Meet Sally and Sam, our new resident ghosts. Sam and Sally are friendly ghosts but they do make some noise. Not Boo! More like a screaming WHIRRRRRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRRRRRR! I blame Steve Spangler for the ghost invasion. The ghosts came into our lives after we tried his Screaming Balloons Experiment. And they've been haunting the house ever since.
Our balloon experiment started out innocently enough. It's actually pretty simple, involves sound and motion and helps teach the following scientific principles:
Centripetal force and Vibration
A latex balloon (we used Blue, Helium Quality, 12" size)
1/4" hex nut
(for full directions, see the Steve Spangler Website or reference page 137 in his new book, Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes)
Place the hex nut into the mouth of the uninflated balloon and shake it down until it rests on the bottom of the balloon.
Blow up the balloon until it is a little over 1/2 way inflated. Take great care so that you don't suck the hex nut back out accidentally. Tie the balloon and examine the hex nut inside. Make the hex nut swirl around inside by moving the balloon in a swirling circular motion. Listen to the balloon scream.
Pulled in a circular motion due to centripetal force, the hex nut swirls around inside the balloon and, in doing so, the flat edges of the hex nut vibrate against the side of the balloon causing a screaming sound.
Instantaneously a hit. My daughter simply had no idea that the hex nut would make the screaming noise. Her initial thought was that it would just roll and thump around. Both kids were extremely excited that they could make their balloons "sing." That's right, even my two-year-old could make the balloon scream all by himself just by shaking the balloon up and down (under my watchful supervision - wouldn't want this choking hazard near him without an adult nearby). I first saw this experiment in the new science book Steve Spangler sent me to review, called Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes. I admit I was rather curious as to just how loud a sound these "screaming balloons" could emit. It's actually a fairly tolerable whirring noise and not the super loud, ear-drum damaging screeching I was expecting. As suggested in the book, we also tried putting a marble inside the balloon -- no ridges, no vibrating screams. We haven't tried placing more than one hex nut inside or a larger size balloon yet but think those variations would be fun to try. You can watch video demonstrations on the Steve Spangler Website.
Now, here's where our little experiment took a Halloween themed direction, entirely my own idea I might add. The kids were enjoying playing with the balloons so much I thought it would be fun to turn them into screaming ghosts. We had all the supplies on hand to create our ghosts.
Extra materials needed to make screaming ghost:
White colored garbage bag (we used Glad tall kitchen 13 gallon bags)
Black Permanent Marker
Place the balloon in the white garbage bag and position it in one of the top corners of the bag with the balloon tie facing down toward the opening of the bag.
Gather the bag over the balloon with one hand and wrap clear tape at the gather (same location as the balloon tie) to cinch the bag shut over the balloon.
Draw a screaming face onto the head of the ghost with a black permanent marker.
Let the haunting begin. My kids played with their friendly ghosts for an entire evening. They named them, dressed them up in clothes (at one point one of the ghosts wore a cat-ears headband), and even made them glow in the dark with a flashlight. Good for the imagination and a perfect educational craft for Halloween.
As you can tell, I'm a big fan of Steve Spangler Science and a happy customer. I've personally purchased a few items from his website, tried his experiments at home with the kids and we've watched several of his YouTube videos. I'll post my review of his new book, Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes later this evening or early in the week. I recently received a copy of the book for review purposes.
If you enjoyed this post you can find more Science Sunday experiments involving kids at http://adventuresofmommyness.blogspot.com/search/label/Science%20Sunday or even join in the weekly meme. Science is Fun!