We are really excited for Halloween this year! Kingston completely understands the concept of trick or treating and can't wait to go. We have already been to several "trick or treating" events, and he asks to go again every day! This week we revisited our Mystery Sensory Bags. (We have done the junk drawer, the kitchen, daddy's workshop and a beach trip sensory bag in the past!) These bags are made using items from around your house. It is a form of heuristic discovery play where your little one can observe and explore every day objects that they may not typically get to play with! The sensory portion of the activity comes from exploring the different items: textures, sounds, smells, etc.
For our Halloween bag, I used Kingston's trick or treat bag! I collected objects around the house that were part of different holiday decor, activities, and even cooking items.
Kingston was excited to pull out a small pumpkin first. We had picked this pumpkin during our trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch, so it offered a great invitation to discuss our trip. We talked about all the things we did and what we saw!
I included a large furry black spider and web from our Spooky Spider Sensory Bin. K was hesitant to touch it when he took it out and adamantly shook his head saying "I don't yike it!" The mystery of these bags can seem like a burden to a child who is cautious to exploring new sensory materials, but we like to use it as a learning tool. We talked about the spider and how the spider was nice. I described the texture of the spider and web to K and reminded him of how we had previously played with it. After a few minutes, he was happy to touch and explore it. He told me "the spider is nice Mama!"
The same thing happened when he took out this skeleton garland that I picked up at the Dollar Tree. He was nervous about it and announced "I don't yike it!" again. In order to help him process what it was, we chatted about skeletons, bones, and body parts. He was intrigued by that and quickly wanted to point out the different parts on the skeletons body. Mystery sensory bags are excellent ways to open up discussions about all kinds of objects and experiences.
The rest of the items were small bits that I had found around the house: a plastic bat, a pumpkin cookie cutter, a cauldron, a skull eraser, a bone eraser, and a squishy rat. We discussed each one, and I watched as Kingston put the different concepts together.
He held up the skull eraser and pointed at the skull on the skeleton. He told me "it's the same! A skull!" He did the same with the bones and then told me all about how he played with the bones and dog food before. Seriously, we did our Dog Food Sensory Bin activity over 8 months ago! Just goes to show you that your little ones really DO take in and appreciate all of the activities you do with them.
He was intrigued by the squishy rat and kept telling me he was nice. He engaged in pretend play with the bat and the rat. We talked about how those words rhymed.
He also talked about baking cookies with the pumpkin cookie cutter.
This activity was incredibly rich in story telling, vocabulary practice, and discussion skills. He had a blast exploring all of the different objects and talking about each one! We can't wait to do more mystery sensory bags, as they seem to be just getting better as he gets older. I love that he now puts his own toddler spin on them and leads the exploration and discovery.