As the weather chills and the leaves begin to change colors, Halloween is often the first thought on every child’s mind. This fun, spooky holiday offers an exciting and perfect twist to many educational home activities. Although some parts of Halloween may be too creepy for your little one, put the “happy” in Halloween this year with these three challenging and entertaining holiday Montessori games.
Spooky Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are perfect year-round learning tools with an endless supply of themes and entertaining twists depending on your child’s individual interests. Customize your child’s sensory table for October with an unforgettable Halloween theme. Some simple, spooky options include:
- Black, purple, and orange tapioca pearls
- Miniature pumpkins
- Candy corn
- Plastic spiders
- “Black Bats” (orange-dyed rice and black bow tie pasta)
- “Pumpkin guts”
- Autumn leaves
- “Monster Slime”
Invest in one big Halloween theme for your child’s sensory bin or pick several smaller themes to cycle-through during the October weeks. If possible, show your child some options and let them pick the festive themes that catch their eye. A brand new sensory bin theme can also be used as an exciting surprise for the first day of October. Your child will be amazed at the “unveiling” of their holiday bin. Customizing your sensory bin to match the cozy Autumn weather is the perfect way to get your entire family into the spooky spirit for Halloween.
Candy Counting Toss
Candy is good for more than just snacking. Use some of your toddler’s favorite Halloween goodies for counting and number practice. Regardless of your little one’s counting skills, this easy project is perfect for extra practice and repetition. This game is easy to tweak into several version. Practice adding candy or work on specific numbers.
- Trick-or-treating buckets or Halloween-themed buckets
- Semi-small candies (miniature chocolate bars or small packets)
- Dark marker
Write specific numbers on each bucket and show your child how to toss the appropriate number of candies into each pail to match the number (i.e., 5 candies for the “5 bucket,” 10 candies for the “10 bucket,” etc.). As a second version, skip writing the numbers and simply allow your child to practice tossing in as much candy as they can while counting each one. Your child will love practicing “big” numbers as more and more candy makes it into the buckets.
Spider Web Challenge
Give your child a chance to practice their fine motor skills with this tricky Halloween challenge. Although delicate fine motor skills are often challenging for young children, these vital abilities blossom when games and interactive challenges are used as subtle practice time.
- Medium-sized plastic basket (be sure the basket has plenty of holes on the sides)
- White yarn
- Miniature plastic spiders
- “Toddler tweezers” or any kind of grasping toy
Place plenty of toy spiders inside the basket and string the yarn through the basket using the holes to form a tricky meshwork of yarn. The top of the basket should resemble a spider’s web. Present your child with the tweezers and show them how to reach between the “web” to grab the spiders. With practice, your child will learn how to patiently fish the spiders out of the web. For extra learning, help them count how many spiders they captured.
Although Halloween sometimes receives a bad reputation for some of the overly-spooky connotations it carries, this holiday is still perfect for loads of unforgettable fun and learning for your little one. Use the cozy Autumn colors and traditional decorations for new games and learning tools. Whether looking for extra counting practice or simply a brand new sensory table theme, use this exciting holiday for some spooky, family fun this October.