Spooky Expanding Ghost

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Your little one will get a kick out of watching the spooky-not-scary ghost puff up in this experiment, a trick made possible with good old vinegar and baking soda. It might not be quite as impressive as flaming ghosts, but is sure to earn a giggle.

First we gathered our materials, and I drew two ghost eyes and a big ghost mouth on an uninflated white balloon.

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Have your child carefully help add 1/2 cup white vinegar to an empty plastic bottle; set aside.

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Next, fill the balloon with 1 tablespoon baking soda. A funnel is your best bet to get the baking soda into the narrow neck of the balloon, but we managed to do so with one adult holding the balloon wide and the other spooning in the baking soda with a baby spoon.

Fit the balloon over the opening of the plastic bottle – don’t let the baking soda fall inside just yet.

When you’re ready, stand the ghost up straight; the baking soda will sprinkle into the vinegar, and the resulting air makes him puff up.

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Travis loved this so much we went through 3 ghost balloons before the fun was done.


DIY Glow in the Dark Comet

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We added a little light into an otherwise dreary rainy morning with this glow stick project. It’s perfect for any kids interested in outer space, or who are learning what comets are – or just any kid who loves glow sticks of course.

To make our comet, I trimmed the sides, top, and bottom from a trash bag, leaving us with a large sheet of plastic.

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Travis traced around the rim of a bowl with a marker to make the center of our comet – I love how steady his hand has become at tracing!

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To make the tail of the comet, we cut the plastic into strips, cutting from the edges up to the center circle.

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Place a small ball in the center (such as a wiffle ball or tennis ball), and wrap up with the plastic bag; tie with a ribbon to secure. We added extra ribbons in red and orange for fiery comet flair!

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As the finishing touch, we tied on two glow sticks (go ahead and use more than two if you like, but that’s all we had in the house).

We dimmed the lights and Travis dashed around to make the comet fly. If you’re having a sunny day, you’re definitely going to want to save this project for nighttime.

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After a while, Travis decided the comet could also be a flare for mountain recues, so we acted out a few “cliff” rescue scenarios on the couch as well.

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What else could your glowing comet become? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!


Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Slime

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True slime enthusiasts and experts will probably cringe at this post, so my apologies in advance! But Travis and I weren’t aiming to make the perfect slime ball, just to have some oopy, goopy, gooey, messy Halloween fun!

We’ve largely skipped the slime craze because I was hesitant to use liquid starch or borax, two ingredients normally called for to pull together a slime solution. Just in time for this Halloween project though, I learned you can use contact lens solution (a buffered saline solution) instead. If you’re looking for a good cruelty-free option, check out Clear Conscience contact solution.

To make the base of the slime, we dumped two small bottles of white glue into a plastic bin. I’m sure there is an exact amount to use, but this seemed to give us about 1/2 cup, which looked about right. Sprinkle your glue with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and stir.

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Now begin adding the saline solution one spoonful at a time; you’ll see it seize up almost right away. Only a few spoonfuls are necessary.

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Now came the real goopy part; stir in leftover pumpkin guts and seeds from pumpkin carving!

Travis was hesitant to get his hands in the stuff at first, but wearing a glove helped.

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His favorite part was when we added glitter. We started with a bit of gold, but he soon decided we needed silver and green as well.

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After that he wanted to squeeze in more saline. To our great delight, this really made the mixture seize up, until you could left it cleanly up out of the plastic bin. Then it stretched back out like long snotty spider webs.

Pumpkin Slime (7)Perfect for Halloween, in sum.