Halloween is quickly approaching, and our children are eagerly awaiting the spooky fun. We’ve compiled a Top 5 list (okay, it’s really a list of about 10, but it’s hard to narrow it down when you’re talking about Halloween!) of Halloween ideas, that will hopefully give you some new ideas about how to celebrate Halloween in a fun, yet educational and meaningful way with young children.
1. Pumpkins. What’s Halloween without pumpkins? We love this idea from I Can Teach My Child to let babies explore pumpkins mess free. Putting pumpkin seeds and guts inside zip lock bags will allow babies to explore the seeds without the risk of eating them, and will help keep things clean, while also storing the pumpkin for future uses.
If your school is in a city, like ours, you know it can be difficult to get out to a pumpkin patch. We’ve found an alternative way to get pumpkins – take a wagon ride or walk to a local Farmer’s Market or grocery store to see the variety of pumpkins on sale, and chose one (or more) together as a class. After bringing them back to the classroom our children use them in a variety of ways from painting to carving them.
2. Spiders. Put those plastic Halloween spiders to good use! This Giant Spider Web idea from Clare’s Little Tots is such a fantastic way for children to practice their fine motor skills while engaging in imaginary play.
Spiders also provide a wonderful topic for exploration. Our classes at SEEC have visited the Insect Hall at the National Museum of National History, and the Spider by Louise Bourgeois at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden to learn more about these arachnids.
3. Monsters. Monsters are fun because they are so open-ended and the possibilities for imaginary play are endless. This Invitation to Create a Monster from Cutting Tiny Bites allows children to use their imagination to create any kind of monster they want. We love that it’s process based rather than product oriented, and the results are so varied!
Last year one of our 3-year-old classes was intrigued by monsters so they went to Nick Cave’s Soundsuit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to talk about Frankenstein. See more about this lesson here.
4. Bats. Sensory activities are always a favorite of our students, and we bet they will love these two play opportunities. The Bat Slime from Little Bins for Little Hands and the Bat Sensory Bin from Modern Preschool are both easy to create and look like a ton of fun, while also providing sensory input and fine motor skill practice.
Our classes have used the excitement of Halloween to learn more about bats by going to the Mammal Hall and Bone Hall at the National Museum of Natural History to see a bat inside and out. Teachers of this class also brought along a bat stuffed animal for the children to hold and make connections to.
5. Books. The Girls at Eighteen25 created a list of 15 Awesome Halloween Books for Kids. We have many of these books on our shelves and can confirm that our kids love them. We often get requests to read them over and over again – even after Halloween has passed!
For more Halloween ideas, visit our Pinterest board here. Happy Halloween everyone!