Do you have a toddler that likes to squish and explore different textures, but not necessarily touch them at first?
Many toddlers get anxious about touching gooey things that might be squishy, cold, sticky, or wet.
Halloween time is filled with so many different sensory experiences! Kids are exposed to different sights, sounds, and textures that are new to them.
One way that I like to help my toddlers explore new textures and materials is through simple squish bags. Squish bags allow kids to touch the new materials and check them out, without fully committing to getting messy or sticky. This is a great first step to helping them be willing to explore something new.
Have you ever tried out a squish bag? Scroll down to read more about how to make a Pumpkin Squish bag and how this Halloween Pumpkin squish bag works.
Here's how to get started with a Pumpkin Squish Bag
- pumpkin scooper/spoon
- large ziploc bag
- painters tape (or duct tape)
- vinyl tablecloth (optional)
HOW TO MAKE A PUMPKIN SQUISH BAG
Have you ever carved a pumpkin? If so, then you already know how to cut off the top of a pumpkin.
If not, just make a circle on the top of your pumpkin with a knife and cut through it deep enough that you can pull the top off.
Parents will do this part. Pull the top of the pumpkin out and yank out the guts and stick them in a large ziploc bag.
If your kids are fascinated by touching the gooey seeds and pumpkin guts, then you can just stop here and play. No need to make a squish bag.
If your kids are grossed out and can't touch the seeds at all, this is where we introduced the squish bag.
Pull out the seeds and some sticky pumpkin guts and put them in a large ziploc bag. Next let your kids touch the outside of the bag.
Remove as much air out of the bag as possible and then flatten it and secure it to your table with some painters tape. Make sure to put tape around the whole bag, covering all the edges.
While going through this process, encourage your kids to explore the bag and seeds (through the bag) as much as possible.
Often once kids realize that the materials are safe and not as weird or scary as they thought, they are willing to touch them without the bag.
Squish bags are also great for any kids who have allergies or especially sensitive skin and don't do well touching new textures. They can still have a sensory experience, but a much more controlled one.
This also is a great activity if you aren't a fan of messy sensory activities and the idea of kids getting pumpkin guts all over your kitchen gives you the heebie jeebies.
Once the kids are done explore the seeds, you can pull them out and try baking the seeds for a snack!
The more kids explore new to them materials in different ways, the more willing they can be to touching them.
Do you have any other favorite ways you like to explore and play with pumpkins?
If you enjoyed these activities, you may like our Toddler Halloween Party Guide!
Here are some other fun sensory squish bags we've had fun with: