Storytime has always been a love in our house. Since my daughter was an infant, we have read daily. Countless studies have shown the positive benefits of reading to your little ones. Dolly Parton Imagination Library believes in reading so much they give away thousands of books each month. (Are you signed up? It’s FREE. Read more here.)
Books open up our imagination, teach children how to communicate, express their feelings, and help their brain to grow. Just think; word repetition, picture association, and fun phrases are really teaching your child memory skills, boosting their vocab, and introducing new concepts! Check out this link to read more about the positive benefits of reading to babies.
Our family believes in the power of reading so much (cue “Super Why” theme song…) that if a problem has ever risen, we have read a book about it to help our kiddo process and understand the situation better. For example, when my toddler became a big sister this summer, we started reading books about being an older sibling and new babies. And when she was learning about using the potty, we invested in books like the Princess Potty and The Potty Book for Girls.
Each season, we like to incorporate special books and crafts. Crafts are a fun way to explore what we read and a creative way to work on fine motor skills and STEM (check out this link for more info on crafts and child development).
For Halloween, our favorite books are Little Blue Truck’s Halloween and Boo!
Little Blue Truck’s Halloween is part of the Little Blue Truck series. In this flap book, the characters are dressed in costumes and you guess who they are! At the end, they arrive to a costume party. For this craft, we are going to be making an actual little truck out of popsicle sticks.
What you will need:
- Popsicle sticks
- Blue paint
- Black construction paper or black buttons for the wheels
- A picture or your child or construction paper
- Optional: Pom-pom and pipe cleaner to make the pumpkin
Directions: Glue four popsicle sticks together. Afterwards, cut one popsicle stick into thirds to make the top portion of the truck. We also added half of a popsicle stick for the tailgate. After the sticks have dried, paint your truck! While your truck is drying, cut out two small circles for wheels. Frame and cut the picture of your child to fit the window portion of the truck. If you don’t have a picture, use construction paper. Your child can draw himself/herself or even the toad driving the truck! Glue the two wheels onto the front of the truck. Insert the picture on the back and glue on. Now, you have your very on little blue truck! For an adorable bonus, we are going to make a little pumpkin for the bed of the truck. The little pumpkin is made out of a pom-pom and green pipe cleaner. I literally just cut off a small piece of pipe cleaner and poked it through the pom-pom! Cutest pumpkin EVER.
If your little one is smaller, there are also free coloring pages of little trucks you can print out to color instead. Check out this printable from Step By Step Painting.
As you turn the pages in the Boo! book, you will discover fun Halloween characters like a jack-o-lantern, a spider, a witch, a bat, and a wizard. This gives us tons of options to make a few different crafts. First, we chose to make pumpkins using orange paint and a sliced apple. My little one had a blast making pumpkins and even decided to paint the apple! During this time, we talked about how pumpkins are round, then I proceeded to draw orange circles and she painted them in!
Next, we decided to make a spider, a friendly spider. While my toddler and I made this, we discussed our body and what parts are on our body. Her eyes lit up as we discussed our arms and legs and then attached the spider’s EIGHT legs.
What you will need:
- Toilet paper roll
- Black paint or black construction paper
- Googly eyes
- 4 black pipe cleaners
- Glue or tape
- Yarn to hang the spider
Directions: Paint the toilet paper roll black or cover with the construction paper. While it dries, attach the four black pipe cleaners. Make sure to turn the feet up at the end. Next, place two eyes on the spider. Be sure to hang the spider up for all your visitors to receive a friendly “boo”!
Other kid friendly Halloween ideas?
- Draw a jack-o-lantern face on a Cutie. We like to make several jack-o-lanterns and then sing “5 Little Pumpkins,” which is to the tune of “5 Little Monkeys.” Super Simple Songs has a fun video of the song, along with other educational Halloween songs. If you draw different types of faces on the Cuties (or use mini pumpkins), you can discuss different emotions like happy, surprised, sad, angry, worried, and excited.
- Make a sensory bin using rice and hide candy corn pumpkins in it. Your little one can “pick” the pumpkins out or use a spoon to scoop them out.
- Write out the word “HALLOWEEN” and have your little one put stickers over the letters. This is a great way to work fine motor skills.
- After you carve your pumpkin, bake the pumpkin seeds! Your little ones will have a grossly good time picking them out of the pumpkin guts. Afterwards, wash them off. Your little one can add seasonings to the seeds, stir it up, and help pour them on a pan. Bake them for a tasty and healthy treat.
- Bake, cut out, and decorate cookies (non-food alternative: play-dough). Baking is a great learning tool. Not only is your child scooping, pouring, and stirring, but they are also practicing how to follow directions and using their math skills! If you don’t have cookie cutters, use a jar lid or just let them roll the dough with their hands to create shapes. If you do this after Halloween, you can always throw in some chopped up Halloween candy or decorate with it.
- Check out Halloween books at your local library (Chattanooga library has three locations: downtown, Hixson, and Brainerd, Signal Mountain library, and the Soddy-Daisy library). Talk to your librarian about other ways to incorporate crafts and reading. If you don’t have a library card, take a trip to your local library and just read the books there.
- Paint or decorate a pumpkin.
- Prefer something easy and mess-free? Check out your local craft store for cheap pre-made seasonal kid crafts.