Activity: Specimens and Potions

October is a great month to get creative while getting back to nature. The weather is perfect for nature walks or walks in the woods, and kids love collecting treasures. With Halloween hovering at the end of the month, engage your children in some imaginary play during which they can be mad scientists. This is what you’ll need:

  • Mason jars (use plastic jars if you’re concerned about breakage)
  • Liquid watercolor paints
  • Water
  • Pourable containers for water
  • Paint brushes or paint droppers
  • No-spill cups
  • Self-adhesive googly eyes
  • Small items collected from nature: acorns, twigs, plants, grass, dead flowers, etc.
  • Bag or basket for collecting treasures

Step 1 – Go on a Treasure Hunt:

Kids can explore the backyard, hike down a local trail, or investigate the beach to collect small items that will fit in their mason jars.  

*Tips for parents: Encourage kids to explore their environment. Talk about how their treasures feel: hard, soft, fuzzy, etc.

Step 2 – Mix up the Potions:

When you return from your treasure hunt, set up mason jars, pourable containers of water, and no-spill cups filled with liquid watercolors. Encourage kids to pour, mix, and add color. Adding the found treasures will make the mixtures especially spooky.

*Tips for parents: Kids can add color to their potions by dipping a paintbrush in the color and then swirling it in a mason jar filled with water or by using an eye dropper to remove color from the spill-proof cup and depositing it into the mason jar. Use this time to talk about color mixing—kids will love watching the colors change before their eyes.

Step 3 – Creepify the Jar:

Once kids seem to be finishing up the project, ask them to add googly eyes to the mason jars and display them on a windowsill until Halloween.