the length of your arm
  • 3 different sized pumpkins
  • Scissors
  • Bath tub of water or large bucket filled with water

What You Do:

  1. Use the string to measure the size of your child’s head, then cut it.
  2. Go to you local pumpkin patch or grocery store.
  3. Observe the pumpkins. Ask your child to make a some educated guesses about the size of the pumpkins: for instance, does he think his head is smaller, the same size, or larger than the pumpkin you are holding?
  4. Find different-sized pumpkins and have him make that comparison again. Then use the string you measured earlier to discover whether your child is correct.
  5. Select your favorite three pumpkins, and bring them home.
  6. Fill your bathtub with water. For this next part, you will be placing the pumpkins in the water one at a time to see if they float.
  7. Take one of your pumpkins, and ask your child if he thinks it will float or sink. Why does he think that? Place the pumpkin in the water and talk about the results.
  8. Repeat Step 7 for each pumpkin, making sure to allow your child to predict what will happen and to discuss the results afterwards.
  9. Discuss with your child why the pumpkins floated regardless of size. (The answer? Pumpkins are hollow objects, and there is enough air trapped in the center of the pumpkin that it floats.)
  10. To extend the activity, get a jack o’ lantern to experiment on. Ask your child to predict what would happen if you immersed the jack o’ lantern into the water. Now lower the jack o’ lantern into the water. What happened? Why did the jack ‘o lantern sink? (The answer? The open cuts in the pumpkin let water into the open cavity, which sunk the pumpkin.)

What’s Going On?

For kindergarten students, relative size, density and buoyancy are all huge concepts. It may seem obvious to us, for example, whether a pumpkin is bigger or smaller than someone’s head, or why a pumpkin might float, but for a kindergarten, it can be a revelation. The more fun you can have with all this the better, because without even realizing it, kids are practicing the crucial science skills of measurement, prediction, experimentation, and reasoning.

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Cardboard Bugs

Cardboard Bugs

Reuse and recycle cardboard tubes to make spooky spiders, kooky caterpillars, wacky worms, and more. Treat your budding entomologist to this sculptural science activity that will allow him to research insects, arachnids, and other creepy crawlies. Turn this artful insect into a Halloween themed decoration, and display his unique buggy creations during a family holiday party or for trick-or-treaters to enjoy!

The Cardboard Tube Critter activity will help your child to learn about the wonderful world of bugs as he also focuses on simple elements of art. He’ll explore three dimensional form, color, texture, and pattern during this exciting art project. Encourage imaginative thought and creative problem solving skills as he designs and constructs his very own sculptural critter.

What You Need:

  • Cardboard tube
  • Pom poms
  • Clear drying, non-toxic school glue
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Modeling clay (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Research insects. Find a variety of non-fiction books to look at, or search the web for useful insect information. Make sure to view multiple pictures and photographs of bugs. Ask your child to talk about what he sees. How many legs does a spider have? What do a fly’s eyes look like? What color is a grass hopper?
  2. Decide on one bug to start with. Ask your child to think about the body parts that are needed. Is there a head, thorax, and abdomen? How many legs are there? Does this bug have wings, antennae, or other special features?
  3. Have your child paint the cardboard tube a base color. For example, if he is creating a grasshopper the tube should be green, a spider might be brown or black, and a lady bug could be red.
  4. After the paint has dried, he can begin adding details. Use a large pom pom and glue to create a head. Eyes can be made with sequins and glue. Use additional pom poms for other body parts. If he is making a bug such as a caterpillar, he may want to add multiple pom poms in a row.
  5. Create antennas and legs by gluing on cut pieces of pipe cleaner. If you notice the pipe cleaner falling off, first attach a small piece of modeling clay to the tube with glue. Press the end of the pipe cleaner in to stabilize it. Alternatively, you can press the pipe cleaner through the tube or cut a small hole to fit.
  6. Add wings and other features with cut tissue paper and glue.
  7. Set aside to dry.

Display as a creepy crawly Halloween decoration!

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Make a Crazy Halloween Pumpkin

Make a Crazy Halloween Pumpkin

Make a Halloween pumpkin this October! A lot of kids are too young to carve a pumpkin, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on making a Jack-o’-lantern. This Halloween pumpkin craft is a silly activity that’s a safer version of pumpkin carving. Using a small pumpkin and some fun materials, kids can bring their pumpkins to life. Toothpicks can act as arms, glued-on buttons as eyes, cotton balls can be wacky hair, and clothes can be made of felt! Encourage your kids to write some spooky Halloween stories about their Halloween pumpkin characters. Or, they might even want to act their stories out using their pumpkins on stage!

What You Need:

  • A small pumpkin
  • Toothpicks
  • Cotton balls
  • Felt
  • Buttons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Tell your child that he will turn his small pumpkin into his very own crazy pumpkin character! Show his all the art materials and how he can use them. For example, demonstrate how the toothpicks can serve as arms, how the cotton balls can act as hair or clothing, how buttons make eyes, how the pipe cleaner can represent a mouth and how the felt can be used to create an outfit. Your child might even have his very own ideas of how to creatively use some other materials, such as dried pasta, clay or even glitter. The possibilities are endless!
  2. Now it’s time for you child to name his pumpkin and give it a backstory! Can he write a spooky Halloween story with his crazy pumpkin as the main character. If other kids have been involved in this activity, encourage the entire group to make up a play with their characters and put on their very own crazy character pumpkin show for the neighborhood kids!
  3. Finally, put your child’s Jack-o-Lantern on display on the porch, in the kitchen window, or the entryway of your home—any place that will scare ghost and goblins away!

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Scary Hand Halloween Decoration

Scary Hand Halloween Decoration

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a creepy paper hand with spider and eyeball rings to help decorate a haunted house! Create your very own scary hand complete with glittery veins and creepy nails.

What You Need:

  • Black, green, white, orange construction paper: 8.5” x 11” each
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Glitter Glue (Red)
  • Red marker
  • Small black pompoms

What You Do:

  1. Have your child trace his hand on black paper. He can elongate the fingers and make them uneven to create a more spooky effect. Cut out the hand.
  2. Cut out triangles from the green paper for the fingernails. Glue each triangle down as they are cut out. To make them more fingernail-like, cut the bottom of the triangle into a slight curve to make a cone shape.
  3. Cut a circle out of the white paper for the eyeball. Glue it to the hand. Cut a smaller circle out of the blue paper and glue it in the center of the white circle. Glue a black pompom right in the middle of the blue circle to finish the eyeball.
  4. Draw a spider shape on orange paper. It will need to be small enough to fit on a finger and large enough so the legs can be cut out. Draw the legs in two parts (a “V” shape). Cut the spider shape out, carefully cutting around the legs. Fold the legs at the joint of the “V” for a 3D effect. Glue the spider on a finger.
  5. Glue two small pompoms for eyes onto the spider.
  6. Draw glitter veins on the hand using red glitter glue.
  7. Add a piece of ripped green construction paper at the bottom of the wrist to finish off the ghoulish hand!

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Scary Ghost

Scary Ghost

Practice counting to five with your child while making this adorably “scary” ghost to celebrate Halloween. The body of the ghost is made from one paper plate. It has two hands, three ovals on it’s face, four streamers and five curled fingers. This is one math-friendly ghost!

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Construction paper (2 colors)
  • White tissue paper, pre-cut (4 pieces, each 2″ x 18″)
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Start with one paper plate. This plate will be the ghost’s face. Ask your child how many faces she has. (Hopefully, only one!)
  2. Help her to trace both of her hands. Ask her to cut them out of the paper. How many hands does the ghost have?
  3. Ask her to glue the hands in place on the bottom of the plate.
  4. Have her fold a sheet of black construction paper in thirds. Help her draw an oval on the top of the paper and cut it out while the paper is folded. She’ll end up with three ovals.
  5. Ask her to count the ovals. Are there more ovals than there are hands?  Have her glue them in place for the eyes and mouth of the ghost.
  6. Help her to glue the streamers from the back of the plate at the bottom, so they hang down. Ask her: How many streamers does the ghost have?
  7. Finally, ask her to find something on the ghost that adds up to five. If she says the digits (not fingers, as the thumb isn’t technically a finger!) on one hand, she’s correct. Help her curl the five digits on each hand using a pencil.
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Hand print Spider

Hand print Spider

All your preschooler needs to create a personalized Halloween memento is her two hands and some black paint. Spend a crisp autumn afternoon making hand print spiders with your little one. You’ll develop your child’s number sense while she enjoys the feel of slippery paint between her fingers.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Yarn
  • Google eyes (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Help your preschooler paint her palms and fingers with black paint. Do not put paint on her thumbs.
  2. Let her press her painted hands on the paper with her fingers spread apart and the base of her palms touching. The hand prints will look like a spider with eight legs.
  3. Help her count the number of legs on the spider. How many legs does her spider have? How many legs do real spiders have? If insects only have six legs, can a spider be an insect?
  4. Help her glue google eyes or use crayons to color eyes at the top of the hand print spider.
  5. Use yarn to make a web for her spider. Help her make concentric circles of glue around the spider. Cut pieces of yarn and let her press the yarn on to the circles of glue. Help her glue lines across the circles, creating a web design. Cut yarn pieces and let her press them to the lines of glue. The final product is a sweet spider and web, commemorating your little one’s hands this Halloween season.

Take a morning walk and go on a “spider web hunt.” Spider webs look especially amazing when covered with morning dew. Talk to your preschooler about the web and its purpose. Isn’t it clever of the spider to build a web to catch breakfast? Look for the circles in the web and talk about the shape. How many circles can your preschooler count in the web?

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Crazy Eyes

Crazy Eyes

Get ready for this Halloween balancing project! Using different-sized Styrofoam balls, foam and pipe cleaners, your child will practice the art of balance and counterbalance while trying to assemble a free-standing sculpture of crazy eyes! The balls are held together with toothpicks, and the foam is glued in place. The arms that come out of the eyes are the trick to perfecting the balance. If Crazy Eyes leans too far left, watch out—he may fall over! But, if counterbalanced with a large hand on the right, he’ll stand up straight!

What You Need:

  • 1 large Styrofoam ball
  • 2 medium Styrofoam balls
  • Googly eyes (assorted sizes)
  • Toothpicks
  • Foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Low heat glue gun (optional)
  • Tempera paint (red)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pipe cleaners

What You Do:

  1. Have your child design eyes using red paint and googly eyes on each of the foam balls. Allow them to dry.
  2. Ask her to use the toothpicks to start assembling the foam balls into position. Lay Crazy Eye’s body on a table (he won’t balance at first).
  3. Have her cut some pipe cleaners to create arms. Push them into the Styrofoam.
  4. Draw, cut and glue on feet and hands.
  5. Encourage her to add googly eyes and move around the parts until Crazy Eyes is balanced and can stand on his own.

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Candy Spiders

Candy Spiders

Spiders may be creepy, crawly and sometimes frightening. Not this one though; it’s filled with flavor! Help your child create his own spider candy bag by folding paper into a pocket to create the spider. This little fella may not frighten friends, but he sure will cause a lot of giggling!

What You Need:

  • Black construction paper, 2 sheets
  • Googly eyes
  • Tape
  • Tissue paper, ½ sheet
  • Scissors
  • Treats

What You Do:

  1. Help your child create the body of the spider by folding a sheet of black paper in half, keeping the creased edge to the bottom.
  2. Ask him to help you fold the side edges back and tape them in place to create a simple pocket.
  3. Have him cut out eight strips of paper for the spider legs. He can cut them however he likes, as long as they are separate shapes. Have him count out loud as he cuts them out to sneak in a little number practice.
  4. Encourage him to tape the legs on the back of the spider.
  5. Fill the spider’s stomach with yummy treats!
  6. Finish the spider bag by gently pushing the tissue paper down on top of the candy, leaving most of it sticking out of the top of the pouch.
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Footprint Ghost

Footprint Ghost

Unless your house is haunted, you’ll probably need to conjure up a few ghosts to give it that spooky Halloween feel. Fortunately, all it takes to create this little bit of magic is a bare foot and some paint. This activity transforms your child’s footprint into a whimsical ghost with just a few artistic flourishes. In the process, he’ll engage in tactile sensory exploration and creative expression. The completed ghosts also make great keepsake gifts for parents or grandparents.

What You Need:

  • Colored paper
  • White paint
  • Small paintbrush
  • Rags or wipes
  • Markers

What You Do:

  1. Before you begin, make sure your child’s bare foot is clean. Set up your craft area on a washable workspace with wet rags or wipes nearby.
  2. Sit with your child on the floor, placing his foot in a comfortable spot where you can easily reach it. Explain that you’re going to brush a little paint onto his foot and that it might tickle a bit. If he is curious about what his foot looks like as you paint it, place a small mirror in front of his foot so he can watch the reflection.
  3. Use a small craft paintbrush to apply an even coat of paint to the bottom of his foot.
  4. After the paint is applied, help him carefully press his foot onto the paper. You may want to have extra paper and paint on hand in case the first attempts are smeared.
  5. Use a wet rag or wipes to clean his foot when you’re done.
  6. Allow the footprint to dry completely.
  7. When the footprint is dry, place the paper on your work surface with the toes pointing down. The heel forms the ghost’s head and the toes are the ghost’s billowy bottom.
  8. Invite your child to draw eyes, a mouth, and any other features he can imagine.

Hang your ghost on the fridge, use it to decorate a wall or door, or turn it into a Halloween card to give away. Boo!

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Mummification for Kids

Mummification for Kids

Kick off the spookiest time of the year with an art project inspired by the ancient Egyptian process of mummification. Easy enough to do between homework assignments or even on the road, masking tape mummification is the perfect Halloween activity. Just don’t be surprised if unusual items in your house suddenly get mummified!

What You Need:

  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Pencil case
  • Masking tape
  • Table

What You Do:

  1. Have your child rip strips of masking tape, placing one end of each strip along the table edge. Make sure he rips of strips of varying lengths. Some should be as wide as his notebook, and other should be no more than an inch or two long.
  2. Let him place one long masking tape strip horizontally on his notebook. If the strip is a bit too long for the notebook, just have him rip or cut the excess part off.
  3. Have him continue until the entire notebook is covered with horizontal strips. Help him slightly overlap each strip against the last one.
  4. Help him lay two or three strips at diagonal angles across the horizontal strips. These strips do not need to be as wide as the entire notebook.
  5. Let him extend at least one long strip off of the notebook to look like a piece of wrapping that has come undone.
  6. Help him fold the sticky part of this undone wrapping shut so it won’t stick to anything.
  7. Have your child use his yellow, gray and brown crayons to lightly shade and color in small sections of the masking tape. Don’t let him overdue it! Tell him that these bits of color will make the tape, or “mummy wrappings”, look weathered and old.
  8. Now have your child repeat this same process with his pencil case, pencils and scissors.

What else can your child mummify? As long as he has a roll of masking tape, he can be the grand pharaoh of mummification!

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