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This post is all about fun Halloween activities for kids that foster development. Some of these Halloween activities will benefit gross motor development, while others focus more on fine motor skills. Lastly, many of these activities include sensory components which is also extremely important for your child’s overall physical and mental development.
What is gross motor development?
Gross motor development is how we learn to move our bodies, to build strength, balance, and coordination. Early gross motor development includes: head control, rolling, reaching, sitting, and crawling. As your child transitions from infancy to toddlerhood, he will begin to master gross motor skills like, standing, walking, running, jumping, throwing, and so much more!
As a physical therapist, gross motor skills are my primary focus and is area of expertise. There are also many things we can do as parents to help our children develop their gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills involve the development of small muscle movement and small scale coordination. Fine motor activities are more focused on precision than gross motor activities are. When you think about fine motor skills, they often involve the hands and fingers. Fine motor skills include: grasping, pinching, twisting, writing, tying, eating, and so much more!
Both gross and fine motor skills are an important part of child development, and the two compliment each other in many ways. Think about reaching for a toy as an example: a child needs to reach and shift his weight to gain access to the toy (gross motor). The child then grasps the toy with his fingers to retrieve it (fine motor).
Another example would be eating: a child needs to maintain sitting balance and shift his weight to reach for food or a water cup (gross motor). Next, the child grasps the water cup or the utensil, and brings the food or water to his mouth (fine motor).
Get more information about fine motor skills and related toys here!
Sensory activities are activities that stimulate the senses - see, smell, hear, taste, touch. Any activities that promotes body awareness are also considered sensory activities. Sensory play is very beneficial for your child’s physical and cognitive development. It also fosters creativity, emotional regulation, and learning. This style of learning can be especially helpful for kinesthetic learners that might struggle to learn through visual or auditory methods.
Get 50 more sensory activity ideas for children, here!
24 FUN AND EASY HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES FOR CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Please be sure to supervise your child during the following activities, as some of the below ideas involve water, choking hazards, etc.
1. Glow stick bath (gross motor, fine motor, sensory)
Bath time! Fill up the bath, turn off the lights and put a bunch of glow sticks in the water for your child to fish out and play with.
2. Green cauldron bath (sensory)
Another great bath time halloween activity for your kiddo! Fill the tub with water, add bubble bath and green food coloring to the desired color for a fun witch’s cauldron bath. I have not had any issues with staining in my tub for the 30-45 minutes my daughter enjoys this activity, but make sure you check out your own tub material before trying this out.
3. Carve Pumpkin (sensory and fine motor)
This is of course a classic Halloween activity! Even if your little one is too young to carve a pumpkin, he can definitely help remove the seeds and play with the pumpkin guts!
4. Paint pumpkins (sensory and fine motor)
Based on the age of your child, have your child paint with hands, sponges or paint brushes for another fun way to decorate holiday pumpkins!
5. Dissect jello brain (sensory and fine motor)
Fill a brain jello mold with jello. Add either edible items or other items for your child to remove from the brain with his hands and/or kitchen utensils. These little plastic bugs and plastic eye balls are perfect for putting in the brain!
6. Free the spiders from the cobweb (sensory and fine motor)
7. Make stone soup (sensory, fine and gross motor)
As a prelude to this activity, it is fun to read the Stone Soup book to your child. Then have your child help collect a stone and other ingredients for the soup and stir it all together.
8. Make a potion (sensory and fine motor)
Put about a tablespoon of baking soda in a tall glass or beaker. Add a few drops of food coloring. Then pour about half of cup of vinegar into the glass of baking soda and watch the potion manifest! If the child is old enough, he can measure and pour the ingredients himself.
9. Make alien eggs
Soak a raw egg in vinegar for 24 hours. Next peel/rinse away the shell. The egg will be bouncy and your child can experiment with bouncing the egg. Also, hold a flashlight up to the egg for a neat translucent effect.
10. Peel corn on the cob (sensory and fine motor)
Do you have a child that loves to help with household chores or with preparing dinner? Give them some cobs of corn to peel! Even my 20 month old can peel cobs of corn pretty well, and really enjoys it!
Put a white sheet over your child’s head like an old fashioned ghost costume, so they can’t see. Then carefully guide them around your home by giving them verbal directions.
13. Eyeballs/raw grapes (sensory and fine motor)
Peel a bunch of grapes and put them in a bowl. Blindfold your child and tease them that they are reaching into a bowl full of eye balls! You can also give your child spoons or tongs to try to capture and transfer the eye balls with or without a blindfold in place.
14. Spaghetti/worms (sensory, fine motor)
Cook a bunch of spaghetti noodles on the stove top, then cool. For one option, you can color the noodles (see recipe here). Alternatively, you can blindfold your child and tease them that they are reaching into a bowl full of worms, or guts!
15. Glow stick dance to spooky music (sensory, gross motor)
Put on spooky Halloween music and dance around a dark room with glow sticks!
16. Dried leaf art (gross motor, fine motor, sensory)
Help your child collect a bunch of colorful fall leaves from your yard or neighborhood. Then take 2 pieces of wax paper and have your child arrange the leaves in between. Iron the wax paper with leaves between, until the wax paper sticks together for beautiful fall art. Display in front of a window where the light comes through to further add to the beauty of your kiddo’s creation!
17. Jump in a leaf pile (gross motor, sensory)
Have your child help rake leaves in your back yard or a local park. Then let your child explore the leaf pile by jumping it, running through it, or tossing the leaves up over head.
18. Puddle jumping (gross motor and sensory)
On a rainy day, get your child all dressed up for the weather and head outside. Challenge your child to jump in all the puddles you come across!
19. Make AND eat pumpkin pie (sensory and fine motor)
Nothing screams the Fall season like a good old pumpkin pie! Check out this easy and delicious pumpkin pie recipe.
20. Flashlight face (sensory and fine motor)
Cut out a mouth, nose and eyes and tape to the light producing end of the flash light. Turn off the lights, turn on the flash light, and shine the spooky face on the wall. If your child is old enough, he can help make the face and put in on the flashlight.
21. Make a witch’s broom (sensory, fine and gross motor)
Have your child help you find a sturdy stick, that is about 2-3 feet long. Then search for lots of small twigs, long pieces of dried grass, and/or pine branches. Tie the smaller branches bundled up to one end of the sturdy stick to make a witch’s broom. Your child can explore using this broom outside and if old enough, can partake in collecting the materials and putting it together.
22. Floating ice hands (sensory and fine motor)
Fill disposable gloves with water, tie and freeze overnight. Remove the gloves from the ice and place in a bowl of water for your child to play with. See if your child can catch a hand!
23. Fort stories (sensory, fine and gross motor)
Help your child build a fort, grab flash lights, and head inside the fort to tell some spooky stories!
24. Evening walk (gross motor and sensory)
Go on an evening walk with your child once it is dark outside. Bring flashlights and listen to all of the night time sounds.
ENJOY TRYING OUT ANY OF THESE HALLOWEEN-INSPIRED ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR KIDS!