I’m not a big fan of Halloween if I’m honest as it can be very frightening for little ones and I think they have enough scary things in the world already. However, Halloween is SO much more of a thing now. When I was little, there may have been a school disco but nothing I noticed in the shops. To be honest, I know I would’ve been terrified! J is now going through a ‘scared of the dark’ faze and this isn’t helped by every shop/supermarket we go into having a dedicated aisle to all things scary! We avoid the aisle but his little eyes miss nothing! So, given that he will be subjected to Halloween whether I like it or not, I thought I would make some fun games with him that aren’t scary but more yucky to take the fear out of what he’s seeing around him. I’d rather he see it as funny and silly than me trying to hide it from him.
If you’re more along the wave length of ‘Nothing Halloween’ then just substitute the spiders for something nicer or keep them and relate it to mini-beasts instead! For those who think I’m crazy and love Halloween, then this is a great activity for you and your little ones without terrifying them out of their skin!
I have FALLEN IN LOVE with this stuff today!! I wasn’t sure about it but I’m now a convert! It is called ‘Gelli Baff’ and I got it from the 99p store for 99p! I only used the tiniest amount (literally a pinch) and got so much goop for J to play with. The magical part is the second packet! Once you’ve finished playing, you sprinkle a tiny amount of the second packet on the goop and it changes back into water to be poured down the sink!!! AMAZING! Best thing is, it is totally harmless and basically just soap! Obviously, it is not suitable for ingestion to adult supervision is required but I absolutely love it. For 99p, this will last for AGES! To find out about ingredients in it look at www.gellibaff.com (I’m not getting paid to recommend this, I just LOVE it!! )
So, to make the game, I put some plastic spiders in a lunchbox and then followed the packet instructions to make the Gelli Baff Goop. If you don’t have this, normal jelly will work the same with a bit of food colouring as in Jelly Ocean. It will just take longer.
It had the desired effect when J saw it, he just said ‘urrrghh’ and giggled. He picked up the wooden tongs and began jabbing at the goop.
It didn’t take long for J to begin removing the spiders and we talked about how we were ‘rescuing’ them from the ‘dangerous’ goop! Developing vocab through play is the most powerful way to introduce different words to our children.
As well as the language development, J also had a fantastic fine motor workout using both the wooden tongs and the plastic child tweezers to remove the spiders.
It wouldn’t be a proper sensory, gloopy experience without getting dirty hands. J was hesitant at first but eventually got his hands stuck in!
As you can tell by the smile on his face, he loved it!
After lots of natural development, J began counting how many spiders he had rescued. One to one counting, not just chanting numbers. It is important for young children, when learning to count, to actually touch what they are counting. It helps them with that one-to-one assignment of number and to reach a total number of objects.
As the number of spiders he rescued grew, J began laying them on the table in lines so he could count more accurately. I am going to upload a video to facebook (HERE’S THE LINK) of J doing this so that you can see what lots of maths through play has done for J. His ability to organise what he is counting to help himself and be independent in his learning is fab. In the middle of the video, I asked J if he could show me what a number ten looks like. I didn’t know how he was going to do this but was expecting him to find some numbers somewhere! J did his own thing though and it was SO cute!
Finally, in the video J is singing. Singing is such an important part of our child’s development. I’ve mentioned before how music helps to make those connections between both sides of the brain which has a direct link to reading, writing and maths. So sing as you play… we do ALL the time! In the video, you will see J has taken a well known song and changed the words (independently) to match the activity he is doing. This again comes from lots and lots of play experiences. It is SO lovely to see it all pays off! *Proud Mummy*
I may have been sceptical about whether the ‘magical’ second packet would do what it promised, but here it is. A quick sprinkle of packet two and the goop changed back to water!! Easily poured away and tidied up within a couple of minutes. Now that’s the kind of messy, sensory play I love!! Quick, get to the 99p store!!
What did J learn?
- Language development
- FIne motor development
- Counting skills
- Sensory experience