Welcome friends! Today is the second installment of a three-part series I am taking part in with some of my bloggy buds, Halloween Invitations to Play. For the first three Tuesdays in October we are each sharing a Halloween-themed play prompt and linking to each other, so it will be easy for you to jump from blog to blog and view all the Spooktacular fun. My partners in this series include Shaunna from Fantastic Fun and Learning, Chelsey from Buggy and Buddy, Jessica from Play Trains!, Mary Catherine from Fun-A-Day, and Rachael from Nothing if Not Intentional. If you would like more information on invitations to play, this post will get you up to speed.
Today’s Invitation: Spooky Mirrored Sand Play
Today’s invitation is an open-ended exploration of sand on a mirror with Halloween-themed loose parts. To create it, I covered two round mirrors (one for each child) with a layer of black decor sand. Between the mirrors I placed a wooden bowl containing brushes, sticks, and craft sticks for mark making.
I had three little pumpkin baskets left over from my days of working in the schools, so I filled those with loose parts in the form of Halloween table scatter (pumpkins from Target Dollar Spot, ghosts and spiders from JoAnn Fabric and Craft) and also added some orange, white, and black floral gems. All of this I arranged on the floor on top of a quilt that we often use for dry sensory play- it gives a nice neutral background for the activity and helps to contain the mess a bit while allowing the twins room to spread out while they are exploring their invitations.
Ways Children Might Use the Materials
It was so much fun to watch the twins explore this invitation. At first they were perfectly content to play with the sand and mirrors, making marks with their fingers and eventually the items in the basket and examining the mirrored surface that was revealed when they did so. It was quite awhile before they even noticed the loose parts.
Once they turned their attention to the Halloween scatter, they began adding them to their creations.
Will really enjoyed making marks with the different items and comparing them. But naturally, he was especially intrigued by the spiders and quickly arranged most of them on his mirror.
What I found really interesting about this arrangement was that he kept calling my attention to the spiders, insisting that they were “dancing.” If you look at the sand around the spiders, the small marks made by their legs really do convey a sense of movement!
I saw lots of sorting and grouping by color, making lines, etc. with the loose parts. What I didn’t anticipate was the level of storytelling that this activity would spark- the twins would narrate little dramas with the tiny creatures- the ghosts and spiders became “families” with mommies and daddies and babies, all going to the pumpkin patch to get “food to eat.” They used the pumpkin baskets and the little cups that I gave them that contained their gems as “homes” for all the families- it was really fascinating to watch them!
Depending on how the children interact with the materials, this prompt encourages creativity, fine motor skill development, language development, beginning math concepts (sorting, patterning, etc.), and sensory exploration.
Looking for more Halloween invitations to play? Check out our other posts in this series:
Now, don’t forget to stop by the other participating blogs to check out their wonderful invitations, too!
Playing and Creating with Sand & Glass Gems by Buggy and Buddy
Halloween Weaving by Fantastic Fun and Learning
Halloween Sticky Table Art by Fun-A-Day
Invitation to Paint by Nothing if Not Intentional
Pumpkin Railroad Building by Play Trains!