Here are my ideas for a Halloween-themed sensory tray for babies, without the mess! I’m not against Teddy getting messy (have you seen him after dinner?!?) and think it’s actually good for babies to get used to, but sometimes you want to avoid the clear up and that’s ok too.
We’re also having some baby friends over for a little Halloween party, and 5-6 messy babies in my newly decorated house didn’t really appeal! If you don’t mind the mess, and you’re sitting with your baby to make sure nothing inappropriate goes into their mouth, many of these items could also be taken out of their bags or bottles to be explored further, and would be enjoyed by toddlers and older children too.
These are a great way for babies to explore small items that would otherwise be a choking hazard or end up being eaten. They also allow them to explore different textures and manipulate the materials without getting messy.
1. Pumpkin seeds and flesh – a range of textures in one bag and really satisfying to prod and poke
2. Paint – mess free painting! Lovely to see how the colours change as they are mixed.
3. . Red lentils and spiders – great for a Halloween theme. Little fingers can chase the spiders around the bag.
Teddy loves to play with bottles, even when there is nothing inside them, so I think he’ll be pretty impressed with these! (I will add tape to all of the lids before letting any babies play with them!)
1. Tin foil pieces – these make a lovely noise as well as being wonderfully shiny and reflecting the light.
2. Fake blood – babies are too young to know what this is or be frightened by it, and when added to water it creates a sort of lava lamp effect.
3. Coloured rice – dyed with food colouring in Halloween colours and left to get. A really satisfying shaker and interesting to watch the colours merge.
4. Washing up liquid – the more the babies shake the bottle, the more bubbles they create. With glitter too, because why not?
5. Random objects – I chose objects that fitted with the colours of my tray or the Halloween theme. Different items that move in different ways and the bottle will never look the same as the items all move around.
We once went to a baby group where there were lots of different coloured ribbons tied together and Teddy played with it for ages! I’ve recreated it here with some Halloween patterned ribbons.
Lights in a Box
Battery operated fairy lights in a box that is too tricky for little hands to open. Adds some lovely light to the tray and is really interesting for babies to look at.
A Pot of Things
Teddy loves to take things in and out of boxes and baskets so I thought it would be nice to include some items that babies could play with without them being locked away in a bottle, bag or box. I’ve included a mini squash, some fabric, a nail brush, a pot and a peg.
I’ve added ‘That’s Not My Witch’ to the tray as it’s a great choice with lots of opportunities for babies to use their sense of touch. Any themed board book would work and be suitable for babies to explore themselves, as well as you reading it to them.
I would love to know if you try any of these Halloween activities with your child.