A few weeks ago, some of my favorite blogging friends collaborated on an epic play project–25 Fall Play Invitations. Are you familiar with play invitations? Play invites are simply engaging setups that invite kids to play. There’s no parental agenda or expectation that kids will play in a certain way. Ideally, these invites engage the senses, minds, and interests of our kids. It’s child-led, play-based learning at its very best!
Starting today, the play invitation series is BACK, and I’m thrilled to be involved!
For a more detailed introduction to play invitations, check out these helpful posts from two amazing bloggers who popularized and led the way in the Play Invitation movement: Teach Preschool and The Imagination Tree.
Can you guess the theme for this next series?
Halloween, of course!
My girls are three and one, and I wanted to try to make an invitation that would appeal to both of them; it worked!
I set out our plastic cauldron and filled it with Spanish moss, spiders, snakes, and frogs. I also added a few spiders and worms to a pumpkin dish and ice cube tray. I didn’t know exactly what the girls would do, but I wanted to give them options.
How our three-year-old played:
We’re only a few weeks into age three, but I can already tell that three is going to be a big age for pretend play. When our three-year-old saw the creep-crawlies, she immediately animated them. The frogs hopped and “ribbeted” all around our porch.
She then picked up a spider and said, “oh, MY! It’s a RING!”
When she saw the spiders in the ice cube tray, she scooped up the tray and said, “I need to go bake them.”
“You need to BAKE them?” I asked incredulously.
“Yep, but not out here [on the porch]. There’s no oven out here. They need to cook in the bathroom.”
Yes, you read that right–she took her spiders to the bathroom and “baked” them in the bathroom cabinet.
How our one-year-old played:
While big sister was off “baking” her spiders, the baby was busy exploring the invite in her own little way. She decided to start with challenging her fine motor skills by plucking the little critters out of the Spanish moss.
Her big thing now is TRANSFERRING, so it didn’t take her long to start placing all of the materials into the cauldron–the spiders, the worms, the frogs, the ice cube tray, a nearby slinky, it all ended up in the cauldron.
Did I expect to see a slinky in the cauldron or baked spiders in my bathroom? Nope! But that’s the beauty of play invitations. They can end up in places you might never expect.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Creepy-Crawly Cauldron play invitation:
- Cauldron, bin, storage tote, clear shoebox, container
- Creepy-crawlies from the dollar bin or your Halloween stash
- Pumpkin plates, orange ice cube trays, other re-purposed Halloween items that could be used for sorting, transferring, or (pretend) spider baking.
Note: We made a spider sensory bin last year for a play date, and it was fun for the kiddos to pick out rings to take home as a candy-free Halloween treat!
For other posts in this series, check out:
When I say that my co-collaborators are some of my favorite blogging friends, I’m not exaggerating! They are all amazingly creative and it’s an honor to partner with them. You can find their posts for today here:
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