I really love making up sensory tubs for the little ones to play with. Yes, they can be messy even though I lay out an old table cloth underneath, but to be honest the living room usually needs a hoover anyway so it's not that much extra work to clear up afterwards! I wrote a post all about sensory tubs on my other blog which you can read here - All about Sensory Tubs for Toddlers - with loads of ideas for different themed sensory play.
For Halloween I decided to make the children a Halloween themed sensory tub, mainly using bits and pieces that I already had around the house.
This Halloween sensory tub has the same base material that I use for all my tubs - coloured rice. It's really easy to colour rice, you just need a big bag of plain white rice (I use the supermarket value brand) and some food colouring. In a big bowl, mix up the rice with the food colouring. If you add a squirt of anti-bacterial hand gel it will dry quicker, otherwise you can just spread it out on a tray and leave it to dry for a few hours or overnight.
I also used a big handful of pumpkin seeds which I saved from our pumpkin last year. I just scooped them out, cleaned them up, and left them out to dry. They have lasted fine from last year, I just need to watch that they don't end up in any little mouths!
I added some suitable coloured pom poms, and a selection of Halloween themed plastic toys, including glow in the dark bats that I picked up in the post-Halloween sales last year. I also found some Halloween foam cut outs and sequins which were left over from Halloween craft kits.
When I gave the tub to the children to play with I also laid out a selection of spoons, little pots and bowls. I love seeing what they do with the materials. Mia tends to spoon the rice about for a bit before getting bored and throwing the rice about. Harry will play for ages. He made Halloween soup in the bowls, and then moved on to small world play with the plastic pieces, in particular the witch keyring and the bats.
Another sensory idea for little ones at Halloween is a Halloween ice block excavation activity. I've also written about a couple of crafts which are brilliant for toddlers at Halloween - some really simple Halloween window decorations and a make a monster kit busy bag activity. If you are planning a Halloween party for young children you might like my post with ideas for a Halloween party for little ones.
Here are some of the other sensory tubs that I've made:
Fireworks sensory tub
Beach/underwater sensory tub
Spring Sensory tub