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My girls are already SO excited for Halloween, and they’ve really gotten me in the spirit, too. Halloween is a fun holiday to use as a shelf theme because it’s so different from the rest of the year. I found some adorable Halloween materials from Oriental Trading, and I had so much fun playing around with them to see what works I can put out for October. Most of these materials can be used for several different activities, so you can switch up your trays if one has already been mastered. My girls are just 3 and 1, so I wanted to make sure our Halloween shelves are festive but not too scary — so I stuck mainly to Jack-o-Lanterns and spiders, and of course a ton of ORANGE!
Here are 23 Montessori-inspired activities for Halloween, arranged by section:
Typical Practical Life Transfer Works
Jack-o-lanterns might be my favorite thing about Halloween — making them and decorating with them! They’re not too scary as far as Halloween decorations go, so I was thrilled to find so many different ways to use them in our Halloween trays. I am loving these Mini Pumpkin Candy Buckets along with the adorable Jack-o-Lantern Jingle Bells — this is a great way to promote one-to-one correspondence while getting fine motor skills involved! I put out 12 jingle bells and 12 buckets, and the aim of the work is to drop one bell into each bucket — the bells add a wonderful sensory element.
My girls also LOVE any kind of posting work, so I knew that these Jack-o-Lantern coins would be a hit! I cut a slot in the top of an old kimchi jar and put a bunch of coins in a Jack-o-Lantern tray to continue with our pumpkin theme. This is a fun and relaxing work that helps build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills such as the pincer grip
Acrylic gems always make a good filler for transfer works — although I don’t actually know what normal people use them for! I had to pick up a pack of these Diamond-Shaped Orange Gems for some spooning work with a toddler-sized pasta spoon.
Beads are another great transfer work filler, so if you’re feeling too much orange, use these assorted Pumpkin Beads in your spooning work instead.
Those Jack-o-Lantern Jingle Bells were way too cute to use only once, so I added them to the smallest containers in the Halloween Candy Buffet Buckets pack and addled a ladle for a more advanced spooning work.
I stepped away from Jack-o-Lanterns just a bit because I couldn’t resist these colorful Eyeball Erasers. I put some in a small bowl with some tongs for a tonging transfer into an ice cube tray.
If your child is more advanced with the tongs, try using them with those same Diamond-Shaped Orange Gems from our spooning work — the irregular shape of the gems makes it more of a challenge.
These adorable Candy Corn Lampwork Beads are my absolute favorite Halloween find! These are quite small and much more difficult to pick up with the tongs.
Dry pouring is a favorite at our house, so I always have it on the shelf — but I like to switch up what’s in the pitchers to keep up the interest. The Pumpkin Beads we used earlier for spooning work beautifully as a pouring work to refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
For older children who have tired of the original dry pouring work, raise the difficulty level by using those Mini Pumpkin Candy Buckets filled with the cute Candy Corn Lampwork Beads! I put it all on a Bat Serving Tray because it just wasn’t quite Halloween-y enough…
Manipulative/Fine Motor Practical Life Works
It’s always great to get the whole body moving even when the focus is on fine-motor skills. My girls are going to love this Mini Pumpkin Candy Bucket hanging work! I put all of the buckets into the largest container of our Halloween Candy Buffet Buckets, and the aim is to take one mini bucket, stand, hang it on one of the hooks, and repeat until they are all hanging.
I’m kind of obsessed with those Jack-o-Lantern Jingle Bells! They have a loop on the top, so I knew I had to make this a stringing work since my girls are really into bead stringing right now. I added an orange pipe cleaner to a tray full of bells so they can make jingle-y Jack-o-Lantern bracelets!
Whenever I see toothpicks, especially holiday ones, I immediately think of in-and-out works. I love these sweet Halloween Picks, so I put some with an upside-down colander so we can put them into each of the tiny holes. This requires concentration and refines hand-eye coordination while working on fine motor skills.
Pencil toppers are another fun way to freshen up a work according to a theme, so I had to get these Puffy Halloween Pencil Toppers! I put some in a small bowl along with some unsharpened pencils. Putting them onto and taking them off the pencils requires great fine motor control and hand-eye coordination.
I think these foam Spider Accents are supposed to be used for decoration, but I knew they would make a fun puzzle for the girls to put together over and over again. The “spiders” only have 8 legs, but my girls are too young to be disappointed by that.
I can tell you already that this is going to be L’s favorite work of the season! My girls love using “forbidden” objects — like things that are super sharp — and I let them because I know they will use them appropriately. We’ve already had a lot of practice with the nails on our geoboard, jumbo pushpins, and sewing with a needle, so these Spider Pumpkin Push-Ins were the perfect addition to our Halloween shelves. I put them in a small bowl beside a Foam Orange Pumpkin, and I will place the whole activity on our floor table as a stationary work — since there are so many sharp objects, I want to minimize the chances for accidents by making sure the girls don’t have to try to carry this to and from a table. The spiders leave pretty small holes in the pumpkin, so this work can be done over and over again before I’ll have to get a new pumpkin. Next year, when the girls are even stronger, I’ll probably pair these spiders with a real pumpkin for extra resistance.
Although these Halloween Candy Buffet Buckets were definitely intended to be used as serving containers, of course that wasn’t my first inclination. They make the perfect size ordering work for a young toddler! Put out all three sizes of the buckets and then put them in order from largest to smallest.
Once your child is able to order the buckets by size, she is ready to use them as nesting cups or for stacking to make a tower!
Those Eyeball Erasers that we used earlier for a tong transfer work also are a great material for color sorting since the iris of the eyes comes in four different colors! I provided a control of error by putting a circle of construction paper in each of four different bowls to show where each color eye should go.
Those same Eyeball Erasers also work well for recognizing and completing patterns! I made this free printable pattern template just for the colors in the erasers from this set. You can keep yours whole like I did or cut out each template individually.
Several of the Halloween transfer work fillers that we’ve used in these activities would work well with my free printable number to quantity cards to help children make the connection between the written number and what quantity that number represents.
Are your children as obsessed with stickers as much as mine are? These cute Jack-o-Lantern Face Stickers are perfect for your Halloween art trays. For younger children, just put some in a small bowl with a piece of paper for free play. I always add a second, empty bowl for the girls to put the backs of the stickers in before throwing them away when they have finished the work.
Older children might enjoy using those same stickers to sort by face! Start by putting each different face at the top, then place the corresponding stickers below the correct faces.
I can tell that I am going to have a hard time choosing which of these great ideas to put on our shelves this Halloween — I will probably pick a few of my absolute favorites to add to our fall shelves at the beginning of October. Which ones do you think your kids will enjoy the most?
You can find these products and other Halloween materials HERE.