As summer draws to a close, families begin planning for the string of autumn and winter holidays that are about to take place. The first to arrive: Halloween. This endearing yet spooky holiday brings painted pumpkins, floating ghosts, and decorations galore. For older children, costumes, candy, and parties are the prime discussion topic. However, what would be good Halloween activities for preschoolers? Unlike their older siblings or neighbors, they may not be as interested in costumes, and their little legs haven’t gained the stamina needed to extended trick-or-treating. So how might a parent or teacher involve these little ones in the fall festivities fast approaching?
A Halloween favorite among school teachers and parents alike are easy crafts for their little ones. There are abundant opportunities for a young child to get creative with the traditional imagery associated with this holiday. With nothing but a little paint and some common household objects, there is no limit to what a child can create.
One such craft is making paper plate jack-o-lanterns. To keep the floor clean from stray paint splatters, lay out a layer or two of old newspapers or an old plastic tablecloth. Once all surfaces are adequately protected, the fun can begin. On one plate, shades of orange, green, brown, and black paints are collected in small amounts. Another blank plate is used as the canvas.
With some minor instructing and supervision, the child can have fun creating their very own unique jack-o-lantern. Another option for this fun craft would be to carefully have them cut out pieces of colored construction paper for the eyes, nose, and mouth. This will help develop fine motor skills while they enjoy themselves.
Another cute craft would be toilet paper roll bats. Much like the jack-o-lanterns, lay out paper and gather the paint colors desired. For a traditional look, black for the main body and wings and green or yellow for the eyes should be used, but there is no limitation on creativity.
A purple bat with orange wings and blue eyes is just as fun! Have them paint the toilet paper roll however they like, adding two big circles for the eyes. While that’s drying, supervise as they cut out two jagged shapes for wings and decorate them. When the wings are dry, they can be glued on to give their little bat the power of flight.
There are many more Halloween crafts for preschoolers, but these are super simple and use items found around the house for quick and easy fun.
Teachers can get in on the crafting fun as well. Sticking with the paint, handprint ghosts are a quick and easy craft for children to take home. All that’s required: black construction paper, white paint, and little hands. Fill a small paper plate with a thin layer of white washable paint and instruct the children to dip their hands in. Once coated, they can make as many ghosts as they’d like and decorate with whatever material is provided. Google eyes are fantastic additions and give a little life to their handprint ghosts.
To add a little education to the fun of the holiday, a themed counting game can be added to the list of Halloween activities for preschoolers. There are several ways this can be done. First, though, items must be gathered for the child to count. Gummy worms, small treats, and candy corn make excellent and tasty candidates.
Plastic spiders, rubber toys, and bouncy balls would provide continued entertainment after the counting game is complete. Simple paper cut-outs of bats, pumpkins, and ghosts would enable them to sort based on shape, color, or type.
Once the items are gathered, a bin for the child to place said items needs to be set up. This can be anything from several cups to a cookie sheet or a Kleenex box. As long as the items fit the container will work. From there, encourage the child to count out how many of each item is present.
For the youngest of preschoolers, simple counting is enough. For slightly older children, have them sort several different types of items into separate bins. Perhaps ghosts can go into a white mug while pumpkins go into a purple one. Candy corn can go into the small bowl while bouncy balls go into the Kleenex box. The possibilities are endless.
Once the child begins getting bored with counting, however, allow them to eat their snack (if edible items are used) or play with the toys. After all, the goal of these Halloween activities is to have fun.
This activity is also perfect for the classroom. Children can bring their own goodies in or the teacher can provide small objects that can be bought in bulk. The plastic spiders come in large packages and could be reused every year. Use a permanent marker to draw little webs onto disposable plastic cups and the children can help the spiders get home by counting.
This next activity gets parents involved. As costumes begin filling shelves in stores, cheap face paint starts to appear as well. This provides a wonderful opportunity for some spooky fun. After looking up simple designs the painting can begin.
Round little cheeks make perfect pumpkins. Black rimmed eyes and a pale face rivals Casper for the friendliest ghost. Itty bitty candy corns and some glitter are the sweetest of treats. The designs aren’t limited to icons either. A crown of jewels with overexaggerated makeup make a fair princess. Scales and a colored stripe over the eyes turn a tumbling youngster into a mutant superhero.
The possibilities are endless, and the painting doesn’t have to be confined to faces. Some little ones might prefer their arm to sport little bats or a witch’s cat. Even a small foot makes a good canvas for ghouls and spooks.
When the preschooler is all painted up it becomes the parent’s turn. While their art might not be as refined, the enjoyment of the activity is just as high. It probably isn’t often that they get to draw all over their parents.
Advise them to be careful around the eyes, nose, and mouth or simply direct them to a cheek or arm and let them loose! To help them learn colors and how they blend, make requests and walk them through how to combine each shade. When they’re done, snap some silly pictures as keepsakes and wash up.
With a bit of permission, this could be a fun little activity to celebrate the holiday with a minimal material in the classroom. To keep things clean, the teacher can be the designated painter. The children can either bring in simple designs to be recreated on the back of their hand or they can choose from designs provided. A few dabs of the brush and they have something cute and small to celebrate this spooky holiday with little to no mess.
Out of all the Halloween activities for preschoolers, pumpkin painting is the most traditional. Each year, brightly decorated faces on lumpy orange pumpkins adorn doorsteps and windowsills. This project is no different. With the same paints that had been used for the previous crafts of paper plate jack-o-lanterns and toilet paper roll bats, a vibrant, smiling face can be brought to life by the hands of a young child.
Before anything, a pumpkin must be chosen. This alone is a Halloween favorite. Spending the day as a family at the pumpkin patch will create memories to last a lifetime. The best part: picking out their very own pumpkin at the end of the trip. Encourage them to find a small, smooth one to make the later painting easier. If they opt for one that’s lopsided or lumpy that’s perfectly fine too!
Flaws can become additional characteristics with the swipe of a paint brush. Once the pumpkin is chosen, it’s time to go home and get to painting.
A face can be traced for the child to color in, or they can be allowed to freehand. The pumpkin can be simple using just paint, or other items can be added to give it character. Pipe cleaners, yarn, and leaves that have fallen can be used as hair. Buttons, fake jewels, google eyes, and stones can create facial features. Clothes can be cut from felt, construction paper, or old rags laying around the house. Faux flowers, acorns, seeds, and other seasonal goodies can be glued on for decoration.
The child should be allowed to let their imagination dictate how this pumpkin looks. Some will have distinguishable faces while others may simply be masses of blended colors. Either can be an opportunity to teach the child about body parts (if they create a face) or how two colors can create a third (if they decide to just paint). If parents want to get involved, they can paint their own pumpkin too! What says “Halloween” more than a family of smiling, colorful pumpkins sitting on the front porch?