Ready for a quick and fun activity to do with the kids? Need some calming, sensory activities to help kids focus while also learning science? With Halloween coming up we are capturing that passion for Halloween and doing a sensory science activity that will have kids relishing in hands on learning. Best of all, this activity is simple, uses budget friendly ingredients, and super easy to set up and clean up!
Halloween Moon Dough – Fizzing Ghosts
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I love a good project that is super simple, doesn’t use any special ingredients, and provides the kids with lots of exploration and discovery opportunities.
This Fizzing Ghosts activity ticks all the boxes!
It starts out as a simple, yet luxurious feeling moon dough recipe. Kids will love the sensory experience of playing, creating and exploring with this ghost moon dough.
Then have the kids build their ghostly shapes. Add some eyes or any other decorations you wish to make them especially spooky.
Then finish up with an amazing chemical reaction that provides a brand new sensory play experience with fizzing ghostly bubbles!
This is a perfect Halloween Sensory Science project for younger students or students of any age who enjoy a silky, fun sensory project for Halloween. It also makes a great Halloween Party activity!
Fizzing Ghosts Supplies
2/3 cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Baking Soda
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (melted)
Syringe, pipette or a spoon
Candy eyes or other decorations
Measuring cups and spoons
Check out our video:
How To Make Halloween Moon Dough
For our Fizzing Ghosts project we first need to make some Ghostly Moon Dough.
This isn’t just any moon dough though. We have made lots of amazing moon dough over the years including our vibrantly coloured galaxy moon dough, glow moon dough and colour changing moon dough. But this time we need a special recipe unique to our Fizzing Ghosts Moon Dough.
Trust me, this is quick and easy! The kids can even make it themselves.
Set out a dish, Big enough so the kids can play in it, with enough of a lip to hold the bubbly chemistry experiment at the end. I used a pie dish.
Add the flour and the baking soda to the dish. Mix (you can use your hands!).
Add the coconut oil. If you are using solid coconut oil (this is the only type I have on hand), melt it in the microwave first.
Mix it all together with your hands. Work it all together until it becomes this soft, crumbly texture, but can be squished and molded into different shapes. Then knocked back into a crumbly, soft, silky texture.
Pro Tip! If your moon dough is too wet, add a bit more flour and mix it in well. Too dry? Keep working it to really spread all the coconut oil through the whole mix. If it continues to feel too dry and isn’t moldable, add a bit more oil.
Let the Kids Play!
Now is the perfect time to let the kids enjoy the ghostly moon dough. Encourage them to explore and feel the silky texture. Have them mold and shape it, then knock it down and run it through their fingers. This stuff feels so cool and is a very soothing sensory experience.
Once the kids are done exploring and playing with the moon dough it is time to trigger the big chemical reaction!
Fizzing Ghosts Halloween Science Experiment
This next step the kids said was like a bubbling cauldron! So cool!
Have the kids make ghosts by shaping their moon dough into ghostly shapes. Add decorative elements like candy eyes (they run during the reaction to add a spooky effect) or anything else kids want to add.
Set out a small bowl of vinegar. Then using a syringe, pipette or spoon, add the vinegar to the top of your ghost and watch the reaction unfold!
Fizzy Halloween Chemistry Lesson
Fizzing Ghosts uses a simple acid-base chemical reaction. In this case, baking soda and vinegar. Vinegar or Acetic Acid has the chemical formula CH3COOH . Baking soda is a base also known as Sodium Bicarbonate and has the chemical formula NaHCO3 . During this reaction the products are sodium acetate ( C2H3NaO2 ). Sodium acetate is made of 1 sodium ion, 2 carbon atoms, 3 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. The other products are water ( H2O) and carbon dioxide ( CO2 ) gas. Carbon dioxide is the gas that causes the bubbling during the reaction.
Here is the chemical formula of this reaction:
C2H4O2 + NaHCO3 -> NaC2H3O2 + H2O + CO2
vinegar + sodium bicarbonate -> sodium acetate + water + carbon dioxide
You can recognize the results of this formula in your dish.
H2O is the liquid.
CO2 is the gas and all those awesome bubbles!
NaC2H3O2 is the foamy white stuff that is left over.
Is the reaction endothermic or exothermic?
This is a non-toxic chemical reaction. So even after you add the vinegar, kids can continue to play in the dish. Just be care, as any remaining vinegar can hurt if the child has any little cuts on their hands.
If they do play in the bubbly results of the chemical reaction, what do they notice? Specifically, what do they notice about the temperature change after the chemical reaction?
It takes energy to break the chemical bonds in baking soda and vinegar. When this happens energy is released as the carbon dioxide, sodium acetate, and water are formed. Since more energy was needed to break the baking soda and vinegar apart, the temperature goes down. This is called an endothermic reaction. That means Baking Soda and Vinegar reactions are endothermic. The result is that students will notice the mix gets colder.
Looking for more brilliant and unique Baking Soda and Vinegar experiments? Check out our list of inspiring ideas for your lessons.