Spooky Halloween Science Kiwi Crate

Spooky Static (7)

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.

Spooky Static (1)

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.

Spooky Static (3)

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.

Spooky Static (5)

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!

Spooky Static (4)

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.

Spooky Static (6)

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.

Spooky Static (8)

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!

Spooky Static (10)

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

Puking Pumpkin Science

Kids won’t be able resist a Halloween-themed STEM project that’s all about, yes, throw up! Needless to say, this holiday crate from Kiwi Co was a big hit.

You’ll need to start with a carved jack o’ lantern, which is not provided in the crate itself but certainly not a problem in the fall! We picked a medium pumpkin at a local farmstand and the kids loved first gutting their victim (er, scooping out the pumpkin seeds). Little did poor Jack know he was about to get sick!

Travis helped prepare the pumpkin according to the crate’s instructions: three scoops of provided baking soda, 1 scoop of foaming gel, and the color of choice (he picked blue).

In the provided beaker, the kids shook together 1 scoop of citric acid and another spoonful of color.

Add water and then slowly pour the contents of the beaker over the baking soda mixture in the pumpkin and… poor Jack!

He clearly was not feeling well.

Needless to say, the kids were entranced. They loved scooping up the bubbly foam and pouring it back into our poor patient.

And then of course they needed a repeat. This time Travis decided to mix yellow and blue for green puke. Poor Jack was up to his eyeballs!

Grown-ups might have to get over the “ick” factor on this one, but kids are guaranteed to love it.

Halloween Luminaries Kiwi Crate

Halloween Luminaries (7)

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.

Halloween Luminaries (2)

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).

Halloween Luminaries (3)

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.

Halloween Luminaries (4)

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.

Halloween Luminaries (9)

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!

Halloween Luminaries (5)

Bat Puppets

Bat Puppets (4)

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!

Bat Puppets (8)

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.

Bat Puppets (6)

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

Bat Puppets (5)

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!

Bat Puppets (3)

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.

Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin Risotto

If you’re looking for new pumpkin recipes to add to your seasonal repertoire, this savory recipe is a nice alternative to sweet pumpkin desserts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a 3-quart casserole dish over medium heat. Add the sage and garlic; cook for 1 minute.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
  3. Stir before serving!

Pumpkin Risotto alt

Halloween Countdown Day 29: Do the Monster Mash

Halloween 29 Monster Mash (2)

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.

Halloween 29 Monster Mash (1)

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!

Halloween 29 Monster Mash (4)

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!

Halloween 29 Monster Mash (5)

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

Halloween 28 Spooky Movie (3)

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!

Halloween 28 Spooky Movie (2)

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.

Halloween 28 Spooky Movie (4)

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!

Popcorn Poppin Month (2)

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

National Popcorn Month (3)

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

Popcorn Poppin Month (1)

Fall Hair Gel Sun Catchers

Orange Leaf Bag (9)

I wanted to make a couple of orange sensory bags for Veronika this morning, with Halloween and autumn in full swing, only to realize I didn’t have any orange food coloring! I didn’t have yellow, either, which meant I couldn’t even mix red and yellow to make orange.

On a whim I decided to see if I could dye things the old-fashioned way (spices!) and there was orange turmeric in the spice rack. The result wasn’t perfect, but adding the spice turned out to be half the fun.

Orange Leaf Bag (1)

I squirted a generous amount of clear hair gel into each of two small zip-top bags to start. In the first, I added about a teaspoon of turmeric and mushed around until it was orange. Veronika loved the smell of the turmeric, and wanted to help measure out the spoonful!

Orange Leaf Bag (2)

Then I added orange leaves we’d brought home from the playground yesterday. The turmeric did make the bag slightly cloudy and hard to see the leaves, but it worked fine if in direct sunlight.

Orange Leaf Bag (3)

For the second version, I drew jack o’ lantern features directly on the plastic bag with a black sharpie. Again I added 1 teaspoon turmeric, along with 1 drop of red food coloring. This made a great orange!

Orange Leaf Bag (6)

Because the black features were on the outside, the graininess of the spice didn’t matter this time. Veronika loved playing with this squishy bag where I taped it against the window.

Orange Leaf Bag (8)

These turned out to be so fun, and spot-on for the season, too.

Orange Leaf Bag (7)