Halloween Sensory Tub For Multiple Ages

I noticed on Pinterest a comment on a pin of my Sensory Tub from Halloween 2010. The commenter noted that I use the same container ( usually yes) and just store the contents in zip locks ( yes again I have close to 20 bags).  That comment sparked this post. My son had been asking for a Halloween sensory tub since we bought the bouncy ball eyeballs a few weeks ago. My goal was  to make one that both he and his baby sister ( 15 months) could use. This is what we did.

  1. Gather your materials. I grabbed my Halloween Sensory Tub contents from 2009 and 2010 – which included black beans, white beans, orange lentils for the fill. Then sticky skeletons, plastic spiders and other bugs, bouncy ball eyeballs, a few pumpkin containers, a scoop and some tongs.  Do not feel like you need to have all of this! My main goal is to show that you can mix two old ones to make a new one.  
  2. For the toddler version, I started by putting in the dried beans and lentils. Then chose only the large plastic bugs and pumpkin containers.
  3. You may notice she is on a small rug. If you are doing this on the floor a carpeted floor works the best, the beans don’t scatter as far.
  4. Encourage them to keep the beans in, but please don’t scold. If spilling makes you angry just skip this activity altogether. Gently show toddlers how to keep it in but until children have lots of experience with sensory tubs use only positive guidance. Anger will confuse them and halt any play and learning that was happening.
  5. Feel free to have them put beans back in though !
  6. Into the pumpkin!
  7. Now for older kids add the as my son calls it ” good stuff!” We did this when my daughter was daddy so it wouldn’t be unfair for her to see her brother playing but be told she can’t.
  8. I challenged him to pick up the balls with the tongs – it was tricky!
  9. He decided to pick out all the skeletons.
  10. Then he decided to create a skeleton world on the playroom floor, and the eyeballs were bombs? Something like that. He asked if he could play it for his quiet time. Ummm yeah! I love how fun mama directed activities almost always lead to something for him to explore and lead himself. 


When I stored this sensory tub I used 2 ziplocks, and picked out all the big kids stuff into one, the toddler safe in the other and store them next to each other for fast fun for either kid.

** Please remember that it’s your job to know what is safe for your child and what your child is ready for. All activities require adult supervision. **

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  1. Jacque says

    Where did you find orange lentils? I love your blog. My kids are very close in age to yours and I appreciate how you work in things for the little ones. Thanks for sharing your fantastic ideas with the world!

  2. Laura says

    Quick question…is your daughter mouthy? (i.e. puts things in her mouth?) My daughter is almost 2 and she still puts things in her mouth…she won’t if I tell her not to, etc. but I can totally see her trying to eat the beans, etc. LOL. Great idea though!

    • says

      I was thinking the same thing- that I would worry the toddler might stick the beans in her mouth. Obviously this is an activity that should be guided and supervised.
      A caution- don’t use dried red kidney beans. They need to be cooked before they’re safe to ingest.

      Otherwise, this is an awesome activity. I’m considering doing something like this for my 11 year old. We just started homeschooling this year, and I’m having to undo a lot of damage from his public school experience.

      Neat blog. 🙂 I will share the link for my friends with younger kids.

      Rejoicing in the day,

      • admin says

        Yes – kidney beans can have mild toxic effects if injested so stick to the ones I listed. You know it’s interesting in all the classes I have been in both as a teacher and parent kids will sometimes put anlentil or two in their mothtry to chew it realize it tastes horrible and spit it out. Which is what my daughter did If you are concerned about this use larger items like black and white duplo blocks or some other item that won’t fit in their mouth. Only ever do what you think your child is ready for.

  3. says

    I love this Bin!! Think I will try it in my preschool class!! I know I have a crew of boys who will have a blast with those spiders! I might switch the beans for black sand or maybe black rice. We’ve had an issue with beans, they seem to find their way into noses, no matter how many grownups we have watching. 🙂


    Miss Becca Drew
    Bubbles Academy Bookworm 🙂

  4. says

    Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been following your sensory tub posts (revisiting older ones) and made my first one for my 2-year-old about a month ago (beans, noodles, and scooping devices…kept it simple). I’ve been trying to figure out what to make next. I collected some acorns, thinking I’d put together a fall theme, but then little white grubs began to hatch from the nuts…so those need to go!! This is a great idea. Cute and fun…and I may keep the other stuff on hand to add for my 5 y/o as well. 🙂

  5. says

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! i have been wanting to do this for some time with my 2.5yr old son and i finally went out last night to collect the last of what i needed. i can’t wait to see his reaction when he comes home from daycare today! and i’m more than sure my 7yr old will love playing with this, too!!

    will post pics on my blog and link up to your post as well if that’s ok. 🙂



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