The spookiest season of the year is a great time to incorporate some fun Halloween STEM projects. Whether in school or at home, kids are already a little wired as they anticipate the upcoming sugar high, and STEM projects are a way to get kids up and moving, letting them channel their energy into something educational and fun.
These activities let your kid get excited about Halloween while learning and applying some essential STEM concepts. If your school or family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, most of these activities can be adapted as fall-themed instead.
Read on for some of our favorite Halloween STEM projects for use at home or in the classroom.
Related post: Exciting STEM Projects Using Recycled Materials
Halloween STEM Projects
1. Foil Boats with Candy Corn Passengers
- Aluminum foil
- Candy corn
- Large plastic container with water
For this activity, you will challenge your kid to build an aluminum foil boat that can hold the most candy corn. If you have more than one kid, you can make this even more exciting by making it into a competition.
Give your kid several minutes to construct a boat. Do not give too many instructions about how to do it – let your kid be creative. Once he or she is finished, put the boat in the water and start “boarding” the candy corn passengers. Count how many candies the boat holds before it sinks.
Ask your child to consider the boat design. What could he or she change to make the boat hold more candy corn? If more than one kid participates, ask them to compare boat designs to see why one model may be superior.
Give your child more foil and let him or her try again. Your child should begin to see that wider, flatter boats can hold more candy corn without sinking.
2. Skeleton Hands
- White cardstock paper
- Larger straws (like smoothie straws)
- Yarn or string
Learning about the human skeleton is a lesson in biology, engineering, and technology. Many robotics engineers use the human body as a model when designing robots to complete specific movements.
This activity gets your kid to make a functioning skeleton hand so that he or she can see the human skeleton’s inner workings. As an added bonus, this spooky hand can be used to scare friends!
To create the hand, your child will start out by tracing his or her hand on the cardstock and cutting it out. Ask your child to move his or her hand and look for where it bends. He or she should notice three joints on each finger and two on the thumb. Mark the joints on the hand.
Fold each finger at the joints. Cut the regular straws to represent the bones in each finger and thumb. Tape the straw pieces in their appropriate spots on the hand. Cut five lengths of yarn and thread each piece through a finger.
Run the strings through the larger straw and tape to the wrist. You may need to cut the straw to fit. The skeleton hand is now ready to use. Pull on the strings to move the fingers. For added fun, put on a spooky song and let your skeleton hand do a spooky dance.
You can learn more about this activity at Green Kid Crafts.
3. Candy Math
- Candy corn, candy pumpkins
- Candy bars
- Other favorite Halloween candies
Math is always more fun when you add for your kid’s favorite Halloween candy into the mix. There are so many ways you can incorporate candy into math lessons, depending on your kid’s age.
You could use candy corn or pumpkins to make arrays to teach multiplication. Use a candy bar to teach fractions. It’s a great way to emphasize the point of equal parts – try to give your kid less than his or her fair share and see what happens!
Younger kids can use candy as manipulatives to add and subtract. You can even create some fun Halloween-themed word problems for them to solve.
4. Apple Mummies
- Plastic containers
- Baking soda
- Measuring cups
Mummies are a popular figure around Halloween time, and what better way than to make your own mummy using an apple. This can also serve as a discussion of the chemical processes involved in mummification and connect with a study on ancient Egypt.
Cut the apple into four equal pieces, and then mix the salt and baking soda in a bowl. Put the slices into the container and cover it with the mixture. Put the container in a dark, dry place. Check after about five to seven days and see the mummified apples. You can leave a couple of apples with no treatment, in sunlight, or in other conditions to compare what happens. You can learn more about this project at Raising Arizona Kids.
5. Rotting Pumpkins
- Carving materials
This is an easy one, but kids love it. Once you’ve carved your Halloween pumpkin, don’t throw it away once Halloween is over. Instead, find a spot somewhere outside to leave it and let it rot – preferably somewhere you won’t notice the smell. Observe it every day for a few weeks and talk about the chemical processes making it rot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s a STEM project?
STEM projects incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. These projects encourage creative, scientific thinking, and tend to require problem-solving. STEM projects can prepare kids for a variety of future careers and help prepare them to live in an ever-changing future.
How do you make a project related to STEM?
You can connect almost any educational project to STEM concepts. Most projects can incorporate technology in some way. It’s also easy to find science concepts related to other things you are doing – for example, you could study the chemistry that goes into candy making or the engineering involved in creating a haunted house.
Who can do Halloween STEM projects?
Halloween STEM projects are for kids of all ages. It is never too early to introduce your child to STEM. All of these projects can be adapted for younger or older kids.