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Monday, September 28, 2020

29 Halloween Sensory Play Ideas: Spooky Sensory Bins, Slime, Spaghetti & More

If your little ones love sensory play and love Halloween then they'll love these squishy, squelchy and slightly spooky Halloween sensory play ideas. You can make them as cute or creepy as you like depending on their age. There's 29 different Halloween play activities so there's something to take your fancy no matter what age your kids are. Toddlers, preschoolers and school kids will have loads of fun celebrating Halloween this year with some spooktacular sensory play.

girl making witches potions in a field

THE BENEFITS OF SENSORY PLAY


When some people think of sensory play all they can think of is mess, but it doesn't have to be messy! Although in our house, where we firmly embrace the mess, that's all part of the fun. Whether you want to do messy sensory play, or more controlled sensory play like sensory bottles {see the bottom of this post for some options}, the benefits of sensory play are undeniable.

Like most types of play, sensory play is all about children exploring different materials and working out how things interact, however sensory play is firmly focused on them using their senses to do this. Most often this is done through tactile stimulation by using different textures, temperatures or surfaces. E.g hard or soft, warm or cold, squishy or firm. It can also include auditory stimulation by shaking or banging items to see what sounds they make. Items and play bases can be made more visually appealing by using bright colours, or light and dark contrasts. And finally sensory play can also include different aromas by scenting bases like playdough or potions.


By touching, smelling, seeing and hearing objects and sensory bases in different ways children are developing nerve pathways within their brain as they problem solve and learn cause and effect by interacting with different elements. They're also using fine motor skills, learning to self regulate {as sensory play is often quite calming and focused}, developing language skills when engaging in imaginary play with sensory elements and it can help foster social skills when exploring a sensory activity as a group.

A huge plus of sensory play is that you can theme it to fit in with any type of subject matter you want, whether it be a particular part of a learning curriculum, or to suit a specific holiday. The following Halloween sensory play ideas are all fun, age appropriate ways to explore different Halloween elements like creepy crawlies, pumpkin guts, monsters and witches, without being too scary.

kids carving pumpkins for halloween
Image by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

SPOOKTACULAR SENSORY BINS


Ok so I know I just said sensory play doesn't have to be messy, but... before you embark on one of these spooktacular sensory bin ideas, be mindful if sensory play is going to get messy then this is where it'll happen. Before you freak out though, there's so many ways to minimise the mess and sensory bins can keep kids occupied for ages {which is worth a little mess as far as I'm concerned}. To limit the chances of rice or beans etc flying everywhere use a tray or big plastic storage tub for your sensory bin, then either take it outside for play or put a splash mat or old sheet underneath it to catch any spills. Also if it's a dry sensory base it's nothing the broom or vacuum can't handle!

HALLOWEEN CREEPY CRAWLY PROPS TO USE IN SENSORY PLAY




halloween creepy crawly sensory rice invitation to play

Younger kids will love this simple Halloween rice sensory tray. They can scoop and pour the rice as well as find and study some creepy crawlies. Find my instructions here to recreate this sensory tub, including how to dye sensory rice.

halloween water and spider sensory bin

For a really simple Halloween sensory tub, fill a large plastic container with some beakers, mini spiders and orange water. Kids can splish and splash, exploring measurement and making some spooky potions with this easy Halloween water sensory tub from The Keeper of the Memories

spider web sensory bin for halloween

If you're scared of spiders you may find this spider web sensory bin a little uncomfortable, but the kids will probably love it. For a totally different sensory tub grab some fake spider webs and lots of creepy crawly friends to recreate Happy Toddler Playtime's Halloween spider sensory tub. Just be careful to pack all those critters away afterwards because you don't want to step on one in the dark, trust me!

halloween themed sensory bin with rice and black beans

This colourful Halloween sensory bin uses multiple sensory bases in all different colours. Simple Fun for Kids have used orange rice, white rice, black beans and some Halloween props to provide lots of different visual and tactile sensory fun.

halloween sensory bin with black beans

This halloween sensory bin is so visually appealing with the contrast of bright colourful halloween party favours against the black beans. Kids will have loads of fun scooping, pouring, raking {with skeleton tongs} and hiding and finding all the spooky creatures. Find out how to set up a spooky halloween black bean sensory bin at Fireflies and Mudpies.


WITCHES BREW


Witches and Halloween just go together so well. I dare say most kids {and adults even} have dressed up as a witch for Halloween. Why not take it a step further and create your own special bubbling or frothy concoction with these cool witches brew recipes.

fluffy witches slime with spiders

Witch’s and wizards aren't just about potions, they also love making fluffy slime for Halloween! Follow the fluffy witches brew slime recipe from Little Bins For Little Hands to make the perfect stretchy candy corn themed slime. Add in some plastic spiders and bugs for an authentically creepy concoction.

bubbling fizzy witches potion with bugs

Create a bubbling, fizzing, bug filled witches potion just like The Craft Train. You'll need some baking soda, vinegar and some plastic creepy crawlies. Pretend to be a real witch adding slugs, bugs, snakes and lizards to your bubbling brew.

colourful bicarb and vinegar witches potions for halloween

These colourful witches potions will bubble and brew to life with spectacular force as kids watch on in awe. With a twist on the traditional bicarb and vinegar science experiment, these witches potions combine science and creepy crawlies into one spooky, fun activity kids will love. Find out how to bring your own colourful witches potions to life here.

edible witches brew slime

If you want to make a witches potion that can actually be eaten, try this edible witches brew slime. The words slime and edible don't normally go together, but this one is completely edible as it's made from melted gummy bears and full of other Halloween gummy lollies. Follow the instructions at Teach Beside Me to create your own edible concoction. Sensory play + a snack in one, although I take no responsibility for the sugar high that may occur after!


STICKY, STRINGY SLIME


Ah slime, we have a love/hate relationship with slime in this household. The kids love it, and I hate it. To me it doesn't seem worth the effort, however they can't get enough of it! I've never actually made slime that didn't come in a kit, so when I went searching for Halloween slime ideas, I was surprised there are so many homemade versions out there. Some of these are so easy I'm even going to give them a go. Even if you're as adverse to slime as I am, there's probably a recipe on this list that'll take your fancy {some are even edible}.


This zombie slime is fun to make any time of the year, but is extra fun to make at Halloween. Follow the instructions at STEAMsational to make your own sticky, stringy, slightly gross zombie slime.

green halloween slime with eyeballs

Whether you're making favours to give out to trick or treaters, party guests, or making a huge batch for some sensory play, this halloween slime with eyeballs is sure to provide loads of ewwy gooey, sticky fun. Use the elmers glue halloween slime recipe from Little Bins For Little Hands to recreate this creepy green slime with eyeballs. You can use the same recipe to make different coloured slime with other props like spiders, insects, pumpkins or halloween confetti.

glow in the dark fluorescent slime

If you want to take your slime to the next level try this glow in the dark slime for some spooky night time sensory play. Find out how to make glow in the dark slime at Steam Powered Family. Use a black light to watch the fluorescent slime glow.

spiderweb slime

Make this simple, but effective spiderweb slime with just 2 ingredients! Add a pipe cleaner spider, or fill it with heaps of teeny plastic spiders. Follow the instructions at STEAMsational to create your own sticky spiderweb.


spider dish soap slime recipe perfect for halloween

If you want to make spider slime, but don't want it to be sticky then try this dish soap spider slime. It stretches out to make a spider web like appearance, but has a silly putty feel rather than sticking to everything. Follow the recipe at 123 Homeschool 4 me and remember to add lots of plastic spiders.

orange halloween oobleck with spiders

This one isn't technically slime, however this orange halloween oobleck provides just as much sticky gooey fun as slime. Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid which can be both a solid and a liquid depending on the force applied to it. So not only does it provide great sensory input, it's also a fun science lesson at the same time. Make this halloween oobleck by following the instructions at Steam Powered Family.

halloween slime with pumpkin seeds

Nothing says Halloween like pumpkins, so if you want some truly Halloween themed slime, make a batch of this pumpkin slime. If the kids love pulling the pumpkin guts out when creating jack-o-lanterns then they'll love this jiggly slime that contains real pumpkin seeds. Follow the instructions at Natural Beach Living to create your own Halloween pumpkin slime.

candy corn edible slime

This candy corn slime is completely non-toxic and in fact is completely edible {although I wouldn't tell the kids that unless you want to suffer the sugar high after!}. With just 5 ingredients this slime is super easy to make. Follow the instructions at Crayons & Cravings to make your own candy corn slime.

metamucil monster eyeball slime

Another fun slime recipe to try out at Halloween is this monster slime with googly eyes. This slime is super easy to make and has a really interesting special ingredient {no it's not the googly eyes}, it's Metamucil... yep you read that right! Find out how to make it at Pink Stripey Socks.



SLIPPERY, SLIMY, SPOOKY SPAGHETTI


I know some people aren't fans of using food for sensory play, however in our house we love to use food in sensory setups, mainly because it's taste safe so I know if the girls mouth anything it's ok {although I do discourage it}. Cooked spaghetti is such a fun sensory medium because the texture is almost in between dry and wet. It's not dry and hard like uncooked rice, but it's also not wet and fluid like water. It still provides a lot of opportunities for fine motor development by squishing, cutting, pulling, poking and tearing it, and it jiggles like worms, which is always a winner with little kids.


This spooky Halloween sensory spaghetti was actually the first time my girls played with sensory spaghetti. The vibrant colours attracted them and they loved the squishy feel of the spaghetti compared to the dry sensory bases we normally use for play. Make your own Halloween sensory spaghetti by following my instructions here and use as many or as little Halloween props as you like {depending how creepy you want it to be}.

purple spaghetti and eyeballs halloween sensory tray

This inviting spaghetti sensory tray has an added bonus, it glows in the dark! Not only does it look beautiful in the daylight, at night the creepy eyeball bouncy balls come to life and stare back at you in the dark. Spooky by day, slightly scary by night, recreate this squishy spaghetti sensory bin from Simple Everyday Mom.


HALLOWEEN PLAYDOUGH INVITATIONS TO PLAY


Playdough is an amazing sensory material as it provides visual and tactile sensory input as well as providing so many opportunities to develop fine motor skills whilst it's being played with. Playdough can be coloured and scented for all different types of themed invitations to play. Halloween playdough invitations typically involve orange, black, green or purple playdough and some spooky props.

jack-o-lantern pumpkin playdough invitation to play

How adorable is this playdough jack-o-lantern pumpkin?! Recycle a cereal box and celebrate Halloween with this super cute build-your-own Jack-O-Lantern playdough activity from Barley & Birch. Use their pumpkin templates or design your own features to decorate your playdough pumpkins.

spider playdough invitation to play

A fun way to combine loose parts and playdough for a fine motor workout is with a build a spider playdough invitation to play. You'll need some playdough and some loose parts like googly eyes, pipe cleaners and anything else you can think of so the kids can create their own spiders. Set it all up on a tray like Elemeno P Kids and watch the creativity come to life.

taste safe pumpkin spice playdough

This taste safe pumpkin spice playdough is perfect for Halloween. While we never encourage the girls to eat our sensory play activities, it's always a bonus when something only involves edible ingredients. Find out how to make pumpkin spice playdough at Crayons and Cravings.

playdough monsters with free printable accessories

Make your own playdough monsters with the free eyes and bones playdough accessories printable from Picklebums. Use a combination of playdough, printable accessories and other props like plastic teeth, beads and pipe cleaners to bring your monsters to life.


HALLOWEEN SENSORY BOTTLES & BAGS


Sensory bags and bottles are a great way for younger kids to join in on themed play and safely explore items that might otherwise pose a choking risk. They're also a no mess sensory play activity! Sensory bottles are a great way for kids of all ages {and adults} to help deal with anxiety, feel less stressed and less overwhelmed. They're also great to use to calm down before bed and as a screen free quiet time activity. They provide a great incentive for tummy time for babies and are great for eye tracking as they watch the movement inside the bottle or bag. Always make sure sensory bottles and bags are appropriately sealed and used under strict adult supervision so young children can't access the contents inside.

monster gel sensory bags for halloween

This monster sensory bag is so simple to put together and provides so many learning opportunities. It's a great way to improve hand strengthening as kids squish and move the googly eyes around into the monster shapes. Follow the instructions at Team Cartwright to create your own monster sensory bag.

glow in the dark ghost sensory bottle

This glow in the dark ghost sensory bottle looks super impressive in the dark and is actually really easy to make. You'll need a plastic Voss water bottle {or similar plastic bottle}, some white glow in the dark loom bands and a few other simple items. Follow the instructions at Rhythms of Play to create your own ghost sensory bottle.

waterbead jack-o-lantern sensory bottle
If you want to introduce water beads without the kids actually touching them, try this jack-o-lantern water bead sensory bottle. It's so simple to put together using a Voss plastic water bottle and some water beads. Follow the instructions at Teach Me Mommy to create your own.

spider sensory bottle for halloween

This spider sensory bottle is a little bit creepy {especially if you're scared of spiders}, but it's also really cool. Watch the spiders suspend in glitter and slowly float up and down in the bottle. Follow my step by step instructions to create your own spider sensory bottle here.



HALLOWEEN STRESS BALLS


If the kids, or you, need to chill and de-stress {maybe after all the sensory play} then make some of these adorable DIY Halloween stress balls. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions from Red Ted Art, or you might end up with flour everywhere and nobody wants that!

DIY halloween stress balls made from balloons


28 spooktacular halloween sensory play ideas for kids


MORE HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES TO TRY



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