Ready for a really cool science experiment for Halloween? In this experiment we took our inspiration from our extremely popular Wingardium Leviosa Science Experiment where we levitated a feather. But for Halloween we are making ghosts fly! Science is awesome! Especially when you can make flying ghosts to impress your friends and students.
Halloween Science Experiment on Magnetism
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With Halloween coming up we are challenging ourselves to do a STEM related Halloween Activity every day. We do this every year with our 31 Days of Halloween STEM Challenge. So it only makes sense that every year we take on new STEM challenges.
This year we decided to take one of our most popular Harry Potter inspired Science Experiments and give it a Halloween Twist.
In case you haven’t seen it, we did an experiment inspired by the Charms Lesson Wingardium Leviosa where we taught the kids how to make a feather levitate.
It was a huge hit with our little wizards.
So for Halloween, we are taking the same scientific concepts and created a Flying Ghost Experiment.
It was so cool, I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!
Flying Ghosts Video Tutorial
Check out the video of this Halloween science experiment in action! If you can’t see the video, you can also find it on the STEAM Powered Family YouTube Channel.
Flying Ghosts Magnet Science Supplies
White Tissue Paper (or light fabric would work too)
Jumbo Craft Sticks (2)
Anchor – We made ours out of Lego plates and pieces. Technically you can use anything, even just taping the end of the fishing line to the table top will work. You just need to anchor the other end of the fishing line securely.
SAFETY NOTE ABOUT MAGNETS – Ensure your children are old enough to understand safety around magnets and that you are using magnets that are appropriate for the age of your children. Craft magnets are plenty strong enough for this experiment. Simply stack a few of them to get enough strength from the magnets to lift the paper clip. Never do this experiment or any experiments with magnets, with children who are too young to understand how to safely use magnets. Magnets never go near a child’s mouth and strong magnets can snap together and pinch fingers. Adult supervision is very important when using magnets. If necessary, do this experiment as a demonstration with younger children.
The first thing we need to do is build the magnet rod.
Take your magnets, if you are using the coin magnets you will need to stack a handful to ensure you are getting enough magnetic pull to make your ghost fly. Practice by testing your magnets with your paperclip to see how strong the draw is. You want the paperclip to jump to the magnet.
Place your magnets between two jumbo craft sticks and tape into place.
The flying rod is ready!
Now to prepare your ghost. Take a paper clip and tie fishing line to it. You want about 4 to 6 inches of fishing line.
Now anchor the end of fishing line that doesn’t have the paperclip. We placed our fishing line on a Lego plate and then placed some 2×4 Lego pieces across the line to secure it. You could also just tape the end of the fishing line to the table.
Here is a picture of the set up before we add the ghost.
Now make your ghosts! Kids can decorate their ghosts if they wish, or leave it just white and floaty.
Once ready, slide the tissue paper ghost onto the paperclip. Make sure you hide the paperclip on the inside of the ghost so you can’t see it.
Making the Ghost Fly!
Hold the flying rod near the ghost. It should jump up and stick to the rod at first but slowly lift up and the ghost will fly below your rod!
With practice and a careful hand, you will be able to move the rod around and make the ghost fly around. Move the rod a bit too far away though, and the ghost will fall. Practice to learn the perfect technique for making your ghost fly!
The Science Behind Flying Ghosts Experiment
In this experiment we are exploring magnetism. By keeping the ghost and paperclip anchored it will try to lift to the magnet but the string will hold it in place allowing you to keep your magnets a short distance away and cause the ghost to fly.
For more scientific investigations try this experiment with different types of magnets and see how it affects the distance you can move your rod from the paperclip.
You can also try making ghosts fly using air. Place the ghost tissue paper between two fans aimed towards each other and see if you can use the air currents to keep your ghost flying. If you have a central heating system with floor vents you can also place your tissue paper ghosts over the floor vents with the system fans on.
Another technique you can try is using static electricity on a balloon to see if you can get the ghosts to fly.
Fire Up Ghosts With Tea Bag Ghosts
Try another epic Halloween Flying Ghost Experiment with our Flying Tea Bag Ghosts. Which flying ghost science is your favourite?