STEM education is more important than ever, so we’ve outlined 5 fun Halloween themed experiments to get your young ones inspired. Most of the ingredients for these experiments are probably already in your pantry or easy to find at the store.
1.Spooky Lava Lamp Density Experiment
This experiment is such a fun and visually engaging way to teach kids about density. Using a few simple ingredients, you’ll be sure to capture their attention when they see colorful lava lamp-like bubbles floating around.
- Clear cup or jar
- Vegetable oil
- Rubbing alcohol
- Corn syrup
- Food coloring
- Eye dropper
Instructions: Mix food coloring of choice with your water and also with your rubbing alcohol. Pour the vegetable oil into the cup about 1/3 of the way. Use eye dropper to drop in colored water. Next, pour in the corn syrup. Lastly, use the eyedropper to drop in colored alcohol. In between each step, be sure to stop and observe the densities of each liquid, how they don’t mix together and why. They will love observing how the different colored and types of liquids act together and will be mesmerized by the lava lamp effects.
This experiment is always a hit. Slime is popular with kids and they’re usually super excited to learn how to make their own. You’ll be creating a polymer which is a great opportunity to teach them what that means and why it can act as a liquid or a solid.
- 8 ounces Elmer’s white glue
- 8 ounces warm water
- Food coloring (purple or green are great for Halloween)
- ½ cup liquid starch
- Glitter optional for some added fun
Instructions: Empty the glue into a large mixing bowl. Fill the glue bottles with warm water and pour into the bowl and mix with a large utensil. Add glitter and food coloring and mix well. Next, add liquid starch pouring slowly and stirring as you pour. If it is added too quickly it can become too tough and sticky. Continue adding one spoonful at a time until thick enough. At this point you can finish kneading with your hands and it will not stick. Let the kids mold it, stretch it and sculpt it for hours of sensory fun!
A Halloween spin on the classic film canister rocket experiment. Film canisters are harder to find these days, however there may be a photo shop in your area that is selling film and willing to part with a few canisters. The white semi-transparent ones tend to work best, and they also work well for making a little ghost face with marker on the surface. Make sure you only set one off at a time for safety.
- White film canisters
- Black marker
- Corn starch
- Alka seltzer
- Warm water
- Stir stick
Instructions: Start with drawing your little ghosts on the canister. Add 1-2 tsps. of corn starch to the canister. Fill up to about 1/3 of the way with warm water and stir until starch is dissolved.
Break a tablet of Alka-Seltzer into 2 or 3 pieces. The next part is going to require some speed as the Alka-Seltzer creates carbon dioxide with the water and immediately begins to react. Drop the piece of Alka-Seltzer into the water and starch mixture and very quickly put the cap on and turn it upside down, placing on the ground. Back away quickly. Within a few seconds your rocket will take off! This is a great opportunity to talk about how real rockets work in the same way, using pressure from gas.
A Halloween twist on the classic volcano experiment. This activity is a favorite for many kids and such a great way to talk about states of matter. There’s a good chance your kids won’t be able to get enough of this one, so luckily, it’s quick and easy to perform. Make sure you have a deep tray under your pumpkin or perform this experiment outdoors. You can use a plastic pumpkin or a real carved one.
- Carved pumpkin, can be fake or real
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2-3 cups Vinegar
- Food coloring
- A squirt of dish soap
Instructions: Add a cup of baking soda to the pumpkin. Add a few drops green food coloring to your vinegar, then add it to the pumpkin. Add a squirt of dish soap as an option to make it extra bubbly! Stand back and watch the carbon dioxide magic! You can continue adding baking soda and vinegar to their hearts desire. There’s a good chance they’ll want to see this one in action multiple times!
5.Alien Rubber Eggs
You can get as creative with these as you’d like to. This experiment takes 48 hours to complete, but the results are sure to surprise the kids! It is the perfect opportunity to discuss osmosis. As the vinegar breaks down the calcium carbonate of the shell and leaves the membrane underneath intact. The membrane is semipermeable and allows water to pass through. Water left over from the chemical reaction travels through the membrane bringing some of the coloring with it.
- Large mason jar
- Food coloring
- Paint brush
Instructions: Begin by carefully placing raw eggs into a jar, then pour vinegar in until eggs are covered. Add food coloring to the jar of vinegar. Try green, purple or orange for a nice start to a Halloween themed monster or alien egg. The eggs will become squishy and rubbery by the end of the experiment.
Let the jar sit for 24 hours somewhere safe. Bubbles will begin to form right away as the chemical reaction begins with the shells and vinegar. The bubbles are carbon dioxide formed by vinegar reacting to calcium.
After 24 hours you should see some foam at the top of the jar. The remaining liquid under the foam will be mostly water. Drain the liquid and replace with fresh vinegar and more food coloring if desired. After the chemical reaction you will need a fresh batch of vinegar to complete the experiment.
After the second 24-hour soak, remove the eggs and rinse. The eggs will be squishy, bouncy and rubbery! They will actually bounce off of a surface like a rubber ball. Continue painting the eggs into eyeballs or anything else your kids would like to craft them into.