Creative Child

Fall S.T.E.A.M. Activities

by Rebecca Eanes

The fall season brings to mind images of pumpkins, apples, and leaves, so how much fun would it be to incorporate these into a few S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) activities for your little ones? Here are 6 challenges and experiments to try with your family this fall.

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Pumpkin Volcanoes

My kids never tire of baking soda and vinegar experiments, and a pumpkin volcano is the perfect fun fall activity. When the vinegar (acid) and baking soda (base) combine, they make carbon dioxide which fizzes as it is released. To do this experiment, carve out the pumpkin as you would if you were making Jack-O-Lanterns. Place a few tablespoons of baking soda in each pumpkin and add a few drops of food coloring. Have your child use a small measuring cup or baster to add the vinegar and watch it erupt! 

Apple Boats

Ask your child if she thinks an apple will sink or float and why. Then place an apple in a large bowl of water and see what happens. Your child may be surprised to find that the apple floats! The challenge is to make apple boats that float upright in the water. The sails can be made simply with toothpicks and card stock. Cut the apple into different lengths and shapes and see which boats float the best.

Candy Pumpkin Stacking

Around Halloween, you can find Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins (allergen warning!) which are perfect for this activity. If you can’t find this candy, just look for something at your local dollar store that is fall-themed and stackable! Give your little engineer some playdough to stick the pumpkins together and see how tall they can stack them – pumpkin, playdough, pumpkin, playdough – before they fall over. Try different ways of stacking to see which works to use the most pumpkins. Try a straight line, a pyramid, or make a 3D structure!

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