Halloween Projects for Little Engineers

Pumpkins

Need some ideas for fun and educational activities to do with your children this Halloween? Here are a few that are perfect for the child that expresses interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education.

Ghost Dance: Give your children a lesson in static electricity with this spooky ghost experiment. Have your kids cut little ghosts out of tissue paper. Then give them each a balloon to inflate. Have each child rub his or her inflated balloon on his or her head to create static electricity, and then hold the balloon over the ghost and watch it eerily rise!

Candy Math: Use your Halloween candy to solve multiplication and division problems and illustrate the results. When multiplying, they can quickly see how their candy stash grows and when dividing, they see how it diminishes.

Black Dry Ice Bubbles: Halloween is a great time to bust out the dry ice and teach your children about the properties of carbon dioxide. Fill a dish with bubble solution (or dish soap and water), add a few drops of black food coloring, and pop in a piece of dry ice. The water in the bubble solution will melt the dry ice, forming gaseous carbon dioxide that the soap will trap it into bubbles.

Design a Pumpkin Patch or Structure: As a group activity with friends, have the children use pumpkins and gourds to design and create a pumpkin patch or structure.

Instructions:

  1. Have each child bring in a small (pie-size) pumpkin and a decorative fall gourd.
  2. Place them in a group to work as a team to create a design for their structure.
  3. Have them discuss the project and determine the type of structure they wish to create:
    • Do they want to build a tower-like structure? If they are building something tall, discuss how to keep it stable.
    • Do they want to build a more complicated structure with the pumpkins and gourds (e.g., a castle)? Discuss how to use the two types of materials.
    • Would they prefer to create a maze with their pumpkins & gourds?
  4. Once the group has determined a focus, they should sketch the design.
  5. Have them begin to build their structure.
  6. The parent will facilitate as the children run into problems and work together to solve them.

 

This activity will give young ones a better understanding of structural engineering design, planning, construction, testing, teamwork, and problem-solving.

 

Happy Halloween from IES!

 

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