As a parent, I want to raise my kids to love and respect people, animals, and the Earth. I strongly believe that this love and respect requires kids who take responsibility for the environment and develop Eco-mindedness. Therefore, I like to incorporate eco-mindedness into all kinds of daily activities and Holiday traditions. With Halloween quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about how I will encourage eco-centered thought. My reflection and preparation has resulted in these seven Halloween activities. Now, I’m looking forward to using this list of eco-minded Halloween activities with my own children this year and hope you will join me, too!
Playing with Pumpkin Guts
Playing with the pumpkin guts is lots of fun for your littles from a pretty young age and makes a really great sensory activity! This example is actually a number of Eco-minded Halloween activities for kids all wrapped up in one; there are so many possibilities.
Your little can use their sense of sight to make observations about the pumpkin, noting it’s color and the way the seeds are lined up within the fibrous strands of pumpkin guts.
Ask your little to smell the pumpkin. Do they like it?
Your child can enjoy exploring and describing the feeling of the insides.
Add some fine motor skill development and ask your little to sort the seeds from the fibrous strands. Or prep golf tees in the skin of the pumpkin and allow your little to use a fake hammer to tap them in.
Sneak in some math with the seeds– counting, simple addition and subtract, comparing to identify more or less.
Since your child has been playing around with a large fruit and it’s seeds, it’s a great time to talk about what seeds need in order to grow into a plant. Perhaps you may even wish to plant some of your seeds and have your little help you in the garden.
It’s also a great chance to talk about how both humans and animals get what they need from the fruit of plants. It’s important for your little to understand how we are connected to nature and rely on what nature produces for us.
We can also talk about resource responsibility by discussing how you can use all the parts of the pumpkin. Perhaps let your little decide which way you will purpose the pumpkin parts this year, which helps them become a truly active participant in the conversation with ownership and agency.
Book Recommendation: From Seed to Pumpkin
To accompany your Pumpkin Guts play, you can read the story, From Seed to Pumpkin or you can watch a read aloud on YouTube.
If you want to build on the book through activities, this book makes a great one for sequencing! You can sequence the seasons for a simple version for young kids. Or you can do a more detailed sequencing that reflects the growth of the pumpkin. Use pictures to represent different points in the story and let children put them in order and use them to retell the story.
This story provides another opportunity to discuss how the Earth provides us with pumpkins and all its many uses.
Stellaluna: Language Arts & Bats in the EcoSystem
It’s Halloween! And if your kids are like my kids, they totally know that bats are a part of Halloween. But this cute story isn’t technically a Halloween tale. Instead, it’s about a baby fruit bat that loses its mother and is adopted by a bird and raised alongside her baby birds. The story opens the door to talk about animals, comparing their traits and talking about our role in protecting them. You can also teach them some facts about bats and their importance in the environment.
Monster Sensory Bottles
My kids love crafts! And they love sensory bottles. They use them regularly in their calm down area.
They would definitely enjoy a sensory bottle with a character like a Halloween Monster. And if it’s one they can make themselves– even better!
You could absolutely get a fancy bottle or jar for your sensory bottle, but making one from an upcycled bottle or jar gives you a great opportunity to talk about repurposing materials. Just take your upcycled item and fill it with material that are interesting to look at. Then, add googly eyes, foam shape stickers, pipe cleaners or any other decoration that your littles can use to make their bottles look like monsters.
Note: Please recognize that traditional glitter (which is commonly used in sensory bottles) made of tiny pieces of plastic that result in harmful microplastics. They do make an eco-friendly glitter option, but it tends to be a little costly. You can also use non-glitter options like… suspending buttons, pearl beads, small pom poms, or legos in a mixture of water and gel school glue. Or make a simple 1-ingredient option from this list from Play To Learn Preschool with items you have around the house!
When it comes time for your little one to decide what they want kind of costume they would like for Halloween, you have lots of opportunity to do make this an eco-conscious activity. Firstly, you can steer your little human toward an eco-friendly option. Secondly, you have the chance to engage them in conversation around WHY you want to seek a more Earth-friendly costume.
If they are old enough, ask them if they’d like to help you make a DIY costume. If they’re younger, you could take them to a thrift store and let them pick out a second hand costume. For more ideas around eco-friendly costumes, see our adult-centered Halloween post!
Silly Putty Treats
There is a lot of waste involved in handing out candy and little bags of chips for Halloween. But you can recruit your little to help you offer an alternative this year!
Kids love the chance to help. They also enjoy getting a little messy, right? So have them help you make some 2-ingredient silly putty like this one from Happy Toddler Playtime with you. They can play with a sample– to make sure it’s fun. It’s good to have product testers! Then, use some upcycled containers (like face cream tubs, Eos Lip Balm tubs, dressing containers from take-out, etc.) to package your silly putty for your trick or treaters!
As an added bonus to being one of our fun eco-minded Halloween activities for kids, this activity has the potential to teach your small child about performing acts of kindness and generosity.
Giving Jack-O-Lantern a Farewell
When it’s time to get rid of the jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins, you have the chance to talk about how you dispose of the pumpkin properly. If you have multiple options in your area, engage your child in selecting which option to use this year.
To see some considerations for how to dispose of your jack-o-lantern without adding to the waste problem, visit our adult-oriented Halloween post!
I would venture to bet that you’re already doing some of these activities with your kids because they’re not particularly unique or complicated. However, we are now encouraging you to take these activities and add a level of eco-conscious thought to turn them into eco-minded Halloween activities for kids. I would love to know your experience, if you choose to use any of these activities with your littles. Share in the comments or send me an email!