Hands down: the most fun we’ve had in a while. Meet the Halloween Potions Bin.
I had this vision for my kids: tiny cauldrons and experimenting. It was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had in October. The Halloween Potions Bin was the kind of science and sensory activity that dreams are made of.
At least my dreams. Nothing beats the rush of setting up a truly great activity that your children truly love.
RELATED: Looking for more Halloween activities? Check out my list of 40+ Halloween activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
Let’s break down this Halloween potions bin, because it is one for the ages.
The root of this activity is in open ended science exploration.
We’ve done this often because it’s incredibly important for children to have these hands-on science experiences.
We want kids exploring.
We want kids predicting.
We want kids testing theories, working problems, learning about how different materials comes together and have difference reactions.
This may look like a mess, but it’s one of the most beneficial messes for kids to make.
How to set up a Halloween science activity for kids:
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OMG this list got long in a hurry. It’s not as bad as it looks. Also, put out what is manageable for YOU. No need to blindly copy the lady on the Internet.
- Mini cauldrons (DON’T FRET IF YOU DON’T HAVE THESE!!)
- Baking soda/bi-carb
- Dish soap/Washing up liquid
- White vinegar (I dyed it with grocery store food coloring)
- Shaving cream which my kids didn’t even touch and wanted cornstarch instead
- Eye balls (another optional item)
- Spiders (also optional)
- Pipettes or kid size turkey basters
- Peri bottles (you can actually buy these and they are AMAZING for kids activities)
Again, you do not need all of this. Use what feels right and manageable to you. Do not overdo it.
“I don’t have cute cauldrons”
NO WORRIES. Kids do not care. Give them bowls. Give them cups. Just give them permission to experiment.
That’s the big take-away here – not that you need cute Halloween cauldrons.
Remember, the goal is not to fully replicate my set-up. My goal is to give you an idea to modify and fit into your house. The “thesis statement” for this activity: create some sort of science based experimenting station for kids (and theme it for Halloween).
The science learning and experimenting that followed was mind-blowing
My kids went 45 minutes-1 hour (depending on the kid) DEEP into this activity.
Experimenting, testing, imagining.
Sometimes we expect pretend or imaginary play to ONLY look like dress-up. Here, it looks like science experiments and potion making.
Let’s talk about the mess (some FAQs)
Yes, this is a MESSY project. Here are some tips from my YEARS of doing messy play:
I did this in a sensory bin with a towel under it. I’m in my kitchen. I had access to restock supplies and a sink.
You might set this up in this in your:
- Water table
- Outdoor space
Always have a wet wash cloth at the ready AND an exit strategy in mind. When they finish, what’s your plan? Have this though through before you begin.
I often put the kids AND the materials into a full bath – everything and every kid comes clean. Easy peasy.
Look past the mess and see the learning.
This is NOT a mess for the sake of a mess. This is a rich science experience for kids.
This is a beautiful moment of tactile learning. This is brain development and high level thinking.
Look past the mess and see the learning.
It’s been 10 days since my kids did this activity and they’re still talking about it. Why?
Because this was a really epic and really good activity.
It was full of “yes” moments from their grown-up and overflowing with moments of independent learning.
This activity, while messy and gross and a little wild, is the kind of activity that makes childhood an absolute joy.
Here’s hoping you give Halloween Potions Bin a chance!