Halloween is a great opportunity to teach children that spooky, scary occurrences can usually be easily explained by science.
Help them see the science behind the supernatural with these clever Halloween-inspired science activities.
1.Dissolving Experiment For this experiment you will need three cups, some cooking oil, milk, water and three identical gummy sweets from your collection of trick or treat wins.
Pour a different liquid into each cup, just up to about three inches high.
Science experimentation is all about explaining yoru method, making predictions and recording results, so first have your children write up the plan and then ask them what they think will happen. Will the sweets float or sink? Will they stay the same or will they change? Then put one sweet in each cup, and over the course of the day, keep going back to check on their progress. At the end of the experiment, pull the sweets out and write up what happened.
2. Flying Fire Ghosts This experiment is best conducted on your patio. Snip the top off a tea bag adn dump the contents out. Then draw a ghostly face onto the bag and stand it upright on a inflammable surface. Light the top of the tea bag and as the bag burns it should lift off the ground, giving the impression of a flying ghost. As the air inside the tea bag gets hot it expands and rises. Cold air rushes in from underneath, lifting the bag up into the air.
3. Exploding Ghost Rockets For this experiment you will need a handful of old-fashioned camera film canisters (which you can still buy on eBay), some Alka Seltzer tablets, cornflour and a little water. Firstly, turn each canister upside down and use a permanent marker to draw on a ghostly face. In each pot mix a teaspoon of cornflour with some water to make a gloopy paste. Crumble in some Alka Seltzer tablet, quickly replace the lid, place the ghost down and stand back. Yoru ghost will explode, shooting right up into the air, leaving a trail of white gloop behind them. The white paste will be easy to wash off so you can make your ghosts jump off the climbing frame, picnic table, swing, whatever you like.
4. Expanding Ghost Balloon Hang on to some of those Alka Seltzer tablets. You'll need a small bottle, half filled with water. Draw a ghostly face on a balloon, plop the Alka Seltzer into the bottle and very quickly stretch the neck of the balloon over the neck of the bottle. As the mixture bubbles away the rising gas will cause the balloon to expand.
5. Skeleton Jigsaw Time for some biology. Draw / print out a skeleton and cut into jigsaw pieces. Combine this lesson with a little physical activity by hiding the pieces all over the garden or all around the house. Make sure you count up the pieces before you hide them so you know when you've found them all. Just by collecting the pieces and putting them together your children will learn a lot about the human skeleton.
For more play ideas, check out the Wicken blog.