I’m always looking for fun and festive ways to enforce letter learning with my preschooler. It’s a bonus if the set up is short and the playtime is long. With this Halloween sensory bin, I was thrilled with how easy it was to set up and how many different ways my preschooler played and learned.
Halloween Sensory Bin
- Travel sized shaving cream
- Food dye (we used yellow and red food-based dyes, which washed off easily)
- Spoon or stick for mixing and letter writing
- Fall or Halloween-inspired toys that can go in the shaving cream. We used miniature pumpkins and Halloween plastic bugs, but leaves and sticks work great too!
- A bucket of water
- Bin, square baking dish, or cookie sheet
- Paintbrushes and paper (optional)
Setting Up the Halloween Sensory Bin
I set up our Halloween sensory bin on our back patio. My plan was to hose everything down after my preschooler’s play. You can also set up a towel or blanket in the yard, or put the bin directly in your kitchen sink.
Next, empty a can of shaving cream into your bin or dish. Then, invite your child to help add and mix in the food coloring. This is a great chance to reinforce color mixing. Ask your child which colors will be needed to create orange, then mix the yellow and red dye into the shaving cream.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon, ask your preschooler to draw a letter into the shaving cream. We practiced the letters “S” and “E.” For a younger child, you can draw the letter, and ask your child to trace the indentation you made with their finger.
Another option for letter practice is to use a paintbrush or your child’s fingers to draw letters on a piece of paper using the dyed shaving cream as paint.
After letter practice, invite your child to play with the shaving cream and anything you set out on the table. Then, step back and let them explore the materials, creating ways to play with them. My son started with painting the pumpkins in the shaving cream, then dumping the pumpkins in a bucket of water (hello water displacement). He also played pretend with the plastic bugs, creating a verbal narrative of their foamy Halloween adventure and exploring different voices for each character.
After free play, I found it was easiest to clean my preschooler off, then bring his toys to the kitchen sink for him to clean while I hosed off the deck. Having him clean up his toys helped enforce personal responsibility, and helped extend this Halloween sensory bin into water play.
I hope that you get a chance to relax as you watch your child learn and explore with this easy and fun Halloween sensory bin.
Be it spooky, safe, or silly, have a happy Halloween!
Based in Maryland, Amy is a nature-enthusiast who loves hiking, reading, and creating. With a MFA in painting and university teaching experience, she loves combining visual art and nature to create crafty and play-based learning experiences for her preschool-aged son. Extra crafts and fine art can be found on Facebook and Instagram @amyfixart or at www.amyfixart.com.
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