Monster Mud!

With Halloween around the corner, I decided we needed something besides Pumpkins to spook up our science class.  So we finally made Ghost Mud, except ours turned out to be more like Monster Mud!  Either way, it was goopy fun with the most surprising of materials

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Bar of white soap (we used Ivory soap since we used it in our Soap Souffle experiment)
  • Roll of toilet paper (yup, you read that right!)
  • Water
  • Bin or tray to play with
  • Googly-eyes (optional but super fun!)
  • Old Cheese grater


First, grate the bar of soap.  I did this for the little tots in my class because I did not want any little fingers getting sliced!)


While the adult grates the soap, your little one can shred the toilet paper.  This is a great fine motor activity.  (Just don’t blame me if they start shredding the toilet paper in your bathroom!) We used about 1/2 roll.img_8892

Add some water to the soap and mix with your hands.  For a bar of soap, I used about 3/4 cup of water.


Now comes the fun part!  Add the soapy mixture to the shredded toilet paper.  Mix it up!  I promise it will turn into a fun mold-able “mud”.  Adjust the consistency by adding more paper or water.


Some tots liked smooshing and squishing it.  Others wouldn’t go near it!  For the littlest ones, this sort of sensory messy play is vital, BUT, it takes a lot of exposure for some tots to get used to it.  Don’t worry.  Just keep exposing them without forcing them.  They will come around when they see how fun it is!

We also added lots of monster eyes to make them look like ghosts but I think they turned out more “monster-like” so I’m calling it Monster Mud.


Such an easy activity to set up with some surprising materials!  And because you’re playing with soap, you just have to rinse with water at the end!  Easy clean up!


To see my other Halloween science experiments and activities, click on any of the following links:


A great way to do TWO science experiments in one, is to try my Soap Souffle experiment first and then use the same soap to make Monster Mud! It will save you the step of grating the soap and you get learn even more science!  Win-Win!!

Science behind the Activity:

While not a science experiment in the strictest sense, mixing substances together to get a new substance is definitely a great “cause-and-effect” science activity.  There is great fine motor skill development with shredding toilet paper.  And of course, this activity encourages sensory and messy play, which is an important part of exploration and investigation at this young age.

Here’s where I got my spooky, muddy idea from:





Fizzing Jupiter

For those of you who follow my activities, you know how much I love my baking soda and vinegar experiments.  To be fair, the tots and my littlest superhero LOVE baking soda and vinegar so it’s not ALL about me🙂

This one is a simple and easy addition to your space theme.  I call them Jupiters (even though my color mixing wasn’t as successful as Jupiter) but you could make them any planet or leave them white for the moon.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Tray for drying the rocks
  • Vinegar
  • Black or purple food coloring (optional – but colors make everything more fun!!)


To make the planet:

Combine 2 cups of baking soda and 1/2 cup of water (add the desired color to the water) in a large bowl.  To make the the Jupiters, I split this into two bowls, one with red (looked orange) and one with yellow.

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Then I mixed both together to get an orange-yellow swirly Jupiter look.  Kind of.


Using your hands, take a handful and roll into a ball.  If it’s too dry, it won’t stay together, if it’s too watery, it will melt into a sloppy puddle.  Add water or more baking soda to adjust the consistency.  


Let them dry overnight.  I placed mine in a plastic container and put them in the freezer to harden. 

The next morning, the planets were hard.    Note: this recipe will yield about 10 balls.

To explore:

I gave each little one a “Jupiter” and a cup with vinegar that had black food coloring and some silver glitter (“Starry Space Juice” is what I called it!).


The tots definitely know what to do with the dropper and the vinegar.  Space juice was added to the planets for some fizzy fun!

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Such an easy and simple little experiment to set up!

To see my other “fizzing” experiments (perfect for any holiday), click on any of the following links:

Science behind the Activity:

This is a twist on the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When combined, they release carbon dioxide gas (the bubbles).  The fizzing and bubbles are just way too much fun for the kiddos!

Here’s where I got my fizzy idea from:





Galaxy in a Bottle

So this isn’t really a science experiment but I LOVE discovery bottles and this one is so pretty!  My older boys really enjoyed making this and it led to discussions about supernovas and galaxies and nebulae.  The tots in my class enjoyed the pretty swirly colors and filling the bottles.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • cotton balls – almost a bag per bottle
  • empty bottles (I used old gatorade bottles)
  • paint in “galaxy colors” (we used metallic acrylic paint in purple, silver and blue)
  • glitter
  • straw (or something to push the cotton balls into the bottle)
  • cups


First, create the colors of your galaxy by adding some paint to water.  We used metallic blue, metallic purple and metallic gray.  We love how swirly the water looked!

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Next we stuffed our bottle about 1/2 full with cotton balls.  (It looks prettier if you shred the cotton balls, but my boys and the tiny tots don’y have the patience for that!)  We used a straw to help push the balls into the bottle.


Next, add your first color to the bottle.


Add some glitter.  (We probably should have added more)


We noticed that as soon as the water was added, the cotton squished into a smaller layer.  So add lots of cotton! Like we did on the second layer.


We again added a new color to the cotton.  And more glitter.  Make sure to push the cotton down as tight as you can.

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We repeated it again with the last layer.


Then we added the lid and shook it a bit.


The puffy cotton looks like the “clouds” of space debris you see when you look at pictures of galaxies, nebulae, supernovas, etc… The glitter looks like stars in the night sky…


While we were making these bottles, my boys asked me what a galaxy was and what a supernova was.  It was a great art activity to open up discussion about outer space.  While not a real science experiment, it sparked a science conversation.  It my book, that’s success!

For more details and to see where I got this simple, but fantastic idea from, please visit:


Pie Plate Model of Earth’s Orbit

**Updated! 10/18/2016**

I have been meaning to to do a space themed lesson for a long time but was struggling to get some science activities (not just crafts) for the youngest set to do.  I finally “landed” on this one and it was fantastic fun and so easy to do!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Foil pie plates (must be round)
  • Black construction paper
  • Orange construction paper
  • Star stickers
  • Blue Marble (or blue-green, to represent Earth)
  • Glue
  • Scissors


Since the tots in my class are pretty young, I measured out the bottom of the pie plates and cut out black circles for them.  I also cut out the orange circles to represent the sun.  For preschoolers and kindergarteners, I would definitely trace the circles for them but have them cut them out on their own.  For older kids, they can trace and cut on their own.


Glue the large black circle to the inside of the plate.  This represents space.


Next, glue the orange circle to the center of the plate.  This represents the sun.


Place some stickers all over the black paper to represent the starts in the sky. As was noted by a fellow science teacher, there are no stars in our solar system except for the Sun.  To make this activity scientifically accurate, you might just want to skip the star stickers.


Lastly, add the blue marble and spin the plate so that the marble spins around the edge of the plate, representing how the Earth spins around the sun.


That’s it!  It’s a craft, but there’s plenty of learning (and fun) while spinning the plate.

The Science behind the Activity:

There are plenty of models of the solar system but I love how this is so simple for young kids to understand that the Earth is moving around the sun and not the other way around.  This same project could be done with the Earth in the center and a white marble to symbolize the moon spinning around the Earth.

To see where I got this simple but fantastic idea from, please visit:

*My only note on the original author’s post is that scientifically it’s not accurate to place 8 marbles in the pie dish to represent all 8 planets orbiting the sun.  The sizes of the orbits are very different and the planets would be showing that they are crashing into each other.  But her idea is great for showing one orbit at a time.*

**Updated: Skip the star stickers if you want to be scientifically accurate.  There are no stars in our solar system.  The only star in our solar system is our sun.**

Exploring the 5 Senses with Apples

Everyone seems to be in a frenzy over apples in the Fall.  While everyone else is baking and drinking apple cider, I decided to use them for some fun Fall Science.  My middle son just studied the 5 senses in his kindergarten class and that got me thinking… So here’s my apple version of the 5 senses!  No fancy stuff needed.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Apples (any variety will do, but a few different ones to investigate is great)
  • knife
  • apple corer (optional)
  • magnifying glass (optional but they are fun to use)

Our first Sense is the sense of Sight.  We talked about our eyes.  Where are they on our face?  How many eyes do we have? What do we use them for?


Then we used our eyes to look at the different apples.  What shape are they?  What colors are the apples?  How many do we have?


We also used our magnifying glass to take a closer look.


Next we discussed our sense of Touch.  We talked about our fingers and hands and what we use them for.  We counted our fingers too! (See how I sneak math into my science!) What do the apples feel like?  Are they soft or hard?  Are they smooth or bumpy?  Are they heavy or light?


Moving on to the next one, we talked about our sense of Smell.  What do we use to smell with?  Where is our nose?  How many noses do we have?


Then we smelled the apples with our noses.  Sniff Sniff!


The fourth sense uses our ears to Hear.  We pointed to our ears.  How many ears do we have?  What are they used for?


Using the apple slicer, we listened to the sound of the apple being sliced. Crunch!


We grabbed a slice and touched it and discussed how the inside of an apple feels different from the outside.  It felt wet and sticky.  We touched the core and sliced it open and investigated the seeds inside with our sense of touch and sense of sight.


Of course, the magnifying glass was necessary to get a closer look!


We also smelled the inside of the apple and it smelled sweet.

Lastly, we used our fifth sense, taste, when we licked our apple and then bit into it!  YUM!!


What a fun way to use apples to learn about the five senses!

During October, you might also want to try using the 5 senses to investigate pumpkins!

The Science behind the Activity:

This is a simple observation activity for the youngest scientists as well as older ones.  Identifying the 5 senses and the body parts that are used for each is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.  Comparing the inside and the outside of the apple using the senses is also a great observation activity as well.  Connecting the 5 senses to a food that they are familiar with is a great way to connect everyday life to science.  So much learning from a simple activity!

For more apple science activities, try:

Apple Volcano

This was our first full week of fall and it’s been HOT and sweltering over here.  Finally today, it feels like Fall and it’s a perfect day to celebrate apple season.  Aside from eating and baking apples, why not use some over-ripe apples to play with? Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Apple season.  So, while you are picking out your apples, get a few extra and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Apples (any variety will do)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Knife and metal spoon to hollow it out (Adult use only)
  • droppers and spoons
  • cups
  • Tray to contain the mess


First cut the top off the apple and scoop out the insides and the seeds to form a “bowl”.  I found it easiest to cut a circle off the top and then use a metal tablespoon to scoop it out.


This kept the top of the apple intact to use as a lid.  We saved the seeds and stem for our Exploring the Five Senses with Apples activity.


I set up a tray with the hollowed apple, dropper, cup of baking soda, spoon and cup of vinegar (I colored ours red for fun)


Then I invited the superheroes to play.  These little ones KNOW exactly what to do with baking soda and vinegar!


Repeat as many times as your superheroes want to do it.  We went through a box of baking soda between the two older ones!


The Science behind the activity:

This is a classic acid-base reaction.  Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid.  When they combine, they create a chemical reaction where the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar.  A by-product of the reaction is carbon dioxide.  That is what the bubbles are.  As the carbon dioxide is formed and bubbles out, it carries some liquid up with it, hence the “eruption”.


There are a million ways to do this experiment.  I can pretty much adapt this to any theme.  Another great Halloween theme application of this is the Pumpkin Volcano, which we also did.

For my Tiny Tot class, I ended the class by reading “Ten Apples On Top” by Dr. Seuss.

For more Apple Science Activities, try the following:



Elephant Toothpaste

Have you ever made elephant toothpaste?  It is super fun to watch and and play with.  I can’t believe as a chemistry teacher I have never done this experiment before… until now.  It’s pretty easy to do, though the materials may not already be in your home, they are easy to acquire.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A large dish or foil pan
  • Dry Active Yeast packet
  • Warm water
  • Tall vase, carafe or long neck bottle
  • Measuring cup and measuring spoon
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (at least 6% available for about $3 at a Beauty Supply Store)


I had the tots first touch the yeast.  It looked like sand to them.  They also noticed that it had a strong odor.

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Next, we measured 1 Tbsp of dry active yeast and added it to about 3Tbsp of warm water.

IMG_7266We mixed it and put it aside for a few minutes.  This does not have to be exact.

Next we used a tall clear glass bottle (a clear wine bottle or carafe is actually perfect!) and added about 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide.  Add some food coloring if you want to.

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I recommend using glass as the reaction can get quite warm.  Add a few good squirts of dish soap.


Be sure not to use one with the antibacterial beads.  The beads will interfere with the reaction.  Give it a good swirl.

Place the bottle in the large dish pan.   I added the yeast to the bottle and watched the magic unfold!


In class, I then had the tots sit away a bit and put their safety glasses on. There was plenty of oohing and aahing!  The kids thought it was great, especially after our discussion of whether elephants need toothpaste:)


After the reaction ended, I invited the children to touch the foam.

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It was warm and bubbly and soft.  We also touched the bottle and it was very warm as well.  (Just make sure you touch the foam and the bottle first to make sure it isn’t too hot for the kiddos).

The Science Behind the Activity:

When the yeast mixture is added to the hydrogen peroxide, it helps to facilitate a decomposition reaction (a reaction that breaks a chemical compound down).  In this case, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is being broken into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2).   The yeast acts as a catalyst (kind of like a chemical “helper”) to make the reaction go faster.  Because of the addition of dish soap, the oxygen gas gets trapped in the soap as bubbles and creates the foam that you see.  This reaction also releases heat which makes it an example of an exothermic reaction.  So much chemistry in this fun little demonstration.


  • Test out different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide.  How does concentration affect the rate of the reaction?
  • Test whether the yeast needs to be mixed with water first or if it can be added directly
  • Test whether the amount of yeast added affects the reaction
  • What happens if the yeast is added to cold water?  Does temperature matter?

For more details and where I got my idea from, please visit: