Make a cute Halloween science activity that the kids will be asking for all of October. “Pumpkin Fizz” is a quick experiment to set-up, using household supplies and Halloween decorations. It doesn’t take long to create a memorable science moment this Halloween.
Why Halloween activities have value
I love holiday-themed activities for kids, especially young toddlers… and here’s why.
Halloween activities are cheap and easy to set up at home. This is a way to make a holiday memory without having to load the kids up in the car, spend a mortgage of money, and miss nap time. Activities are how I create Halloween memories on a budget.
Halloween activities are also a great way to introduce a toddler to a holiday in a fun, safe, and engaging way. Activities aren’t overwhelming, they’re at home, and they let you explain holidays on your own terms.
Bottom line: Halloween activities have value. They have a purpose. Are they a must? No. But they can be a budget-friendly and easy introduction into seasonal fun that’s new to young children.
RELATED: Another great way to bring Halloween fun into the home is with a season book collection. Check out some of our favorite Halloween books!
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- Mini plastic pumpkins: I save these every year and they’ve held up for 7 Halloweens.
- Baking soda
- Squeeze bottles or Peri bottles
- Black food coloring
- Orange food coloring
- Storage container: I often use this 41 quart bin from Target.
I use the same supplies for all my Halloween activities. So while this may “look” like a long list, these are part of a very small collection of Halloween activity supplies that I pull from.
You can see how I reuse these supplies in my Halloween supplies and activities post.
Set-up for this Halloween Science Activity
Setting up this activity took just a minute.
I loaded each mini pumpkin with about 1/4 cup of baking soda (about half full).
In the squeeze bottles, I used black and orange food coloring to dye the vinegar festive Halloween colors.
I put all this in my under the bed storage container to keep the mess in a nice, tidy area.
Tip: When possible, always try to use a storage container to define the activity space. Giving kids a large boundary to play in helps keep the messes to a manageable minimum.
Science is magic
The baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction is practically magic to young children. We know that it creates carbon dioxide, but kids see magically “stinky bubbles” oozing.
Even though my son (3) has played with this reaction before, he loves it more and more each time. The baking soda and vinegar science experiment never gets old.
For my 20 month old daughter, on the other hand, this was brand new to her and she loved it. She couldn’t quite get the aim down to fill pumpkin cups on her own, but I wasn’t surprised that she just sat nicely next to brother and watched the fun.
It’s magic watching these cups fizz and she wasn’t about to miss it!
Tip: How to restart the activity
Once your child has gone down the line and has made a fizzy trail behind them, the fun isn’t over!
Dump out the vinegar from each pumpkin and have them start the fizzy play all over again.
The baking soda reacts in layers so by pouring off the top layer of vinegar, you “open up” the next layer of baking soda just waiting to be played with. This isn’t a “one and done” activity.
The learning from “Pumpkin Fizz”
So much is going on in this Halloween science activity. Here’s what my kids are learning:
- Cause and effect
- Basic chemistry
- Hand eye coordination
- Grip strength
This activity might seem simple (and fun) but it packs a whole lot of learning!
But remember, children are always learning. We don’t need to quantify an activity or judge it based on our perceived view of learning.
Children are always learning. They learn through play.
Notes on this Halloween Science Activity
- Young children may have a hard time using condiment bottles. Try peri bottles instead. Yes, those peri bottles…
- No orange or black dye? Use any color and call it “spooky bubbles” or “witches brew.”
- Instead of dyeing the vinegar, add drops of food coloring into the baking soda and let kids discover which color is in each container (similar to my popular Hidden Colors activity).
Frequently Asked Questions
Food coloring is water soluble which means the color vanishes when diluted with water. If you child comes in direct contact with concentrated food coloring, rinse and soap their hands – the color will fade and be gone by day’s end. If clothing gets into food coloring, lay it in the sink or bath tub with cold water. The stain will rinse out.
In this activity, the vinegar is diluting the food coloring. Remember, I am just some lady on the Internet, so use best judgement.
Vinegar and baking soda are both common household baking supplies. Ingested in large/mass quantities, baking soda can be toxic.
Remember, think stages not ages. Look to the stage of development and interest level of your child. Is this something they’d enjoy? Do they like science? Have they tried this experiment? Can they squeeze a bottle?
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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