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Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Play Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Halloween is gaining popularity every year here in Australia, so I know my daughter will be exposed to it more and more as the years go on. So I've decided to introduce it to her in an age appropriate and fun way by incorporating Halloween themed activities into our daily play. These are some of the fun Halloween play ideas we've tried and how you can put them together for your own kids.

Toddlers and preschoolers don't have the longest attention spans so I deliberately put together low prep Halloween activities that I could set up in a few minutes. Lots of them are Halloween themed sensory play ideas because that's what holds her attention the longest at this age. They also work well as portable activities and are easy to pack away.

halloween fairy door on tree


All of these Halloween play ideas are very simple, but provide lots of opportunities for exploration and imaginative play. My motto when it comes to toddler sensory play is definitely keep it simple! I've included Halloween themed items in the activities such as bugs and other creepy crawlies, but I haven't introduced anything that's scary because my daughter's only 3.

>> Please note some activities involve small parts and are not suitable for children under 3yrs of age and should always be done under strict adult supervision.


Halloween cous cous and creepy crawly sensory tub for toddlers

We're huge fans of sensory bins here, so it's no surprise that I put together a Halloween sensory bin. I found some cheap plastic rats, bats and spiders as well as some chocolate eyeballs and pumpkins which were perfect to use in a sensory tub. I used a packet of couscous as our sensory base, but It would also be great with orange or black dyed rice, beans or sensory spaghetti. 

I added in some tweezers and handy scoopers for some added fine motor skill practice while playing. She loved this sensory bin as she could scoop and pour the couscous, pick up the items with the tweezers, bury them in couscous, count them, sort them and then of course make up imaginary stories between the bats, rats and spiders. We've since done a Halloween spooky spaghetti sensory tub and a creepy crawly sensory bin as well.


Halloween spooky jelly

Look away if you don't like using food in play. I love using all sorts of food for sensory play {mostly long life stuff like rice and pasta} but lately we've started experimenting with jelly play a lot more. Bub loves it because she can help to make it as well as play with at the end, and of course its edible so she gets to eat it too {in small amounts}. 

We put together a really simple spooky jelly with some orange jelly, snake, teeth and mouth lollies. You could probably find more spooky lollies in special Halloween lolly packs, but we just grabbed some normal lollies from the supermarket in our weekly shop, so this is as spooky as it got. 

To make spooky jelly simply make the jelly/jello according to the packet directions and put in the fridge to cool. Add the lollies when the jelly has cooled, but is still relatively liquid so they will submerge into the jelly. We added our lollies too late so they sat on the top, but apparently still tasted just as good. Add some tweezers so the kids can rescue the lollies from the jelly.


Spooky witches potion

For a super quick play activity that will keep the kids entertained for hours, grab a plastic Halloween container {we used an old jack-o-lantern container from last year} and make some witches soup. Simply fill the container with water and various plastic Halloween themed critters, we used bats, rats, spiders, snakes and a few bugs. 

If you don't have a Halloween themed container you could always use a plastic tub and dye the water orange with a few drops of food colouring. Add extra cups, spoons, tweezers or tongs so the kids can scoop, pour and pick up the creep crawlies in the soup. We've also since made some foaming bubbly witches brew and fizzing witches potions.


Twinkly halloween printable phonics game

For a break from the sensory play and to add in some more educational learning, keep the kids entertained with these cool Halloween phonics printables from Twinkl. We printed and laminated them and then she used pegs to mark the correct letters. You could also use clear glass pebbles or simply circle the letter. 

For more fun themed activities search Halloween on Twinkl for printable colouring in pages, games, puzzles and paper models. If you're never heard of them before, you can find out more about Twinkl here. You can also find lots of free printable Halloween activities and colouring pages here.


free halloween playdough mats
A really simple way to introduce Halloween play to toddlers and preschoolers is with my free Halloween playdough mats. Playdough is a great way for children to work their finger muscles and build fine motor skills while getting lots of sensory input. If your kids love playdough mats you can get even more from my Etsy store.

halloween play ideas for toddlers


Disclosure - this post contains some affiliate links for your convenience which means I may make a small commission, at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Love the spooky jelly! My son would love making this, and it would be pretty straight-forward, too. Cool idea :) #MummyMondays

    1. It's so simple to make literally jelly + lollies on top :)

  2. Replies
    1. I'm learning to love aspects of it ;) Not sure how I'll go when she starts wanting to do trick or treating.

  3. You certainly have embraced this theme is a meaningful play way T! Thank you for linking up and the shout out for Life This Week, I really appreciate it! Denyse

    1. It's funny I only decided to start doing Halloween play last Friday and by Sunday we had done all of these. May have got a little obsessed ;)

  4. Cool ideas there Toni. I've also been on record as a Halloween Grinch but this year I'm taking the kids trick or treating for the first in a neighbourhood walk. What has become of us?????

    1. I know who even are we??? I'm thinking if we do eventually do trick or treating I'll take her to one of the organised ones at a shopping centre.

  5. Some great ideas - will flag this with one of my friends who has a youngster. Am sure he'll love this!

  6. I love these ideas, my girls would love the jelly! I love taking the kids out for Halloween, it's a happy community event for us! We are staying home this year and having the hoards coming to us, I am hoping we have enough for everyone :)

    I am now thinking jelly cups with lollies in them may be a good halloween treat for our trick or treaters! First in first serve!

    1. I totally would've done jelly cups if we'd had plastic cups at home. They'll love it :)

  7. Thanks for the awesome review on Twinkl. We love all the ideas for Halloween this year. Lovely!