Science in Motion: Halloween Straw Rockets 


If you ever find us in a restaurant, my kids are the ones blowing the paper off straws at each other. (You can thank my husband for teaching them that!) Needless to say, my kids LOVED doing straw rockets for the fourth of July so I thought it would be fun to put a flying Halloween character on them and learn science with Halloween Straw Rockets.  This activity is super easy to set up and tailor the lesson to the specific age.

What you need:

  • The print out of Halloween characters that fly here
  • straws
  • tape

Here’s how you do it:

What’s the science? This is an example of Newton’s third law of motion which states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We talked about how we had to blow harder for the “rocket” to go farther, which shape would win the distance contest, and brainstormed what other Halloween character that fly. Most of all we just laughed at how fun this was!  Enjoy!










Post Update: How could I forget a flying purple people eater?  We did a quick sketch of what a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater would look like on construction paper and let me tell you – this was the best one to play with while singing the song.



Categories: lovely conversations Tags: ,
Hands On Science: Building Molecules with Blueprints

Today, I am welcoming guest poster, Leslie with Ribbons and Robots to show you how to introduce your kids to molecules with this easy hands on activity!


Explaining the concept of atoms and molecules to kids can be tricky. How do you teach about something so small you can’t see it?  Well, you need to make it bigger and as hands-on as possible. To teach my 2- and 4-year-old about molecules, we made it much, much bigger by using blueprints to build molecules with paper plates and craft sticks.

To do this molecule blueprint activity, you’ll need:

  • Paper plates (enough for all of the atoms in your molecule)
  • Craft sticks (enough for all of the bonds in your molecule)
  • Paper
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Scissors

There are also a few terms that’ll help you explain molecules to your kiddo as you do this activity:

Atom: The atom is the basic unit of all matter (or everything around you).

Bond: Atoms are joined together through chemical bonds to form molecules. One kind of bond, the covalent bond, can form single, double, triple, and even quadruple bonds. (You can tell by how many lines are between the atoms in the diagram). The carbon dioxide and oxygen molecules used in this activity have double bonds.

Molecule: A molecule is a group of 2 or more atoms bonded, or stuck, together. It’s the smallest piece of substance that still has all of the properties of that substance. Molecules are so small that you can only see them through a special microscope. Pretty much everything on Earth, the planets, and even space dust is made up of molecules.

Molecular formula: The molecular formula gives the number of atoms of each element in a molecule.

The molecular formulas we used in this activity were:

Oxygen: O2  (2 oxygen atoms)

Water: H2O  (2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom)

Carbon Dioxide: CO2  (1 carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms)

Hydrogen Peroxide: H2O2  (2 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms)

Glucose: C6H12O6 … How many carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms do you think are in a glucose molecule?

Whether or not the kids really got all of the details wasn’t what was important. They have plenty of time to learn about molecules. The idea with this activity was to introduce them to new words and concepts and show them how interesting the world around them is.

To reinforce these molecule facts, we made up the Molecule Song to go with our activity:


Now that we knew our facts, we were ready for the blueprint activity! I drew up some blueprints of molecules containing oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon atoms. (It took me just a few minutes to look these up.)

I color coded the atoms and made matching atom cards.


We practiced matching up the letters to the blueprint before building molecules of our own.



To build our molecules, we grabbed the paper plates and craft sticks and cleared out a space on the floor for building.  Each plate represented an atom, and each craft stick represented a bond. As we built, I explained how to use the blueprint to know how many plates, sticks, and letters we needed.

We laid out the plates and sticks to match the molecule, and my daughter placed the letters for the atoms in the corresponding plate. We checked our work by counting our molecules and comparing it to the molecular formula.


The oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules offered a fun twist because they had double bonds.


We made all of the smaller molecules first before trying out the big one: glucose (C6H12O6).


The kids had so much fun practicing their building skills and learning to use a blueprint.  In fact, my daughter loved molecules so much that she’s begun making up some of her own. Now that’s what it’s all about!


About Leslie Ralph: Leslie creates fun picture books and STEAM activities for little girls (and boys) with a lot of smarts at Ribbons & Robots. To get you started, she’s whipped up a free How to Build a Robot From A to Z digital picture book and printable Robot Building Kit for you to enjoy on the house at

Do you have an science experiment or activity to share? Do you enjoy doing science with your kids? Do you have an interesting experiment that you’d like to share? Does your daughter want to be an inventor, scientist, or engineer? Email me at if you’d like to guest post too!

Categories: guest post Tags:
Easy Halloween Oobleck Dough 


I love October and getting ready for Halloween. The weather is getting cooler and stores are smelling like pumpkin spice. This year is extra special since my littlest will be turning 1.  (The days are long but the years are short friends….) So why not make some science fall memories with your kids?

I found this amazingly easy play dough recipe with cornstarch and dish soap on Pinterest. Of course we all know cornstarch and water make oobleck which tends to get pretty messy. But replace water with clear $1 dollar dish soap and you’ve made an easy no-mess playdough.  And here’s my favorite part, add a bit of pumpkin pie spice and you’ve made the perfect fall playdough!

Here’s what you need: Cornstarch, clear non-fragrant  dish soap ($1 Target), food coloring, and pumpkin pie spice

Here’s how you make it: Combine cornstarch, dish soap, and food coloring to a dough consistency. Add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to your liking.

The more you play with the dough the less runny it becomes. Try more or less dishsoap and watch how the fluid changes. Oobleck is a Non-Newtonian fluid meaning it is a liquid and a solid.  You can pour it and you can ball it up.  It’s sticky and it’s smooth.

This is an AMAZING sensory activity because the dough has such a unique smell and feel to it. Your kids will love trying this super easy fall version of oobleck play dough!

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments Tags: ,
Color Mixing: Walking Water Rainbow


Do you know what gets me through my 3 year old not napping? Science. I’ve been wanting to try this walking water rainbow for a long time and the opportunity presented itself this afternoon when I was scrambling to find something productive that a sleepy nap resistant preschooler could do.

Luckily we’ve done an activity like this before here during a Preschool Science Party so I knew how amazing and simple it would be.

What you’ll need:  6 clear plastic cups, 6 strips of paper towels, food coloring, water

How to do it:

  1. Fill 3 glasses full of water
  2. Add red, yellow, and blue food coloring so each glass has it’s own dedicated color
  3. Arrange 3 empty glasses in between the colored water glass
  4. Add a strip of paper towel to connect the red glass to an empty glass. Then from the empty glass to the yellow glass. Connect all glasses with a paper towel.

What happens:

The water “walks” up the paper towl by capillary action. This is the same way that plants get water from the ground and up through their roots and stems.

We also talked about color theory and how primary colors can mix to form all the other colors. (By the way, I have never seen my kids understand color mixing quicker than they did with this experiment.)

After we watched the colors mix together, I gave them plastic pipettes and let the go to town mixing and playing in the colored water. We found that we could make brown by mixing all the water together.  Allie put a cup in the middle and formed brown through capillary action.  (That’s my girl!)

So the next time you are frustrated during naptime consider this simple science activity. You’ll be thinking to yourself, “Maybe naptime is overrated.. we can do science instead!”

Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, he loves science too!, science art Tags: , ,