Fall Fun with Your Little One 5 Fun Ideas for Decorating Pumpkins with Preschoolers PLUS Free Downloadable Templates!

Wearing dress-up clothes outside? Going door to door asking for candy? Playing with your food? For the littlest trick-or-treaters, Halloween is almost too good to be true and decorating pumpkins is definitely one of the highlights of this spooky season. Check out our twisted takes on traditional pumpkin carving to get your preschooler in the (mischievous!) mood for fall fun.

  1. Paint the Town Orange! Skip the carving and paint your pumpkin instead! Outline the eyes, nose, and mouth with a Sharpie and let your younger kids fill them in with acrylic paint. Older kids can trace a Halloween template like a bat, witch, spider, or our very own Pete the Cat ® (see below) with a marker, and can paint it in themselves. Try painting in black on a white pumpkin for an especially devilish design. You could even get really creative, and re-imagine your pumpkin as a flying saucer or a burger, or a doughnut!
  1. The Eyes Have It! Your kiddos will hardly believe their eyes with this silly pumpkin hack. Instead of carving or painting, try googly eyes, home-made construction paper eyes, or magazine cut-outs for your pumpkin’s peepers! Looking for a bit of alien appeal? Glue your baby blues to small paper plates and pop them up with a coiled pipe cleaner for an especially eye-popping look!Pumpkin Eyes
  1. Try a Template! Carving is easier (and more fun) with a template and you can download our adorable Pete the Cat® template for free! Just print it, cut it out, pin it to your pumpkin, and carve along the lines to bring a favorite friend to life this fall.

Download FREE Pete the Cat® Halloween Pumpkin Template Here
Pete the Cat Halloween Pumpkin Template_Page_2

  1. Drip Drop! Design your own drip pumpkin! Take turns squeezing streams of colorful acrylic paints onto the top of your pumpkin and watch the colors slide down the sides. Continue to layer until your entire pumpkin is covered; sprinkle glitter on the wet paint for some sinister sparkle. Dry and display.Drip Pumpkin

Snacks make everything more festive, so don’t forget to check out our Spooky Snacks Pinterest board for some fun, Halloween-themed drinks and desserts for your decorating party!


Slip Into Something a Little STEM-ier! 5 Fun, Science-Based Costume Ideas

It’s October! Time for dressing up and tricks and treats. This year, why not steer your kids towards a STEM-themed Halloween costume? Something truly science-inspired? Who knows… it just might stick (kind of like those Starburst Minis you’ll have stuck in your teeth the week after Halloween!).

Mad Scientist

Mad Scientist Costume

We’ve seen several variations of this silly, and yes—a little creepy—costume, but the basics involve a lab coat, glasses, crazy hair, and as many scientific tools as your kiddo can carry (consider gluing them to a single sheet of cardboard to make them easier to carry). Ghoulish face paint kicks this crazy costume up a notch. Gloves and tie optional.


Einstein Costume Kids

To play this fabulous physicist,you’ll need hair—and lots of it. Look for a grey or white wig with matching eyebrows and moustache. Add a collared shirt, sweater or jacket, and tie – neck or bow will do. www.nowtime.xyz If you do it right, you shouldn’t need the E=MC2 sign, but keep it in your back pocket, just in case.


Astronaut CostumeIf you’re looking for an out-of-this-world costume, look no further than an astronaut. You’ll need a jumpsuit – silver, white, or orange are best – and a helmet – a bike helmet works, as does a mixing bowl or utility bucket with a window cut out.

If you really want to launch this costume to the next level, add a home-made jet pack.

  1. Spray paint two empty, clean liter soda bottles silver.
  2. Cut several pieces of red and orange tissue paper or felt into “flame shapes”, line the inside of the bottle openings with glue, and insert
  3. Cut holes at the top and bottom of each side of the cardboard and insert webbing, tying under your child’s armpits to make straps.
  4. Using a hot glue gun, attach both bottles, opening down, to the sheet of cardboard.


Martian Kids Costume
Photo courtesy of ChicaCircle.com – Pauline Molinari

Ok, martians aren’t exactly STEM material, but with all the recent talk of Mars exploration, who knows what we’ll find? Green is the goal, here. Green clothing, green face, maybe even green hair if you’re prepared for it to linger for a while. Once your adorable alien is green, add extra eyeballs and antennae (pipe cleaners and headbands help).

Nancy B

Nancy B's Science Club Costume

Who could forget OUR favorite scientist, Nancy B? The key to Nancy B is the lab coat, glasses, goggles, and magnifying glass. Oh, and a big smile – don’t forget that. Insider tip: Nancy only writes with purple pens—slide one into your lab coat pocket and you’ll be ultra-authentic.

Your Baby’s a Big Kid! Major Milestones for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

Your child is transforming into a self-sufficient person with a distinct personality and an amazing intellect. In fact, most eight-year-olds can perform basic multiplication and division! Read on for some more major milestones you can expect to see over these first few years of school. (Important caveat: every child is unique.  If your kiddo is behind on any of the milestones in our infographic, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong —he or she simply may be developing at a different rate!)

Your Sensitive and Silly Six-Year-Old

Transitioning from Kindergarten to first grade is a major step in a child’s life and kids learn a lot this year,like how to count up to 120 and down from 20! Independence is blossoming, but those sweet sixesstill need encouragement from you! Check out our infographic for some key developmental milestones you might expect your little one to achieve this year.

Your Sensitive and Silly Six-Year-Old

Transitioning from Kindergarten to first grade is a major step in a child’s life and kids learn a lot this year, like how to count up to 120 and down from 20! Independence is blossoming, but those sweet sixes still need encouragement from you! Check out our infographic  for some key developmental milestones you might expect your little one to achieve this year.

Your Skill-Sharpening 7-Year-Old

With coordination and motor skills catching up to growing bodies, second graders are fine-tuning their movements and may become more interested in athletics. As their individual learning styles become more defined, so will their preferences for specific subjects at school. No matter their favorite subject, most students are able to do some mental math and solve simple word problems by the end of this year! Find out what else you can expect from your sporty seven-year-old on our infographic!

Your Awesomely-Independent 8-Year-Old

Eight-year-olds’ athletic and academic abilities have advanced by leaps and bounds—they can even do basic multiplication and division! Their emotional intelligence becomes more pronounced as they better understand both themselves and others. They also begin to prefer spending time with friends over hanging out with their parents (sorry, Mom and Dad!). Find out what else you can expect this year on our infographic.

Major Milestones for 6- to 8-Year-Olds Milestones for 6 to 8

The Sweet Smell of Success: A Sneak-Peek Into the Making of Our Award-Winning Flower Power Studio!


It’s Jessie here, Design Manager at EI.  I wear many hats at my job, but what I look forward to most is helping design our award-winning toys. And since I became a mom just last year, I take special pride in creating toys that my daughter will soon enjoy.

Our Design & Drill® line has always been a favorite among preschoolers and their parents. Last year, we decided to create a version designed specifically to appeal to little girls.We wanted to go beyond a simple color change, to create a toy with “girl appeal” through and through.blogimage-1

Brent Geppert, our Design & Drill Product Manager, had created a sculpture of a flower-shaped drill bit that I absolutely loved.  In fact, I was so inspired by that one little bit that I ended up creating a complete, flower-themed version of the toy!

Flower shaped drill bit

First, I turned the traditionally-square Design & Drill base into a flower shape with a large center and enough holes to drill beautiful patterns. Keeping the design symmetrical was important, so that the toy could fold into a handy storage and carrying case. An adorable butterfly clasp seemed like the perfect closure.

Flower shaped base

Everyone loved the design, but I knew we could do more to make this the perfect construction-meets-creativity toy for girls. The team thought about how we could push the design further by adding jewels or stickers… but nothing felt quite special enough.  We eventually landed on creating “designer plates” that could be drilled into the board, and I went to work illustrating six shapes that would add the perfect touch to any girl’s creation.


Once we were sure we’d maxed out our flower power potential, we sent 2D designs to our factory so they could create 3D files and renderings. Brent and I reviewed them and made lots of tiny changes until everything was perfect.


The first sample we see from our factory is called a “hand sample” and it’s always exciting to receive! Brent and I tested all the parts and pieces of the hand-made Flower Power Studio sample, made some final changes, and gave the factory the go-ahead to make a “first shot”. We use our “first shots” to review colors, textures, finish, and functionality of our toys before they go into production.


Once Flower Power Studio went into production, I started work on the packaging, directing the photo shoot (it didn’t take much direction—our models loved the toy!) and designing all of the artwork.Flower Power Studio

Of all the toys I’ve worked on, Design & Drill Flower Power Studio is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a great example of the excellent results that happen when a creative product developer, Brent, and a passionate designer, me!, put their heads together. When it won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and was featured on TV and in magazines everywhere, Brent and I gave each other a high-five and said “that’s OUR Flower Power Studio!”

Check out the final product!


Make Your OWN Magnet!

Considered the father of electromagnetism, British scientist  Michael Faraday furthered the field of magnetism by leaps and bounds. Although his math skills were barely at the algebraic level, his understanding of electromagnetism and electrochemistry led to big-time scientific breakthroughs in the early 1800’s. Oh, did we mention that he moonlighted as a chemist, discovering Benzene and inventing the Bunsen burner, among other amazing accomplishments?


You can perform Faraday’s famous induction experiment at home with your kids, and introduce them to the magic of magnets and the amazing mysteries that can be solved by scientific exploration. It’s easiest than you might think:so go on, give it a try….

First, ask your kids if they think there’s a way to make a non-magnetic object, like a nail, magnetic.

Next, gather the following supplies:

  • 1 Iron nail – roughly 3″ long
  • 3’ Thin coated copper wire
  • New D battery
  • Needle-nosed pliers or wire stripper
  • Tape
  • Several paper clips or other metal objects

Photo Courtesy Grandadscience.com

Now, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Leaving about 5″loose at the starting end, wrap the wire around the nail, being careful not to overlap anywhere.
  2. Leaving 8″ loose at the other end of the nail,cut the wire.
  3. Use a wire stripper to peel back the plastic coating from both ends of the wire (many needle-nose pliers have a built-in wire stripper). You’ll only need to peel off about an inch of plastic from the wire – just enough to expose it and enable it to make contact with the ends of the battery.
  4. Tape one end of the wire to one end of your battery and the other end to the other end of the battery. Be careful – the battery can get hot!
  5. Point your nail toward the pile of paper clips – it should pick them up!

Picking up paperclips
Photo Courtesy Grandadscience.com

Amazing, right? Here’s how it works:

Most magnets are permanent, meaning they are always magnetic (think about the ones on your fridge). This is because of the way their molecules are arranged. Electromagnets, however, are only magnetic when electricity, like what you provided with your battery, is flowing. When electricity is attached to a non-magnetic metal object, the molecules in the object are rearranged so that they are attracted to other metals—in other words, they become magnetic—until the electrical supply is cut off. For this reason, it’s extremely important to keep the wires of an electromagnet away from any electrical outlets.

Congratulations—you just made an electromagnet! Michael Faraday would be proud.