Activities for toddlers and babies
The activities suggested in this theme are perfect for celebrating Halloween with very young children.
Tiny pumpkins and squash
Purchase several unvarnished decorative pumpkins and squash. Select pumpkins and squash that will make it possible for little ones to discover a variety of textures and colors. Deposit them in a basket and set it on the floor, in the centre of your play area. Let babies and toddlers manipulate the contents of the basket.
Purchase black and orange party streamers. Cut different lengths and hang the streamers vertically from the ceiling.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Makeup and diaper changes
Purchase a shatter-resistant mirror and leave it next to your changing table. Before changing a child's diaper, use a makeup pencil to draw a tiny circle on his/her nose. Encourage the child to look at his/her reflection in the mirror. Variation: If you do not wish to use a mirror, you may choose to draw a tiny pumpkin on the child's hand.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Fill a tiny bin with a variety of homemade Halloween-themed sensory bottles. You will need several empty plastic bottles. Fill a few bottles with orange, yellow, and black paper. Add water and orange glitter to a few other bottles. Children will love to manipulate the bottles and admire their contents.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Purchase a Halloween lantern or a special Halloween candle. Making sure it is out of children's reach, light the lantern (or the candle) during lunch time. Dim the lights somewhat so children can really appreciate its beauty. If you wish, use battery-operated pumpkin lanterns or candles for this activity.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Orange, yellow, and black paper
Fill a large container with different types of paper in Halloween colors (orange, yellow, black): cardboard, embossed paper, tissue paper, shiny paper, construction paper, etc. Let babies and toddlers manipulate, tear, and crumple the paper. Provide plastic containers or small boxes. Children will enjoy filling and emptying them with pieces of paper.
My own hat
When we think of Halloween, costumes immediately come to mind. Make Halloween hats with your group. They can be worn for trick-or-treating (see physical activities). Simply cut strips of yellow, orange, and black paper. Invite children to decorate the strips of paper by drawing on them with markers. You may also choose to provide stickers they will enjoy adding here and there. Glue (or staple) party streamers to each strip of paper before forming a headband to fit each child's head.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
This is a great group activity. Collect several hats. To complete your hat collection, you may ask parents to share old hats they have at home with you or purchase inexpensive hats at the dollar store. In front of a mirror, have fun trying on the different hats.
This is an interesting experiment for babies and toddlers. Deposit a large pumpkin (or several small ones) on the floor. Provide lots of colourful feathers. Let children manipulate them. Show them how they can deposit the feathers on the pumpkin(s) and help them notice how they easily fall off. After a few minutes, spray the pumpkin(s) with water (using a spray bottle). Encourage children to deposit the feathers on the pumpkin(s) once again. Children will be amazed to see how the feathers now stick to the pumpkin(s).
Hunt and seek (object permanence)
Fill a large container with dry cereal, feathers, or tiny balls. With older toddlers, you may choose to hide candy pieces in the container. Invite children to find the candy pieces and deposit them in a small plastic pumpkin so they can eat them at the end of the activity (supervision required). Variation: You can use Halloween illustrations if you do not wish to use candy. Laminate the illustrations for durable, eco-friendly use.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
For this activity, you will need the participation of a neighbour or the director of your child care centre. Bake and wrap Halloween cookies or fill small bags with candy pieces for older children. Give them to your accomplice ahead of time. Invite the children in your group to wear the Halloween hats they made (see arts & crafts) and paint each child's face. Knock on your accomplice's door and encourage children to say, "trick or treat"!
Early childhood educator
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