These melting pumpkins look like magic, but really they are just a bit of Halloween science combined with a fine motor activity.
However, even if we grownups know the “magic” behind this activity, kids across a range of ages will love watching their magic pumpkins melt before their eyes!
Note: For more kid-friendly Halloween activities, see my Halloween activities for Kids page.
Preparing the magic melting pumpkins
You will need to prepare your magic melting pumpkins in advance. Mix approximately 1 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water dyed orange with liquid watercolors. Then mold the dough into orange, pumpkin-shaped balls.
The dough should be moldable but not soggy. If the dough has too much liquid, the pumpkins will not hold their shape as they dry. If this happens, simply add a bit more baking soda and re-form the pumpkins.
To make stems for your pumpkins, insert small bits of green pipe cleaner into the top of each pumpkin while the dough is still wet.
Then let the pumpkins dry overnight. If your pumpkins are very large or if you live in a very humid climate, it may take longer for your pumpkins to dry, so plan accordingly.
Halloween science and fine motor play with “magic” melting pumpkins
Once the pumpkins are dry, place them on a tray or baking pan to contain any mess. Add a small container of vinegar and a pipette for your children to use.
Then encourage your children to “wash” the pumpkins by suctioning vinegar into the pipette and squirting it on the pumpkins.
When vinegar and baking soda come into contact, they create a chemical reaction that involves lots of fizzing and bubbling.
As the pumpkins bubble and fizz, they slowly break down.
Encourage your children to continue adding more and more vinegar until the pumpkins have completely melted away.
Watch this short video to see our magic melting pumpkins:
More Halloween resources
More Halloween posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Flying teabag ghosts
- Mason jar jack-o-lantern
- Candy experiments
- Halloween Montessori activities
- Toilet paper mummies
- Pumpkin decomposition experiment
- Describe a pumpkin using all five senses
- Jack-o-lantern Printables Pack