Spooky Halloween Science Kiwi Crate

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The kids have been loving Halloween-themed crates from Kiwi Co this spooky season, and we had time for just one more before the big night. The final crate we unboxed featured multiple projects, all relying on static electricity. The crate was the perfect combination of the explicable (science!) and the supernatural (witches, and ghosts, and eyeballs, oh my!).

The first experiment was Rolling Eyes. Travis helped wrap foam balls with foil, then attach cooper sticker dots at the top. The eyes are then placed inside a spooky box graveyard covered in clear plastic.

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Travis loved rubbing the provided fabric square across the plastic for a slow count of 15 seconds. Let the eyeballs drop and… They roll! One half of the eyeballs is repelled by the static charge and the other is attracted, meaning they skitter about on the surface.

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This was frightful and delightful to watch!

Next up, Travis made Dancing Ghosts. He decorated the provided thin paper shapes, which then attach into wooden gravestones and trees with foam dots.

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We pressed the provided air-dry clay down into a wooden base, and then all the spooky wooden parts can stand upright. Travis even arranged a skeleton out front!

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This time, we rubbed the fabric square on the provided wand. Once again, your child will generate static electricity, and when it’s held near the tissue paper ghosts and bats, they “rise up” from the grave.

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The final experiment didn’t work well for us, but the idea is to slide two provided lightbulb wires through the eye sockets of a tiny wooden pumpkin. Blow up a balloon and rub on your head for static electricity, then hold the balloon near the tips of the lightbulb wires, and the eyes should flicker! We must not have generated much electricity, because we only got a faint spark or two.

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To test out a few other ways that the static electricity on the balloon could work, we held it near running water (spoiler alert: the water bends away) and used it to separate salt and pepper! If you sprinkle salt and pepper on a plate, then hold the static-y balloon over them, only the pepper will rise up because the salt is too heavy!

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What other static electricity experiments have you tried? Please share in the comments!

Halloween Luminaries Kiwi Crate

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Years ago, Travis unboxed a crate from Kiwi Co. to make Halloween luminaries. The company has since updated the project, and this time big brother and little sister both got to help out! I recommend this crate for ages 3 and up. Apologies for the dark photos in the project, but we made it after dark, naturally, for extra spooky points.

To start, pour the provided glue into a little dish and use the sponge brush to dab glue all around one of the four provided plastic jars. This was a fantastic way for little hands to use glue without getting (too!) messy.

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Next the kids had to decide which creature they would create on each of the four clear jars. Purple tissue paper squares went on one for a bat, black for a spider, white for a ghost, and green for a monster. (We didn’t opt for the final option: orange for a pumpkin).

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The kit then includes sticker accessories depending which creature your kids have chosen, or they can mix-and-match for a crazy creature of their own creation! Travis loved winding pipe cleaner around rim of the bat jar, then adding bat wing stickers.

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Meanwhile, Veronika proudly gave our ghost a cute sticker face. The spider was the most complicated, for which we threaded the provided eight legs onto a black pipe cleaner and wrapped around the jar.

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Whichever creature you choose, insert one of the provided tea lights into the jar and set these spooky critters aglow on a doorstep or window. These are sure to delight without too much fright!

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Bat Puppets

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This craft, care of Veronika’s latest High Five magazine, hits just the note between cute and spooky for preschoolers celebrating Halloween.

To start, paint empty toilet paper tubes (or paper towel tubes cut in half) any color your child desires. You can stick with a classic Halloween orange-and-black theme, but Veronika chose a sparkly mix of purple and yellow glitter paint!

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High Five recommended using black craft foam for the wings, but colored construction paper was a fine substitute. Cut a semi-circle for each wing, then make three tiny semi-circle snips along the bottom to make a ragged bat wing edge.

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Finally, cut small triangles for fangs and glue on to the tubes, along with the wings and wiggle eyes.

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I loved that our resulting bats had quirky preschooler style, whether eyes that were slightly askew or an extra eye on a bat wing. This meant Veronika truly had ownership of the craft… and made our bats a little extra spooky, too!

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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!

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.

Exploring Pumpkin Guts

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Pumpkin carving is an obvious Halloween activity, but don’t neglect what a fantastic sensory experience the whole process is, even before you get to that spooky carved face. And that goes not just for toddlers, but for big kids, too!

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First, I set out our biggest pumpkins, along with newspaper underneath, a tray to catch all those insides, and a few zip-top bags. The kids had eagerly awaited this moment, as we’ve decorated smaller pumpkins here and there in anticipation. I invited them to explore the giant pumpkin first: the texture, the color, the smell, etc.

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Then we cut off the top (grown-up step!). Now, the lid is like a puzzle piece that kids could take off and fit on over and over again.

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Time to scoop! Pumpkins are fascinating inside, starting with those stringy guts and slippery seeds, and then scraping down to the firmer flesh. I spooned some of the insides onto a tray for Veronika to explore with bare hands.

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She also wanted to smell it!

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I also sealed some in a zip-top bag in case the goop made her squeamish, but she actually preferred the stuff on the tray!

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She also loved stirring through the mixture with our pumpkin scoop, which we could also tap against the pumpkin to play it like a drum!

Exploring Pumpkin Guts (9)At last it was time to carve. We shifted a bit from sensory mode to learning mode, because as I popped out the first eye, Veronika said, “A triangle! I want a square.”

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So now I was on the spot to carve a square nose!

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The final sense to explore in a pumpkin is taste of course. We rinsed the seeds (which easily separate from the stringy stuff). Pat dry, then toss with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Note: We had one cup seeds, so use more or less oil and salt depending how many seeds your pumpkin yields).

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Roast at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, then enjoy!

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A Sweet and Safe Halloween

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Halloween is here! After the anticipation of a month-long countdown, I had to make sure our safely socially distanced trick-or-treating didn’t disappoint. To wit, there were three ways the kids got candy tonight.

First up, instead of knocking on neighbors’ doors, consider every door in your house as a new spot for candy. Bathrooms and closet doorways count! The kids knocked on each one and a bag of candy was waiting inside.

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Bonus points if you can rig up a way to make each door eerily open on its own. I’m going to ponder that for next year…

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Second, hide treats in the backyard. So that kids can spot them in the dark, add a glow stick to each one. The glow sticks were arguably more exciting than the candy!

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Finally, our neighborhood held a costume parade, which was a great way to let kids see each other’s get-ups but stay six feet apart.

Halloween (8)My little trick-or-treaters came home with quite the haul. So it’s safe to say, Halloween did not disappoint.

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Halloween Countdown Day 30: Reverse Trick or Treat

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We’ve reached the penultimate day in our month-long countdown to Halloween! That meant it was time to teach the kids about giving back this year, not just taking all the treats for themselves.

This is a project we actually started two weeks ago. Since Travis loves animals, we decided to host a cat food donation drive (get it, for black cats in honor of Halloween?), but truly you can pick any charity or cause and start collecting donations toward it.

We printed up a flyer and distributed it in Travis’s grade at school.

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Within one day, the donations started pouring in. His teacher even made a donation bin decorated to look like a black cat!

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We were overwhelmed by his schoolmates’ generosity. In ten days, Travis collected 172 cans of cat food (plus one huge jar of treats!).

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Now all we needed to do was deliver. We bagged the cat food (while listening to our favorite spooky tunes of course), turning it into a whole family affair.

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The next afternoon, we drove over to make the delivery. The sign on each bag read Happy Halloween to the cats!

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This activity was so purr-fectly rewarding that we might just make it an annual event.

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Which organization would you reverse trick-or-treat? Please share in the comments!

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Halloween Countdown Day 29: Do the Monster Mash

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If you need to pump up the volume in the final stretch before Halloween, then simply queue up the Halloween tunes! It doesn’t matter what spooky song your crew listens to, as long as everyone does the boogie(man) boogie!

Veronika was soon obsessed with the Ghostbuster’s theme song and paraded around singing “ghost busters!” at the top of her lungs. Monster Mash was also a fast toddler favorite.

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Travis wanted super spooky, which meant we had to dig deeper into the Halloween vault. Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the overture from Phantom of the Opera upped the ante!

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We soon decided we needed ghost dancing partners, so put together classic ghosts: wrap a cotton ball in a tissue and secure with yarn. Add marker eyes and an 0 mouth to each, and then break out the spookiest dance moves you know!

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Halloween Countdown Day 28: Watch a (Sorta) Spooky Movie

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No matter what your kids’ favorite cartoon or show is, chances are there’s a Halloween special to go along with it. These seasonal episodes are fantastic for kids because they tend to be a little bit spooky, but tame enough for even toddlers to handle. That means the whole family can enjoy the fun!

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Here’s a roundup of what Travis and Veronika have watched this month:

Wild Kratt’s: Creepy Creatures

If you Give a Mouse a Pumpkin

Daniel Tiger: Dress Up Day

Ready Jet Go: Jet’s First Halloween

Word Girl: Tricks and Treats

Peg + Cat: The Halloween Problem

The grand finale was the most classic of all, cuddled up on the couch for It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

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Other ideas, though we didn’t watch them, include a spooky Paw Patrol (try Pups and the Ghost Pirate) or Pinkalicious: Pink or Treat.

Meamwhile, if you need the perfect snack during all those scary episodes, it turns out that October is (no surprise) National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!

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In celebration, we tested out 5 new popcorn toppings over the course of our viewings:

Melted Chocolate

Ranch Dressing

Vegan Parmesan sprinkles

Taco Seasoning

Cinnamon-Sugar

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The verdict: Taco seasoning was too spicy for everyone; Veronika liked melted chocolate best; and Travis preferred plain old melted (vegan!) butter.

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