There is just something about opening a box with packing peanuts. I remember holding the old Styrofoam ones between the thumb and index finger of one hand and flicking them with my opposite index finger to make them fly across the room as a child. My friend and I would mark how far they went, stopping every once in a while to listen to the sound as we snapped them in half.
There are so many fun things you can do with those peanuts. You can use toothpicks to build simple structures with them. (We’ve also made structures with regular Styrofoam, too.) This week I was excited to give some packing peanuts a fun spin with this Halloween activity: Vanishing Ghosts. (Related: Halloween Crafts & Activities)
When my husband first opened the box and lifted out the belt he had ordered, I got excited. We have tons of polystyrene peanuts, but had never gotten to play with the starch ones that dissolve in water. Right away I started thinking of what fun we could have with them. With Halloween coming up, I wanted to give it a holiday twist. The packing peanuts made perfect ghosts.
Packing Peanut Vanishing Ghosts Halloween Activity
- Biodegradable Packing Peanuts (like these)
- Black Permanent Marker
- Small Bowl
Use a black permanent marker to draw a ghost face on each packing peanut. Remember, they MUST be biodegradable packing peanuts. (That means they are made of starch, not polystyrene.) If your child is anything like mine, they will want to do this activity several times, so be sure to have plenty of little ghosts ready.
Now it’s time to make those ghosts vanish with a bit of science “magic.”
Fill a small bowl with water. (We just used room temperature water.) Have your child place one ghost on top and watch what happens.
You will start to see small bubbles appearing on the sides of the packing peanut ghost. And then the ghost will disappear right before your eyes!
Your results may depend on the type of biodegradable packing peanuts you use. Ours dissolved within just a couple minutes. If it seems to be taking too long for the ghosts to disappear, try using hot water to help speed up the process.
Next time you get a package in the mail, show the kids how to fling those packing peanuts across the room. Then put them to use in this simple Halloween activity and make vanishing ghosts.
You may also like: