Although not widely celebrated here in Australia, Halloween is a great opportunity to get creative and have some fun with your little one – and it’s getting more and more popular every year! At Genius Childcare, we like to encourage our little learners to express their creativity while celebrating key dates and celebrations from around the world safely and creatively.
Halloween provides opportunities for lots of individual expression, creative crafty activities and can be a great way to meet your neighbours safely. With the pandemic and differing restrictions around the country, you may not feel comfortable trick or treating in the usual way!
Thankfully, there are lots of fun and imaginative Halloween themed activities you can replicate at home, promoting education, fun, whilst at the same time enhancing development.
Check out our list below.
1. Spooky Spider Web Painting
The benefits of children painting include sensory enhancement, learning colours, fine motor development while exercising their creativity. Using a large piece of cardboard, painter's tape and paints, you can create a spookily scary spider web. Begin this activity by creating a plus sign on your cardboard. Then an X sign, corner to corner.
Connect each line to the next with a small strip of tape, allowing your spider web shape to come to life. Now the fun part, it's time to get creative in painting each section of your spider's web. This is the exciting bit when your child's fine motor skills get a workout. Selecting paint, painting an area of the spider's web and washing out brushes is an excellent exercise for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Once your spider's web is a dazzling delight of colours, it's time to wait 24 hours. Then you can remove the tape to reveal your Halloween masterpiece, add a spider created using pipe cleaners, and your cool web project is complete. Set it up in a window facing outwards so your neighbours can enjoy your creation!
2. Halloween Play Dough
There are so many inexpensive little items at the shops to create the perfect Halloween playdough set. Pipe cleaners, plastic fangs, wool, beads, sequins and buttons, together create endless options for playdough decorating.
Cardboard or card from home can be used to create scary monster eyes, bones and bats to add to your Halloween play dough creations. You can use coloured play dough you have at home or make it yourself using any food colouring you like. You can add to the excitement of your playdough by adding glitter or a drop or two of your favourite essential oil.
Once all your spooky Halloween play dough accessories are complete, it's time to get inventive. Soon you will see your table is covered in creepy monsters, ready for some imaginative play to begin. The benefits of working with play dough are endless; it enhances hand-eye coordination, encourages creativity and is a calming activity for children of all ages to enjoy.
3. Egg + Milk Carton Jack-o-lantern
Crafting jack-o-lanterns with your little one is a super cool task while providing little window decorations for Halloween. Always nice to extend the life of a container usually destined for the recycling bin too!
For the milk carton jack-o-lanterns – simply take off the label and help your child draw a spooky face on the side! You can put a torch, glow-stick or fairy lights inside at night to make the faces come to life!
For the egg carton jack-o-lanterns, you will need some paints or texters, an egg carton and some child-safe scissors. Children who use scissors enhance their hand-eye coordination, develop each finger's independent movement, strengthen their hand muscles and grow bilateral coordination or two-handed coordination.
You can begin by assisting your child in cutting out each cup from the egg carton. Each cup will form one jack-o-lantern. Now they are all cut out; encourage your little learner to colour them using texters or coloured paints.
If you use paints, allow the cups to dry overnight; if you use texters, you can move on to creating some spooky faces. Using a black texter, you and your child can draw on some creepy faces. Each jack-o-lantern can be unique, allowing them to come to life. If you have pipe cleaners on hand, use one as the stem (even hanging them up if you wish!), and your little lanterns are complete.
4. Feed the Pumpkin
‘Feed the pumpkin’ is easy to set up at home and an excellent activity teaching colours and counting. Our busy little learners love independent activities, and learning through play helps them make sense of the world around them.
To create your pumpkin begin with a jar or small container. Using a piece of card, trace the shape of the top of the container onto the card, create a pumpkin face, with triangles for eyes and a large hungry pumpkin mouth. Cut out your pumpkin face and secure it to the top of your container using tape.
Using coloured items you have on hand, such as Lego pieces, craft pom poms or counters, your child is now ready to feed their pumpkin. You can begin with saying ‘your pumpkin would like some yellow food', identifying yellow with your child, all yellow items are fed to the pumpkin, next ‘your pumpkin wants orange food…’ and so on. Your child will begin to identify the various colours as the activity continues.
This activity can switch easily to a counting activity with the roll of the dice. Roll a three, and the pumpkin would like three mouthfuls of food, roll a one for one piece and so on. Enjoy being creative with this activity and using it all year round; this game could transform into 'feed Santa’ or 'feed the Easter Bunny' the list goes on.
Creating some spooky Halloween crafts can enhance many developmental skills for children in a fun and imaginative way. Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, to name just a few. Why not give one of these super simple activities a go today and enjoy some creative play.