Squash Spirits

Use butternut squash to make this adorable family of ghosts for your front porch this Halloween season! The novel shape is a fun twist on a standard round pumpkin.

Since butternut squash come in a pale peach color, though, first we needed to make them a ghostly white. Veronika loved helping paint the “baby” squash while I painted two larger ones. Just use caution, as you will need to use acrylic paint for this project rather than washable tempera paint.

We let the paint dry before adding a second coat of white, then let dry completely again.

To set up the squash squad, one received a top hat to wear and another got glasses. (Note: Our accessories were care of Mr. Potato Head, but doll accessories would work, too!). Finally, Baby Squash got eyes with permanent black marker, and the family was ready to haunt our steps.

BOO!

Water Wows

Here are two fun ways to sneak in some STEM learning about states of matter and water, one project involving water in the frozen state and one liquid!

First up was Catching Ice Cubes, a classic trick based on the fact that salt melts ice. I placed a few ice cubes on a tray and challenged Travis: Could he pick one up with a string? He gamely tried looping string around the slippery ice, but to no avail.

Next, we placed the pieces of string across the ice cubes, and then sprinkled each with a small mound of salt.

Count – slowly! – to thirty, then gently lift the string. The ice lifts up!

Now it was time to play Pinching Water with water in its liquid state. Ahead of time, I used a hammer and nail to make two small holes near the bottom of an empty and clean soup can. The holes should be about 1/2 an inch apart.

Tape over the holes with masking tape and fill the can with water. I removed the tape and Travis put his fingers near the two sprays of water. They pinch together into one!

This is a neat way to show the “magnetic” or sticky property of water molecules. which then split back apart if you move your finger further away. Travis also thought it was fun to plug up one hole and watch how the flow changed.

For even more fun ways to play with “sticky” water, check out some of our old favorites.

Light-Up Haunted House Kiwi Crate

We haven’t unboxed a Kiwi Crate in a long time, but couldn’t resist this Halloween-themed crate for some spooky STEM learning: a Light-Up Haunted House. I would recommend this particular project for ages 5 and up.

To start, Travis loved being in charge of the electronics, which meant inserting the battery into the provided battery pack, attaching wires into the LED strip, and then switching the on-off button to test it out. Sure enough, the LED lights glowed an eerie green!

The house comes together easily thanks to provided cardboard sides, a foam base, and vellum sheets that attach over the window openings with clear stickers.

The roof was a bit trickier, requiring some grown-up assistance to fold the gabled rooftop and then attach to wooden roof pieces with pieces of sticky foam.

While I put the finishing touches on the roof, Travis and little sister Veronika both loved using the provided markers to color in the spooky paper shapes: bats, pumpkins, cats, gravestones, ghosts, and more!

Truly the house is meant as decoration, but the kids loved it more to “play” haunted house, moving the ghost and cat figures in and out of the creaky front door.

Kiwi provided a few other elements to raise the spooky factor, including a cotton ball to pull apart for cobwebs and rickety wooden fence pieces to place out front.

Whether to play with or just for haunted decor, we give this kit a big thumbs up.