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October 25, 2015

MacKenzie Masten

The Top 5 Halloween Science Experiments For Kids

Topics: Creativity, Learning at Home, STEM

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Halloween is right around the corner, and while parents run to the store this weekend to purchase last minute treats, we’ve put together a guide of our favorite Halloween science experiments for kids! Halloween is not just for candy, costumes and creatures; there are a number of science experiments for kids that help them learn and make Halloween even more fun! 

Spooky Floating M&M’s:

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We like turning all holidays into a learning experience; especially the ones that involve copious amount of sugar. With all the leftover candy your child has from trick or treating, we’ve found the perfect healthy way to get rid of it.

For the experiment you’ll need:

  • A clear bowl
  • A bag of M&M's
  • Water

Take the M&M’s and place them face up in the bowl (so the ‘M’ faces up), then pour about half a cup of water over the candies trying not to move them around too much. After about 5 to 10 minutes you and your child should see the ‘M’ from each piece of candy float up to the top of the water. 

How does it work?

The letter ‘M’ on the M&M’s is printed in an edible white ink that does not dissolve in water. As the water begins to break down the candy, the ‘M’ stays intact and eventually floats up to the surface.

Freaky Frozen Hands:

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This activity takes all the random knick-knacks and toys your child gets in their trick or treat bag and turns them into a Halloween science experiment.

For this experiment you'll need:

  • Plastic gloves
  • Water
  • Anything small and plastic, e.g. spiders, googly eyes, buttons
  • Food coloring
  • Salt
  • Spoons
  • Bowl of Water

Have your child take a plastic glove and fill it with the small plastic items you’ve collected. Work the pieces through the fingers so they're all spread out (you may need to help them). Then fill the gloves with water and add a few drops of food coloring. Tie up the water filled gloves and place the spooky hands in the freezer. 

Once the gloves are frozen (best to let them freeze over night), take them out of the freezer and run the gloves under cold water and begin to remove the gloves. Be careful when trying to get the gloves off, the fingers can break easily. Once you’ve worked your frozen hands out of their gloves, place them in the large plastic bin and bring out your salt, bowl of water, and spoons.

Have your child shake and spoon the salt over the ice to uncover the treasures they froze in the gloves. The ice will immediately begin to melt right before their eyes! They can experiment with different amounts of salt and learn how much salt is needed to break their toys from the ice. They can use the spoons to remove the spiders and googly eyes, as they work to melt down the ice. Be careful that they do not use their hands to place the salt on the ice as it could burn their fingers.

How does it work?

Ice forms when it reaches a temperature of 32 degrees. When you add salt, it lowers the freezing/melting point of the water, making the ice melt quickly and efficiently. This is why people pour salt on their driveways when winter hits, it melts the ice!

Monstrous Marshmallows:

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This experiment usually uses ghost-shaped Peeps but you can use any type of marshmallow, the results will still be the same—a monstrous marshmallow!

For the experiment you’ll need:

  •  Marshmallows
  •  Empty plastic bottle
  •  A microwave

This Halloween science experiment is quick and easy—that’s why we like it so much. All you have to do is place 3 marshmallows in an empty plastic bottle and place that in the microwave. Set the microwave to 45 seconds and get ready to press start. Make sure your kids are watching when you start the microwave because after about 30 seconds the experiment will be done! As the microwave starts your child will see the marshmallows begin to grow, and eventually they will fly out of the bottle! (Don’t worry, the melted marshmallow is easy to clean).

How does it work?

Microwaves cause water molecules in food to spin. As the molecules spin faster, they create heat and cause the food to heat up. As things heat up, they expand and as marshmallows heat up tiny bubbles of moist air get trapped inside making the marshmallows grow to a monstrous size.

Screaming Balloons:

Screaming balloons aren’t as bad as they sound—they’re actually a really fun experiment in friction and vibration!

For the experiment you’ll need:

  • A balloon
  • A hex nut
  • A sharpie

Draw a ghostly face on the deflated balloon with the sharpie. Then take the balloon and place a hex nut inside of it. Blow up the balloon so it has a good amount of air in it and tie it so it is secure.

Spin the balloon around so the hex nut inside begins to create a continuous circle. You should begin to hear a screaming sound from the balloon!

How does it work?

Thanks to the laws of inertia and a little bit of centripetal motion, the hex nut continuously spins around the inside of the balloon. The unique shape of the hex nut vibrates the walls of the balloon to produce that screaming sound.

Dancing Ghosts and Ghouls:

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We saved the best for last. Of all the Halloween science experiments for kids, dancing ghosts is by far our favorite.

For the experiment you’ll need:

  • A piece of tissue paper
  • A balloon
  • Scissors
  • A head of hair 

Cut out a few ghostly shapes from the tissue paper so they are about 1.5 inches long and decorate them with spooky faces. Once you have made your ghosts, lay them flat on the table. Blow up a balloon and tie it tight, then rub it across your hair vigorously for about 10 seconds. Slowly bring the balloon to the ghost and watch it as it begins to float in mid air!

How does it work?

When you rub the balloon through your hair you create a build up of invisible electrons. The electrons have the power to pull very light objects toward them, which in this case is the tissue ghost! 

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We hope you enjoy these experiments and wish you a very safe and spooky Halloween! 

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