It’s hard to find easy developmental Halloween activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Many Halloween preschool and toddler activities are too complex, messy, and time consuming. The crafts involve scissors or dreaded paper mache. There are too many steps; they ask toddlers for more attention and dexterity than they possess.
Here’s a list of quick, easy, and developmentally appropriate Halloween activities. Most call for materials you probably already have.
I look at most activities through a developmental lens, and Halloween is no exception. These Halloween activities for toddlers and preschoolers are listed according to the developmental area they enhance.
Fine Motor Skills
Activities that increase fine motor skills focus on small muscle groups (especially in the hands). Fine motor skill activities could be using tongs, kneading Play-Doh, and ripping paper.
Increased fine motor skills help toddlers and preschoolers use utensils, get dressed, and play efficiently.
- Scrap Paper Candy Corn from Thriving Home: rip orange, yellow, and white paper into small pieces; arrange pieces into candy corn formation
- Spider Web Plates from Anne Lily Design. Hole punch some paper plates, lace yarn through in crazy patterns to make webs and adorn with foam spiders
- Clothespin Bats from No Time For Flashcards: black construction paper, markers, googly eyes, and glue transforms wooden clothespins into bats
- Create-A-Pumpkin Sticker Set
My autistic preschooler loves sensory activities. These activities give him a safe outlet to explore textures.
He doesn’t always feel like getting messy, so some activities are more hands on than others.
- Pumpkin Sensory Play from Little Bins for Little Hands: this mom uses aaaaallll of the pumpkin for sensory activities
- Jack-o-lantern Squish Bag from Fantastic Fun And Learning: a bit of hair gel and food coloring in a bag will distract toddlers for at least 45 minutes
- Halloween Gak from Mess for Less: with Borax, you can make your own Gak at home
- Halloween Sensory Bin from The OT Toolbox: small Halloween toys and water beads make this sensory bin especially seasonal
- Hide these Halloween squish toys in sensory bags and bins
Gross Motor Skills
Activities that increase gross motor skills focus on bigger muscle groups like the arms, legs, and torso. Increasing gross motor skills help children complete complex movements efficiently.
- Dance party: featuring The Monster Mash
- Zombie tag: instead of running, stagger around like the living dead (or you could be monsters, werewolves, etc.)
- Spider Ring Toss
Holding and controlling a pencil is really hard for little hands. Pre-writing activities strengthen muscles and condition hands, helping kids make art and write stories.
- Ghost Potato Stamps from I Heart Crafty Things: cut up a potato, dip it in some paint, and stamp away (or use this stamp set)
- Trace pumpkins and other Halloween figures: draw pumpkins, bats, and witches hats on paper, invite toddler to trace them
STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM activities teach toddlers and preschoolers these four principles in creative ways.
Exposing preschoolers to STEM activities will increase problem solving and critical thinking skills. STEM activities encourage toddlers and preschoolers to appreciate these subjects later, in a more rigorous academic setting.
- Halloween Candy and Toothpick STEM activity from There’s Just One Mommy: make some cool structures with candy (we like to use mellowcreme pumpkins)
- Pumpkin Memory Matching Game