I love fall! The way the light filters through the color-changing leaves, the chill in the air, the smell of warm spices, fires in the fireplace, and the festivities that begin and roll right into the holidays! Fall also gives me lots of ideas for activities with my own children and clients!
Here are a few to get you inspired this month…
What better activity then using what nature gives us: pumpkins! This is a go-to activity because it does so much for the child- builds proprioceptive awareness, grip strength, motor planning, using two hands together, and visual tracking! Plus, they get SO excited to use a hammer and bang a golf tee into the pumpkin!
I love a good slime recipe and October is the perfect time to make same ooey gooey slime. Try adding in some fake eyeballs, snakes, and spiders!
Here is what you need:
3-4 heaping cups of shaving cream
1/2 cup school glue
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tablespoon contact solution
The baking soda and contact solution are what give it the slime texture so allow these two ingredients to interact by adding one then the other and mix together! Drop in your food coloring and stir! You will have some wonderful fluffy slime! It really doesn’t make a mess but be sure to play with it away from carpet. Store in an airtight container!
Pumpkin ring toss is so easy to set up and great for building hand-eye coordination! You just need a pumpkin or two with a stem and some glow-in-the-dark rings! Such a fun way to incorporate math too- you can have the kids tally their score!
If you want to try out a sensory bin, black beans and orange lentils are the perfect material! You could even follow it up with a meal using either black beans or lentils and involve your child in the cooking process! For the sensory bin, I love adding spider rings and vampire fangs to use as tongs all while strengthening the hands! You can add in mini cauldrons for scooping and pouring, witches fingers, eyeballs, and Halloween erasers! The kids can sort, count, compare, add and take away… it is a great activity to use with math in mind! It also helps build language and even pretend play.
My favorite fall play dough uses pumpkin pie spice for a beautiful warm scent! Play dough is a great way to build hand strength. I encourage kids to cut play dough, roll shapes and letters, write in play dough for increased kinesthetic feedback, push and squeeze play dough for a calming sensory experience.
To make the play dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups of water
a few drops of food coloring (I add into the water first)
essential oil if you’d like!
Mix in a pot over medium heat until it comes together in a ball.
Transfer to a cutting board and knead. Play!
I love this idea from The Nurture Store website out of the UK. You can use a permanent marker and write on it as an interactive game. Sit in a circle and roll the pumpkin to another person and they can write a math fact, sight word, use it as a way to practice social skills about what to do when you go Trick-or-Treating. So many ways that you can make this activity work for you and make learning fun!
We also love Halloween books to go with these activities! Here are a few we are currently loving:
Even with the fun of Halloween, it can be a hard day or even month for many children. The decorations can be scary, the costumes are very disconcerting when you cannot recognize someone’s face, and let’s not forget the sugar highs and lows… Helping your child process the holiday can be challenging. Here is a great website for social stories that can help children with anxiety or autism as they get through the month. Social stories are simple books that can help children prepare for an unknown or unexpected event. I use them in practice and even with my own children to help them process different situations. The Berenstain Bears books are great ways to help children with upcoming events as well!
As with any book, be sure to preview it before reading it to your child, especially if they are experiencing very high anxiety or fear.
So tell me, what are your favorite Halloween activities and books?!