There are lots of scarily good ways to flex your child’s fine motor skills this Halloween.
Buttoning up a wizard’s cloak or filling a spooky fruit cup will get hand and finger muscles moving, and there’s fun to be had with creepy craft projects, too.
Pinching purple play dough, cutting black paper and winding web-like wool will all work a treat to develop your under-five’s skills, and here are 6 not-too-tricky projects to try:
Pumpkins aren’t the only vegetable that can be carved this Halloween! Potatoes are also ripe for the carving, and potato stamps are a great way for your child to practise gripping, dipping and pressing.
To make a cute ghost-shaped stamp, all you need to do is cut a potato in half and slice out a zig-zag across the bottom for its tail. Next, pour some white paint onto a paper plate, pass your child the stamp and a sheet of black paper, and show them how to dip and stamp, dip and stamp. Finish your ghosts with three small dots of black paint for the eyes and mouth; and because variety is the spice of life, think about adding some Jack ’o’ Lantern stamps as well, plunged in orange paint.
Tearing off little pieces of tissue paper and scrunching them into balls is great for the development of your preschooler’s pincer grasp, dexterity, and finger strength; and a pumpkin collage will keep the whole family busy this Halloween.
Start by drawing a simple outline of a Jack ’o’ Lantern on a large piece of paper, then work together, tearing orange and green tissue paper into pieces, crumpling them up, and gluing the balls inside the outline.
To make things easier for your child, you can do the tearing and gluing for them, so they can focus on crumpling and placing the pieces. And to make things trickier, see if they can crumple the paper with one hand only, and do the tearing and sticking, too.
To make a cute little mummy, all you need to do is cut out a mummy shape in thick-ish cardboard, paint it black, stick on some googly eyes, add some slits along the edge of the cardboard (for grip), then wind white wool around and around.
Your child can get hands-on with the cutting, painting and winding, and there’s the option of making one mummy or a whole chain of them for the front window.
To hatch a swarm of play dough spiders, start by conjuring up two batches of play dough (one black and one purple), plus a tray full of googly eyes, stripy legs (pipe cleaners and paper straws) and some glitter.
Then it’s time to assemble some arachnids! Show your child how to roll a larger play dough ball for each spider’s body, a smaller one for its head, and press on the eyes and legs. A sprinkle of glitter will keep their finger muscles moving, and your under five can make any number of creepy crawlies, malleable monsters and warty witches this Halloween.
There’s something magical about an owl that flies across a paper plate and to make this happen, all you’ve got to do is paint a plate black, splatter it with white ‘stars,’ then make a simple paper owl puppet, stuck to a paddle pop stick.
You’ll need to help your child cut a slit in the plate for the owl to fly through, but there’s lots of painting, snipping and gluing they can try themselves. And because puppet play hones fine motor skills, this project is a hoot during craft time and playtime.
To create a spooky sculpture and practise your child’s hand-eye coordination, you’ll need a sturdy cardboard box, a ball of wool and a couple of spiders made from pom-poms and pipe cleaners.
Start by poking lots of holes in all four sides of the box with a screw driver (this is definitely a parent job), then cut the top and bottom out of the box so you’re left with a punctured frame that can stand on the floor.
Next, wind some sticky tape around the end of the wool to create a ‘needle’ and show your child how to poke this through a hole on one side and out another, turning the box onto different sides as they go.
Once your child has woven their magic, finish off the sculpture by adding a couple of pom-pom spiders, and once Halloween is over, see if your child can untangle the web. Now that’s tricky!