The temperatures have dropped … some. The leaves are falling, not the beautifully colored kind but we’ll take it. All things pumpkin spice are in stores. And all of that could only mean one thing – fall is here and we are HERE FOR IT! The first holiday in fall is Halloween and although my family and I are not huge Halloween fans, we do dress up and participate. One of the main activities I use to introduce the current holiday to my kids is sensory bins. If you read that and you’re thinking to yourself, “what the heck is a sensory bin?” I’ll fill you in real quick before we dig in!
Sensory play, in my opinion, is one of the best hands-on ways to promote learning through play, exploring, and creating. They provide opportunities for children to stimulate their senses while encouraging them to use their imagination. In sensory bins, they learn things like scooping, pouring, and dumping. Sensory bins are a great opinion to create fun teachable moments with your children.
Now that you know what sensory play is, let’s talk about how to turn it into Halloween fun! I’ll share three of our favorite Halloween inspired sensory bins.
THE FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS BIN
This bin is book inspired. I’m sure all of you have read or have heard of the book “The Five Little Pumpkins.” If you have not, you can find the book here. To correlate with the book, inside of a bin or tub (you can find these anywhere – Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree) I put five pumpkins on a ‘fence’ and created a pumpkin patch with black beans as dirt and pom poms as pumpkins in the rest of the bin.
What I Used: (I found all of these items at Walmart)
- Jack-O-Lantern buckets
- Wooden popsicle sticks
- Orange Pom Poms
- Black beans
- Green pipe cleaners
- Kids friendly tweezers
There are a couple of ways you can instruct your little one to use this bin. The first way would be to ‘pick’ the pumpkins from the patch with kid friendly tweezers and put them inside the buckets. You can also instruct them to scoop the ‘dirt’ (black beans) into the buckets. My kids’ favorite way to use any sensory bin is just to use their imagination and go wild.
GOOGLY EYE SOUP
My favorite thing about this bin is the simplicity of supplies. Most of the time, the lowest prep bins end up being the most fun!
What I Used:
- Food coloring
- Variety of kitchen utensils
- Googly eyes
Mix a couple drops food coloring in the water, dump in the googly eyes, give them the kitchen utensils, and that’s it y’all! Without instruction, my kids started stirring and scooping the eyes. This sensory bin is one of my kid’s favorites because they love to stir, mix, and pour the liquid. Fair Warning: be prepared to eat lots of Googly Eye Soup!
BLACK BAT SENSORY BIN
This sensory bin has gotten the most use in my house. My kids love when there is rice involved in sensory play. For this bin, they can be instructed to count the bats aka bow tie noodles or bury the bats and run their hands through the rice to find them. Another way to play is to throw some cauldrons and let them fill it up with the rice via scoopers for some fine motor strengthening.
What I Used:
- Bow noodles
- Cauldron (found at Walmart)
Creating this bin is a little more hands-on in the adult part because there is food coloring and baking time involved. The way I dye the rice and noodles is put both in separate gallon Ziploc bags. Put 1 cup of rice with 1 tablespoon of vinegar with a few drops of orange food coloring inside the Ziploc and seal the bag. Move the rice around until it is all covered in orange dye. Do the same with the noodles with black dye. Dump the ingredients onto a cookie sheet pan and bake on 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Once it’s done baking, the colors will not bleed onto any other items or on hands. So you don’t have to worry about stained hands while they play.
You can also involve your little one in this process for added fun. My kids love ‘smooshing’ the Ziploc bag to cover the rice in the dye.
Sensory play does not have to take a lot of time to set up nor does it have to cost a lot of money. Most of the things I listed above I already had at home or got cheap at Walmart or Dollar Tree.
What do you think of these Halloween inspired sensory bins?
If you try them, comment and let us know what your kids thought about them.