Inflating Spooky Ghost!

You have to try this super easy experiment that will WOW! your littlest ones.  Using my favorite 2 ingredients and a balloon, this one is great for Halloween parties or just for fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Funnel
  • Empty water bottle
  • White balloon
  • Black sharpie


Inflate the balloon slightly and draw a ghost face with the sharpie

img_9084Here’s my attempt at a spooky face


Let the air out.  Place the funnel into the opening of the balloon and add about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon.


Place the balloon aside and add some vinegar to the empty water bottle

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Place the balloon over the mouth of the water bottle taking care that none of the baking soda (the secret) drops into the vinegar below…yet.


Now, the fun begins!  Turn the balloon upside down so it dumps the baking soda into the bottle and watch!


The kiddos LOVED it!!!  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).  Since the gas is trapped by the balloon, the balloon inflates and reveals the ghost!





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 Leprechaun Pots

Baking soda and Vinegar are my two most favorite science experiment ingredients! They are inexpensive, always in the pantry and there are just SO many fizzy, colorful things to do with them.  Here’s my latest version, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day but would also be so much fun as a witches’ brew at Halloween

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring (I love my liquid watercolors)
  • Candy Kettles (any party store has them seasonally)
  • Bin/tray for the mess
  • Glitter (I used gold and green for St. Patty’s Day)
  • Teats, gold coins, etc… to hide in the pots (not necessary)
  • Droppers
  • Cups for the vinegar

To set up:

I placed a few pots in the bin.  I placed one treasure (plastic gold coins) at the bottom and added 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda on top. I sprinkled a little glitter on top of baking soda because glitter is sparkly and so much fun!IMG_1148

Pour vinegar (Leprechaun Potion or Witch’s Potion) into small cups.  I used 6 different colors to create a rainbow.

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To play: 

I gave a small bin with a few pots inside to each of the tiny tots in my class.  I supplied them with a large dropper (more like a turkey baster-perfect for toddlers!)  And then the magic began!

IMG_1150They added their favorite colors to the pots and watched them bubble and fizz!  So easy!  So fun!  So colorful!


That’s IT!  See, you can do this at home too!  And the little ones love it!  Adapt it for Halloween by placing plastic eyeballs, spooky fingers, creepy spiders, etc… for a spooky witches’ brew!  Or use plastic easter egg halves like I did with my Fizzing Easter Eggs experiment.  Or place some baking soda in a hollowed out mini pumpkin and make Pumpkin Volcanoes or into apples for Apple Volcanoes!  So many options!


For more St. Patrick’s Day and Leprechaun Science, please visit:

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:



Observing Pumpkins using our 5 Senses

It’s Pumpkin Season and there is so much fun learning to be had with pumpkins.   Before we began experimenting with our pumpkins, we decided to investigate our pumpkins using our 5 senses.  So before you get busy carving your pumpkin, take some time to explore and investigate your soon-to-be Jack O Lantern

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Pumpkin (we used the small decorative ones with the Tiny Tots)
  • Pumpkin carving tool
  • Metal spoon or scooper
  • Tweezers
  • Magnifying Glass
  • tray/plate


We first held the pumpkins in our hands and felt it from the outside using our hands (Sense of Touch).  Ask them questions to guide their observations: Is it hard or soft?  Bumpy or smooth? What about the stem?  Using their eyes (Sense of Sight), ask them what color it is and what shape it looks like.

Then I cut the top off and asked them to listen (Sense of Hearing) to the sound of the carving knife.  The older kids thought it sounded like a saw.

Then I had them lift it out themselves to see what was inside


Using our Sense of Sight and Touch, I asked the kids to feel the inside of the pumpkin.  The pulp and seeds definitely were a deterrent for some of the youngest toddlers.


This toddler won’t touch the seeds.

I asked them if they could use their Sense of Smell to describe what they smelled.  Most said the pumpkins were “stinky”.

I gave the Tiny Tots spoons and tweezers to scrape the seeds and pulp out.  Then I asked them to touch the seeds.  How does it feel?  Most said “slimy” and “slippery” and “gooey”.

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Magnifying glasses are fun to observe things with so I handed them small and big magnifying glasses.

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For older kids, I had them compare difference between the seeds of the white pumpkins and the orange ones.


I also asked them to predict how many seeds might be in each pumpkin and asked them to count to see how good their guess was.  My superheroes kept losing count and eventually gave up 🙂

Lastly, the Sense of Taste was applied to the pumpkin seeds after we roasted them in the oven.  I asked my boys to hear the crunch of the seeds and the taste of the seeds.  Neither of them were fans of the roasted seeds.  Great, that means more for me!

Once you have hollowed out the pumpkins, try the Pumpkin Volcanoes experiment!

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 while using tweezers and spoons and observing is great for preschoolers and young elementary students.  So much learning from a simple activity!

Candy Concoctions

This is the 3rd part to the Candy Experiment series.  And probably the funnest (that’s a word in toddler speak, right?) one yet!  And it’s the perfect way to use up any and all of your leftover candy whether it’s from Halloween, Christmas, V-Day, Easter or just birthday goodie bags.  The superheroes LOVED this one and I’m sure yours will too!

Here is what you need to get started:

  • leftover candy (we used skittles, lollipops and gummy candies)
  • cups or beakers or large plastic test tubes
  • droppers
  • spoons
  • droppers and syringes
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • water

Give each superhero some candy and a plastic cup, beaker or test tube.  Ask them to make up some potions or candy concoction.  Let them mix and pour and and use the candies however they please.  IMG_1489

They used the lollipops to mix their potions.  Added bonus: It changed the color of their potion!


Mixing concoctions with candy in them


Some vinegar and baking soda make bubbly potions!


Using droppers to make precise measurements.


All in all, the superheroes and their friends had a blast and we used up a lot of leftover candy experimenting instead of getting cavities:)

Science Behind the Activity:

This is one of my favorite activities because it allows young children to be creative and explore and investigate.  I didn’t give them any instructions, just some materials and let them have at it.  One of the girls just wanted to make things fizz.  Another child wanted to see what colors the potions would turn with different candies.  One just wanted to mix everything together.  Each child did something different.  And most importantly, they learned about cause and effect: What happens if I do this?

Halloween Ice Monsters & Spooky Hands

If you’ve tried the Ice Age Dino Dig, then your superheroes will definitely like this Halloween twist!  Frozen Spooky Hands or Halloween Ice Monsters or whatever creative twist you want! Out in California, it’s still fairly warm in October so playing with ice is not usually a problem.  But I’ve noticed, that my kids don’t care about the heat or cold as much as we adults do so give it a go!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • water
  • cups (smaller shot glass ones are better if you want the ice to melt faster
  • Halloween themed treasures (spider rings, plastic spiders, creatures, googly eyes, candy, orange/black beads, plastic pumpkins, cut straws, etc…)
  • food coloring/liquid watercolors (optional but so much more fun!)
  • disposable plastic gloves
  • salt (I use colored salt as it is much more fun!)
  • “Tools” (syringes, droppers, salt shakers, metal spoons, sticks, spray bottles, etc…)
  • Empty tub to contain the mess


For Spooky Hands:

Add some “treasures” to the fingers of the glove.

IMG_2345Then add some colored water.

IMG_2347 Add more treasures and a bit more water. Tie up the glove and place it in the freezer overnight.IMG_2348

For Halloween Ice Monsters:

In a plastic cup, add 2 treasures, 1-3 googly eyes and some colored water. Place in the freezer for 8-12 hours.  Add 2-3 more treasures and more colored water (different color from the previous layer).


Place in the freezer for 8-12 hours.  Add 2 more treasures and more colored water (different color from the previous 2 layers).  Place in the freezer for 8-12 hours.


To Play/Explore:

Remove the spooky hands CAREFULLY from the glove.  Be careful as it is SO easy to break off a finger or a thumb (as I so obviously did!)  I had to basically peel off the glove gently.IMG_2353

To remove the Ice Monsters, just run a bit of warm water over the bottom of the cup and it will pop right out!


Ice Monsters keeping cold until the Tiny Tots arrive

Place the ice into a bin and hand your superheroes some tools and ask them to get the treasures out any way they like.



The Tiny Tots went straight at their ice monsters and surprisingly did not stop until all the treasures were out.  There was lots of dropper action, salt shaking and pouring.


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Salt shakers are great  for melting the ice and syringes and droppers allow them to melt holes in the ice blocks.

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Spray bottles with warm water are great for strengthening the muscles in their hands.

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My superheroes finally dumped the warm water from the spray bottle to speed up the process.

 The Science behind the Activity:

When the salt is added to the ice, it lowers the freezing point of the ice so that water can exist as a liquid at a temperature lower than 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).  This helps to melt the ice, much like East Coasters use salt on the roads to melt the snow and ice so that cars don’t skid in the cold, snowy weather.  Using hot water also helped to melt the ice which was a concept that my boys already understand but perhaps younger kids could discover.  What I love most about this activity, besides the science, is the creative problem solving that the superheroes did while working together to dig out the treasures from the ice.  It was so wonderful for me to listen to their discussions on why they needed to use the droppers and when it was necessary to add more salt or warm water.

I’ve also done a similar experiment called Ice Age Dino Dig.  Super fun for any dinosaur theme or just a hot summer day.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment:

Follow this link to see how I learned about coloring salt:

Pumpkin Volcano

So who doesn’t love a little vinegar and baking soda action?  Here’s an easy twist on the classic “volcano” experiment, just in time for Halloween.  So, while you are picking out your pumpkins, grab a small sugar pumpkin and let your little ones have some explosive fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Small Pumpkin (I used sugar pumpkins that were 2/$1 at our local produce stand but you can also use the small decorative pumpkins too)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food coloring/liquid water colors (optional – but everything is so much more fun with colors!)
  • Small cup (optional)
  • Syringes and droppers (optional-my kids love using these!)
  • Dish/Container to place the pumpkin in to catch the “eruption”


First, cut the top of the pumpkin out and scoop out the seeds.


Mini Decorative Pumpkin


Sugar Pie Pumpkin








We tried the experiment by adding our “chemicals” directly into the pumpkins, but the baking soda started clumping up after awhile and it was hard to clean them out in between students.

So, we cut off the top of a small plastic cup so that it fits inside the pumpkin.  This is optional but we found that it was easier for repeating the experiment if there was a cup inside.  It is by no means necessary.


Next, we poured some vinegar into a cup.  My superheroes chose to add red liquid watercolor to make “vampire’s blood”.  For my science class, I had 6 rainbow colors for the tots to choose from.


Add a teaspoon of baking soda into the pumpkin


Then add some vinegar (vampire’s blood!).  My superheroes love using droppers.

IMG_2338Watch your pumpkin-cano erupt!


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

In my Tiny Tot class, I gave each child a tray with cups of colored vinegar and baking soda for them to do some free play


When I did this with my son’s Kindergarten class, we added some spiders and plastic eyeballs for some extra fun.



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 fall theme application of this is the Apple-cano, which we also did.  This time the superheroes chose “green slime” as the color of the eruption.


For other fun Pumpkin and Halloween related science activities, try:


Candy Chemistry – Skittles and M&M’s

As I mentioned in my last post, the superheroes received a ton of candy so we used them for experiments instead of ingesting all that extra sugar.  This is a quick and easy one to do anytime with just 2 ingredients!  Doesn’t get simpler than this!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • clear cups or clear glass bowls
  • water
  • Skittles candy
  • M&M’s

As usual, I asked my superheroes what they thought was going to happen when we added water to the candies.  We discussed the similarities and differences between the Skittles and the M&M’s before making our predictions.  Then they got to work! We added the  candies to the cups. Then added water.


We watched the skittles which immediately began to change.


We watched the M&M’s as well.  Its sugary coating began to dissolve as well, though not as quickly. The colors definitely started to bleed, although the Skittles coating dissolved much faster than the M&M’s (maybe there is a bit of truth to “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”?)


What we found super cool was that the “S” and the “m” from the candies separated and floated to the top.  The “S” from the skittles (left picture) disappeared/dissolved very quickly and the “m” from the M&M’s (left picture) lasted much longer.  The superheroes and their friends tried to get them with their fingers but they were tricky.


At the end, the coatings on both candies disappeared and only the chocolate was left from the M&M’s.  The Skittles completely dissolved leaving just the colored sugary water behind (below).


We deduced that although the coatings on both candies were made of sugar, the coatings must have some differences in their ingredients to make them dissolve at different rates and in different patterns.  Plus, the Skittles dissolved completely whereas only the coating dissolved on the M&M’s.  Watching the “S” and “m” separate from the candies and float up was pretty cool too!

The Science behind the Activity:

Apparently the Skittles are made of all sugar which is why the entire candy dissolved so quickly and even the “S” on top dissolved fast so we really had to pay attention.  The “m” on the M&M’s are made of more than just sugar so the m’s hang around a bit longer and only the sugary coating dissolves, not the chocolate.  Although our chocolate eventually melted since it was close to 95 degrees that day.

Follow these links to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiments:

Skittles Candy Science Experiment

Candy Science for Kids: M&M Experiment

Candy Chemistry – Bears and Fish, Oh My!

My kids received goodies bag last weekend filled with candy that I’d prefer they not eat.  But my older superhero reminded me that we can’t just throw it away because that would be wasting food, so we came up with an idea to put the candy to good use!  As a bonus, we had friends try out several experiments with us.

This is a simplified version of a lab I used to do with my 8th grade science class.  Our results were unexpected!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • clear cups or clear glass bowls
  • gummy bears and swedish fish (or any gummy candies in any shapes)
  • water
  • paper and pencil

First I had the superheroes (and their super-friends) trace the shapes of the gummy bears and swedish fish onto a piece of paper.


Then we added them to the empty cups and I asked them what they thought would happen when we added water to them.  The responses were hysterical: “They will swim away!” “The fish will drink the water!” “The fish will eat the gummy bears!”  Can you tell these superheroes are little?

They added the water and we went on to another activity for a bit before returning to check in on our bears and fish.


When we checked on them, a curious thing had happened.  (I was surprised as I expected a completely different result!)



Yes, the colors started to bleed into the water which was not unusual, but the gummy bears shrunk to the point where they were almost non-existent!  You can see this as the superheroes stuck their candies onto the sheet where they had traced the original candy shapes.



The Swedish fish did not shrink or expand or lose color but the gummy bears were barely there!  In all the years I did the “Gummy Bear Lab” with my 8th graders, the gummy bears expanded and filled with water, never shrunk.  This is why I love science.  You never know what your results will be!

The superheroes did not know what to expect so they were not surprised by this (“I think the fish ate some of the bear!”)

The Science behind the Activity:

The gummy bears are porous and due to osmosis (the diffusion of water), they should soak up with water.  Obviously in our case, this did not happen.  Of course I’m curious and I think I might just have to set up another experiment with different brands of gummy bears and how they react based on their ingredients!  Stay tuned!