5 Halloween STEAM Activities for Toddlers

children in halloween costumes doing a halloween steam activity: dry ice bubble science experiment

What is STEAM?

S.T.E.A.M. is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. STEAM activities or “challenges” encompass these five fields of learning and present them to little learners in a fun and engaging way to encourage developing minds to learn through play! 

You may also hear it referred to as STEM, but at the Children’s Museum, we take art pretty seriously and believe supporting creative minds can benefit every aspect of a child’s early education.

STEAM projects are designed to help children of all ages and learning levels to develop both cognitive and physical skills. STEAM learning can provide many positive experiences including:

  • Excitement to try new things
  • Learning how to use new tools
  • Using creative thinking to problem solve
  • Working together as a team
  • Developing a love for learning
  • And so much more!

At the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, we incorporate STEAM activities into all of our interactive exhibits, programs, and events, including our annual FUNtazmagoria celebration that we host every October! Even if you can’t join us for our event, you can still have fun at home with these Halloween-themed activities!

Read on to learn how you can use common household items, to create your own fun Halloween STEAM activities for your kids!

Try These 5 Halloween STEAM Activities at Home with Your Toddler!

child in halloween costume doing a halloween steam activity: dry ice bubble science experiment

With this spooky Halloween STEAM science experiment, your mad scientists will be able to watch a chemical reaction up close. Dry ice is actually carbon dioxide gas that has been compressed and frozen at -110ºF! The “smoke” that dry ice creates is actually a reaction to the carbon dioxide gas rapidly warming up and returning to a gas form and mixing with water vapor. 

This Dry Ice science experiment allows you to actually hold the ice “smoke” with your bare hands, but remember to only handle solid dry ice while wearing thick protective gloves.

Supplies:

  • Dry Ice
  • Graduated Cylinder (or a tall flower vase)
  • Thick Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Dish Soap

Directions:

  • Fill your graduated cylinder (or tall flower vase) halfway with warm water.
  • Make sure that your dry ice pieces are small enough to fit inside your cylinder. If they are too big, use a hammer to break them up. Always wear safety glasses and protective gloves while handling dry ice.
  • Drop 3 to 5 pieces of dry ice into your cylinder and watch as the warm water begins to bubble and smoke! Eventually, this smoke will overflow the top of your graduated cylinder. 
  • Add a small squirt of dish soap to your smokey cylinder and watch a column of bubbles begin to form.
  • Once your bubbles reach the top of your cylinder, they are safe to touch with your bare hands! Scoop your bubbles out and pop them to release your dry ice smoke!

With this hands-on activity, children of all ages can have fun seeing up close how electricity works. This tech project also demonstrates that technology doesn’t have to be very complicated to be electrifying! 

Once you have mastered creating your Halloween pumpkin paper circuit, you can use this same technology to make any number of other electrifying creations!

Supplies:

  • Two (2) Coin batteries
  • Two (2) LED bulbs
  • Two (2) Binder clips
  • Two (2) Foam pieces
  • Card Stock (Printer paper will work too)
  • Coloring Markers in Orange, Black, and Green (Colored pencils or crayons work too)
  • Tape
  • Hole Punch (optional)

Directions:

How to Make Your Paper Pumpkin

  • Using your paper and markers, draw and color in a pumpkin. (Feel free to draw anything you want!)
  • Using a hole punch or the tip of a pencil, poke two small holes through the paper to create eyes for your pumpkin. Your LED bulbs will be placed in these holes, so don’t make them too big!

How to Make Your LED Light Circuit:

  • Place the coin battery between the prongs of the LED bulb. 

Did it light up? If it didn’t, try flipping the LED so the prongs touch the opposite sides of the battery this time.

  • Fold the small foam rectangle around the battery and bulb prongs. This serves as an insulator so the metal on the binder clip (see step 3) does not cause a short circuit.
  • Hold the battery, LED prongs, and foam together with a binder clip.

How to Make Your Pumpkin Paper Circuit:

  • Once your LED light bulbs are lit up, place each one through the holes you created in your pumpkin drawing.
  • Tape your LED light circuit to the back of your pumpkin drawing so your glowing eyes stay in place.
  • Now your pumpkin drawing has glowing light-up eyes!
frog fling catapult challenge

Engineering a popsicle stick catapult is a classic STEAM activity that kids always love. Not only is this learning project fun, it includes engineering, math, and even physics all in one hands-on activity for kids of all ages. 

To add some Halloween flair to this project, we will be catapulting frogs into a witches cauldron! (Cauldron not required, any target, box, or bucket will work fine too!)

Supplies:

  • Craft Sticks (Min. 10)
  • Rubber Bands
  • Plastic Bottle Cap
  • Glue
  • Toy Frog Figurines (or small green puffballs)
  • Paints and Brushes (optional)

Directions:

How to Build Your Popsicle Stick Catapult:

  • Before building your catapult, paint your craft sticks your favorite color and let them dry. Once your sticks are dry, you can start engineering your catapult! 
  • Stack eight (8) sticks together, one on top of the other, and securely wrap a rubber band around both ends to hold them together.
  • Take one other stick and wedge it perpendicularly between the two last popsicle sticks in your stack so it is sandwiched in.
  • Place another stick perpendicularly on the very top of your stack and line it up with your sandwiched bottom stick. 
  • Attach your two perpendicular sticks by the ends with another rubber band to create a V shape. (make sure it is secure!)
  • On the opposite end of your V shape, use your glue to attach a bottle cap to the top stick. Make sure to save a little bit of room at the very top of your stick where you can push down to launch your frog.

How to Fling Your Frogs into the Witches Cauldron:

  • Once your bottle cap is dry, your catapult is complete! Place your frog figurine or puffball in the cap and aim your catapult at the cauldron (or any other target). 

Press your stick down and release it once you are ready to fling your frog into the witch cauldron!

a halloween steam activity: pipe cleaner spider

This art project is the perfect way to decorate for Halloween with some creepy crawly handmade art! Children of all ages can make these spiders, and you can use any color pipe cleaners and beads, but to add some festive flair we will be using black, orange, and red! After you’re done, let your little one help pick where to display their Halloween art around your house, or let them play with them!

Supplies:

  • Black Pipe Cleaners (Min. 4)
  • Plastic Beads

Directions:

  • Take four piper cleans and bend them all in half.
  • Holding all of them together, twist the top of the bends together to create the spider’s body, and eight spider legs. Twist the pipe cleaners a couple of times to make sure they are secure.
  • Spread out the newly created spider legs, and count them as you go to make sure they have all eight!
  • Take your beads and slide one or two onto each leg. To keep them in place, bend the pipe cleaner leg at an angle to create a joint. 
  • Once all eight legs have beads, turn your spider over to reveal your creepy crawly Halloween creation!
monster math challenge

This monster math challenge is super easy to set up and can be done over and over again even after Halloween has come and gone. Better yet, this STEAM activity can be made more challenging as your child advances in their math skills.

Supplies:

  • Various Colored Construction Paper
  • Googly Eyes
  • Scissors
  • Pencil with an Eraser

Directions:

How to Create Your Monsters:

  • Start by folding a piece of construction paper in half and drawing any weird shape that connects along the folded edge on one side. You can draw a half-circle, a jagged shape, or even outline an actual monster shape!
  • Once you have designed your monster, cut out the shape of a monster! Make sure the folded edge remains connected.
  • Unfold your paper to reveal your unique monster!

How to Do the Monster Math Challenge:

  • Now that you have your paper monsters, you will use your pencil to write a number on one side of each of them. If your little one is learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, you can write math equations on your monsters instead!
  • Because you’re using a pencil, you can do this monster math challenge as many times as you want by simply erasing your previous math problem and writing new ones! (Consider laminating your monster with packaging tape, using dry erase markers!) 
  • Once all your monsters have numbers or equations on them, use your googly eyes to answer the math equation! If your monster has the number four (4) written on it, you will place four googly eyes on it! If your monster has the equation “1 + 2” on it, you will place three googly eyes on it!

Join Us at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County Every October for our FUNtazmagoria Event!

Come see the magical transformation of the Children’s Museum during our annual FUNtazmagoria event! Explore our illuminating Glow-in-the-Dark Art Studio, and make ominous discoveries in our Mad Scientist Lab! We will also be getting up and active with a classic Monster Mash boogie with live DJ music!

Get front row seats to our Pumpkin Plop event and watch pumpkins get dropped from 50ft up and EXPLODE in our landing zone! We will also have a number of other Halloween STEAM activities including a pumpkin guts exploration, magic potions, maggot painting, and much more!

This fundraising event is open to the public for general admission pricing and free for members. EBT Cardholders receive reduced admission. Reservations are not required.

Happenings

Dec 6

Mud Lab

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Dec 8

Garden Party

9:30am – 10:30am
Dec 8

Big Thinkers

2:30pm – 3:30pm

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