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Fall Brew

Age: 0 to 8 Time: Under 1 hour
Materials: Large pot; water; vinegar; baking soda
Skills: Imagination, Sensory, Teamwork

Help your kids connect their play to a beloved fall tradition—Halloween. You’ll activate imaginations as you turn water and nature treasures into your very own Halloween Brew. What to put in and what spells come out will be entirely up to you and your explorers. Introduce a few special ingredients, and you can make both the brew and the pretending even more spooky.

The Guide

  1. Talk about Halloween and witches: Ask kids questions like, “What are Halloween witches? What do they do? Consider singing a Halloween song or rhyme together (See lyrics for one or our favorites below). Ask one another, "Do you think we should try to play witches and make our own brew!
  2. Gather around the cauldron: Place out a cauldron (i.e. big kitchen pot, bucket, hollowed pumpkin) and fill it half way with water.
  3. Ingredients?: Wonder together where you can find some more ingredients. What can we add to our brew? Start gathering and adding ingredients. Make a cut pumpkin, squash, cob of corn or other seasonal vegetables available too.
  4. Stir, add, stir, repeat: This phase of the play can last for a long time. Transporting, stirring and transforming water into brew combines several developmentally enriching behavior patterns that kids worldwide exhibit. Let this enriching play go on.
  5. Add some mystery: To add a twist, introduce and hand over “secret ingredients” that enhance the sensory experience. Our favorite? One jar of baking soda and another of vinegar/water mixture. Smell each ingredient. Predict what will happen to the brew. Then, let the kids add them and be amazed!
  6. Cast some spells: If you have one or more children who are old enough to get into pretending, ask them what spell they could cast with their brew. Feel free to offer an example, "If you take one sniff of the brew, it will turn you into a toad!" Take a whiff and hop about to act the spell out. Even though children 3 and up tend to drive this kind of pretending, younger children can still benefit from move like or even just watching the big kids and just enjoying the fun that is being had.

Stirring our Brew

Stirring and stirring and stirring our brew. (motion as if to stir)
Ooooo-oooo. Ooooo-oooo. (cup hands around your mouth as you howl)
Stirring and stirring and stirring our brew.
Ooooo-oooo. Ooooo-oooo.
Tiptoe. Tiptoe. Tiptoe... (tip toe)
BOO! (jump and yell, Boo!)

Why is this activity great for kids?

Teaming up to make witch's "brew" supports children on many levels. First, the very act of transforming water into "brew" by adding, mixing and mashing different materials supports children with the transforming schema. Further, gathering ingredients fuels the transporting schema. Both schema are part of a series of brain-boosting behavior patterns in which young children engage worldwide. Children also use their senses to discover and explore various "ingredients" as they concoct their brew. Finally, children of all ages exercise their imaginations as they pretend. Even your youngest explorer can pretend to cook—a most accessible play scenario. Your older and more advanced explorers model for the younger by pretending to be witches, cast spells and indulge in the spookier side of this wonderful season.

Do This Activity In A Class

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Come together with like-minded community members and same-aged children.
Kids build foundational cognitive, social and emotional, and physical skills with an expert-designed curriculum.

Do It Yourself

We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!

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