Wriggly Mummy Worm Science Experiment for Halloween

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INSIDE: Wriggly Worm Science Experiment is a fun and easy fine motor STEAM activity for kids. Let your child make worms grow and squirm this Halloween!

How to Set Up Paper Towel Wriggly Worm Experiment Sensory Bag

Start by cutting your paper towel into squares. I used the select-a-size paper towels so I simply cut one of the smaller sections in half. If your paper towel is full sized, fold it in half and then half again to make a square and then it into four squares.

Take some washable markers in green, orange, purple and black (Halloween colours) and colour each squares with one colour. I made two of each colour for a total of eight worms.

Take a bamboo sticks and wrap the paper towel, with the colour side facing inwards, around the bamboo stick. Be sure to wrap the paper towel as tight as you can around the bamboo stick.

Once you are finished wrapping, stand the bamboo stick up right on a table and press the paper towel down, towards the table, scrunching it up as much as possible.

Don’t remove the paper towel yet, just scrunch it down until it is as small as you can make it. Carefully take the paper towel off the bamboo stick without lengthen it. Repeat the the other colours.

Time to give your worms faces

Take a permanent marker and draw faces on the worms. On the black worms I drew a ghost face, on the orange worms, a pumpkin face. On the green worms, I drew a Frankenstein face and on the purple worms, I drew a bat with fangs face.

Time to grow your worms

Place your worms on to a tray or plate. Fill a small bowl with water and hand your little one an eye dropper.

Invite them to pour water over the worms and watch them appear to wriggle and grow and turn colours right before their eyes!

Science behind the Paper Towel Wriggly Worm Experiment

The science behind the paper towel wriggly worm centers around the physics concept of capillary action.

Paper towel comes from trees and consists of many plant fibers. These plant fibers come together to form large webs of small tunnels that also exist in paper.

Two actions (cohesion and adhesion) cause the water to move through the tiny web of tubes and fill the spaces in the paper with water. When water molecules stay together its called cohesion. When water molecules want to stick to another substance is called adhesion. Water molecules want to stay together but they also want to stick to other substances.

This can be seen as the water moves through paper towel sticking to the tiny fibers as well as itself.

As the water fills up the paper fiber tunnels they expand, causing the paper to straighten out. So it appears to you and your child that they paper towel worms are growing and moving as they fill with water.

Looking for more Halloween Activities? Check out these fun ideas:

Age Suitability for Wriggly Worm Experiment

This activity is good forpre-k, kindergarten aged children 3 years old and up. My kids are 4.5, 4.5 and 8 years old.

Mess Level

The mess level for this activity is LOW.

Difficulty to Create 


Skills Developed

Language development, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.


(This post and list contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a commission. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.)

  • Paper towel
  • Washable markers
  • Bamboo stick
  • Tray or plate
  • Eye droppers
  • Water
  • Small bowl
  • Permanent black marker

Books, TV Show & Play Kits!

Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Engage your child in hours of play with my colorful collection of over 60 sensory bin activities, recipes and play projects that aid with memory formation, language development, problem-solving skills and more. Perfect for toddlers from eighteen months to three years old and beyond, each bin makes use of materials you already have at home and helps reignite your kids’ interest in toys long forgotten.

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

With setup instructions, details on how to guide your child through each activity, suggestions for what to talk about with your child as they play and other useful tips, Mandisa gives you all the information you need for creative sensory activities your kids are bound to love.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Salt Painted Witch Hat Craft for Kids

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Salt Painted Witch Hat Craft for Kids

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles that show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

Salt Painted Witch Hat Craft for Kids

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to finally share my new crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched July 1 at on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube!

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 

The Best Sensory Play Kits for Kids

Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and has a enoumous positive impact on brain development.

Our Sensory Play Kits are some fun and easy ways to keep your child engaged while at the same time using sensory play to nurture their mind!

Shop our ready made play kits here.

How to Make Colored Spaghetti for Sensory Play


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3 comments on “Wriggly Mummy Worm Science Experiment for Halloween”

  1. Avatar photo
    Maria Comino

    Such great ideas! I would never have thought of making my own STEM worms! Bravo. Lovely site.