Spooky Science Experiment

Spooky Science Experiment

Celebrate Halloween by treating your child to a spooky science activity! Craft colorful concoctions, make great gooey potions, and explore how much fun science can be.

What You Need:

  • Plastic test tubes
  • Child-friendly cups (try clear plastic)
  • Paint palette or washable art tray
  • Tempera paints
  • Paint brush
  • Craft sticks
  • Shaving cream
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Construction paper
  • Vegetable oil

What You Do:

Option 1: Water Color Mixing Potion Lab

  1. Pour a small amount of red, yellow, blue, and white onto a palette or washable art tray.
  2. Fill three cups halfway with water.
  3. Have your child use the paint brush (or a craft stick) to scoop the paint into the water, mixing two colors at a time. Ask him to stir gently, and watch the colors swirl and mix together.
  4. If you have test tubes, fill one a quarter of the way full with water, one with vegetable oil, and leave one empty. If you don’t have test tubes, simply use small clear plastic cups.
  5. Add one of the paint mixtures to each test tube. Cover and gently shake to see what happens. Ask your child how each one looks different in the test tubes. Then have him try to paint with each color concoction on the construction paper. Do the colors look different? Do they dry differently?
  6. Repeat with different colors and different amounts of the added substances.

Option 2: Shaving Cream Lab

  1. Scoop a small amount of tempera paint into the shaving cream.
  2. Ask your child to use her hands to make a gooey, colorful mixture.
  3. Use the mixture to paint with, or simply allow her to explore. Add new colors and more shaving cream to see what happens.

Option 3: Exploding Color Lab

  1. Place a large cup onto a covered surface.
  2. Mix a very small amount of paint with approximately two tablespoons of water.
  3. Mix in one tablespoon of baking soda.
  4. Add a tablespoon of vinegar, stand back, and watch it explode!

Choose one or more of these awesome options based on your young scientist’s age or use this as a Halloween party activity for some spooktacular fun!

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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 Parachute Toy

Make a Parachute Toy

Looking for an outdoor distraction? Make this parachute toy! You probably have all the supplies you need, without a scramble to the store, and this activity is a blast. Plus, it gives kids an excuse to investigate and experiment—the backbone of kindergarten science.

What You Need:

  • String
  • Bandanna or small piece of cloth
  • Button with four holes
  • Pipe cleaner, small stone, action figure or other small objects

What You Do:

  1. Build the toy: Cut four equal pieces of string, about 18-24 inches in length. Thread each string through a separate hole in the button, then tie them together, leaving a few inches trailing at the bottom.
  2. Lay out your bandanna or cloth and stretch the other ends of the strings, taping one string to each corner of the bandana. Voila! You’ve got a parachute.
  3. Make predictions: Ask your child what he thinks will happen when you drop the parachute. Will it matter if you drop it from a high height or a low one? Will it matter if you attach a stone or other object underneath the button? Will any of these things affect the speed the parachute falls or the path it takes? Have your child make predictions. Then take the chute out for some experimentation! Attach a figure weaved out of the pipe cleaner. Next, tie on something heavier. Drop the parachute from various heights and angles. What happens?

This is a great way for kids to explore and experiment, key elements of early science…and a lot of hand-on fun!

Note: A bandanna can work, but you need more height to drop it from and more weight on the end. An unfolded napkin might work for something lighter.

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Yeast Balloon Science

Yeast Balloon Science

Whether your child loves science or just likes to be impressed, this activity will have her begging to learn how it’s done. Tell your child that you’re going to blow up a balloon without using your mouth. She may look at you like you’re full of baloney, and proving her wrong will be half the fun. This isn’t just a cool trick, it’s also a great intro to chemistry and biology.

What You Need:

  • Balloons
  • Narrow funnel
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Warm water
  • Ruler

What You Do:

  1. Place the bottom of a funnel into the opening of the balloon. You may need to stretch the opening of the balloon a little bit so that it fits.
  2. Have a parent (or a carefully supervised child), pour the yeast and the sugar into the balloon through the funnel. Then fill the measuring cup with warm water from the sink and carefully pour the water into the balloon.
  3. Remove the funnel from the opening of the balloon. Tie a knot in the balloon to keep the water-and-yeast mixture inside. Measure your balloon.
  4. Place the balloon in a warm place and wait. Measure your balloon again.

Now sit back and wait as the balloon gets bigger and bigger. Soon you’ll have an awestruck child asking, “How did it do that?” Explain to your budding scientist that although it seems like magic, it’s science. The yeast uses the sugar and warm water to grow, and as it grows it expands and gets bubbly. By being “bubbly” the yeast gives off carbon dioxide, the same gas that your body produces when you breathe, and the gas inflates the balloon.

You may not want to use this method to blow up a party’s worth of balloons, but you’ll certainly inflate your child’s imagination and her love of science!

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Make a Plastic Cup Pet

Make a Plastic Cup Pet

Learning about how plants grow is a building block in the preschool curriculum. Put fun twist on the science concept with these cup pets. They also make great home decor.I did this with my entire class. We used TickleMe Plant seeds that we got on line The plants now close their leaves and lower their branches when the kids tickle their Pet Plants!

What You Need:

  • Small plastic cup
  • Permanent markers
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic bags
  • Potting soil
  • Eyedropper
  • Grass seed or radish seeds
  • Small container of water

What You Do:

  1. Hand your child the plastic cup. Supervise carefully while your child uses permanent markers to draw her pet’s face on the cup.
  2. Ask your child to dip the cotton ball in the water and put it in the bottom of her cup.
  3. Then, put potting soil on top of the balls, be sure to stop an inch below the cup’s rim.
  4. Help your child sprinkle seeds on top of the soil and lightly pat them down. Show her how to use the eyedropper to slowly add water to the cup. The soil should be damp, but not wet. If the seeds become too damp your pet will rot!
  5. Ask your child to put the cup near a window.
  6. Loosely cover each cup with a plastic bag.
  7. After a while you should start to see growth. Your pet is growing fur, or maybe it’s hair? We have no idea. But ours sure is cute!

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Create an Ocean in a Bottle

Create an Ocean in a Bottle

Watching the waves move back and forth, splashing and tumbling shells along the beach, can be mesmerizing. The natural sway of the water is soothing and exciting at the same time. Waves are energy in motion. The tides are caused by the pull of the moon’s gravity on the earth’s water as the earth turns.

Every person who has walked along the beach wonders: what will wash up on the shore with the next wave? This activity creates an ocean in a jar complete with waves, and will leave your child entranced with the magic of the ocean.

What You Need:

  • Glass bottle or jar
  • Hot glue gun
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil or Baby oil
  • Blue food coloring
  • Sand
  • Seashells

What You Do:

  1. Make sure your jar is washed out and clean. Help your child spoon some sand into the jar.
  2. Add water until ½ full. Add 1 drop of blue food coloring or more until you get a color you like.
  3. Have your child add a few shells to your “ocean.”
  4. Add vegetable oil until almost full. Leave a small space for air at the top.
  5. Taking over duties, use the hot glue gun and put glue around the lid and then place the lid on the bottle.

Turn your ocean on its side and watch the waves go back and forth. Watch the sand gently move as the waves go by. Shake up the bottle. What happens to the sand? What happens to the shells? Does all the sand move as the waves move or just a little at a time? Your ocean in a jar is too small to mimic the tidal patterns of the real ocean but will offer a great opportunity to see the effects of energy in motion.

This did not work for me. The food coloring tinted the sand and shells blue and the oil made the whole thing a mess. I’m going to try again and make the water the color I want before I add it and use way less oil.
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Make Scented Pumpkins

Make Scented Pumpkins

Engage your child’s senses with this autumn art project. He’ll create a paper pumpkin along with some scented, textured paint to add an element of sensory fun. Your child will love touching, smelling, and, of course, looking at his seasonal masterpiece.

What You Need:

  • Orange and green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Paintbrush

What You Do:

  1. First, help your child cut out the pumpkin. Have him cut a large circle from the orange construction paper. If he needs help cutting out the right shape, you can have him trace a plate, or you can sketch out the shape and have him cut along the lines. Talk about the shape and color as he cuts. What other fruits and vegetables are shaped like a circle or are orange in color?
  2. Have him cut a small rectangle from the green construction paper. This will be the stem. Have him glue the green rectangle to the orange circle to create his pumpkin.
    1. Have him cut a small rectangle from the green construction paper. This will be the stem. Have him glue the green rectangle to the orange circle to create his pumpkin.
    2. Now it’s time to make your scented paint! Help him measure equal parts white glue and water. Encourage him to stir the two ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.
    3. Next, help your child open the container of pumpkin pie spice. Encourage him to sniff it. What does he smell? Allow him to liberally sprinkle the spice over the glue and water mixture and stir again.
    4. Now give him a paintbrush and encourage him to cover every inch of his paper pumpkin with the scented paint. When the paint dries, it’ll be shiny and have a delightfully grainy texture from the added spice. And it’ll even smell like pumpkin pie!

    A great outing to go with this activity is a visit to your local pumpkin farm where your kid can observe the pumpkin life cycle in action. Talk to your child about the process: pumpkins start off as one little seed. The seed sprouts into a seedling. The seedling grows into a vine. Flowers blossom along the vine, and each flower becomes a little green pumpkin. As each pumpkin ripens, it becomes bigger and turns orange. While you’re at the pumpkin farm, pick up a pumpkin of your own, take it home, and give your child another sensory experience by teaching him how to make pumpkin pie!

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