I love Halloween! The costumes, the decorations, the candy, the jokes (Why did the ghost starch his sheet? He wanted everyone scared stiff.) – it’s all great! But this year, why not take some time out from the spooky tricks and sweet treats to include a little learning amongst all the mayhem? Try these scary STEM activities with your little goblins:
- Puking Pumpkin – Add a little extra mischief to your jack-o-lantern this year. After you’ve carved a spooky face in your pumpkin, mix about ½ c warm water with 1 T dish soap, 2 T baking soda, and some food coloring. Be sure to place your jack-o-lantern in a location that can get a little messy, and pour the mixture into the bottom of the pumpkin. Then, add in about a cup of vinegar and watch the chemical reaction spew forth!
- Candy Catapult – Let your little monsters try their hand at engineering. Use supplies that you probably have at home to create a catapult that can launch your candy out the door and into waiting trick-or-treat bags. (Keep in mind, it’s probably best not to launch candy in the direction of another person.) Learn how from 4-H in Illinois, North Carolina, or Oklahoma – or create your own method!
- Cucurbit Calculations – If you’re like me, you probably have pumpkins scattered all over the house. I use them as decorations, door stops, soon-to-be pies, and now…study aids! Grab the kiddos and use these big, round orbs to sharpen inquiry, observation, and math skills. Let your little ones ask as many questions about the pumpkins that they can think of, then work together to figure out the answers. How big around is the pumpkin? Which one is heavier? How many seeds are inside? Does it float? Why? This type of inquiry-based learning does more than just teach facts and skills - it helps young people learn how to learn.
Check out these resources for more great Halloween activities, ideas, and information!
- Pumpkin STEM 4-H Cloverbud Connections (OSU)
- Spooky STEM Challenges (Project Learning Tree) -
- More Tricks than Treats This Halloween (Illinois Extension) -
MEET THE AUTHOR
Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.
She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.
When she is not leading a training, writing curriculum, or developing new partnerships, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.
ABOUT THE BLOG
Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.