Halloween Sensory Bath

Halloween Sensory Bath {RoamingRosie.com}

I wanted to do something special for Halloween, and settled on a sensory bath with orange, green, and purple noodles that would be mixed with black, creepy toys.

It was a hit.  But then, I knew it would be.

How could kids NOT love a sensory bin that you let them climb inside of?

Earlier this year we did an Ocean Sensory Play Bath.  My girls really enjoyed it and requested it again and again.

But this time we did a “creepy” version.

Seemed a good way to get into the Halloween spirit.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

I had the food coloring on hand, but the rest of the supplies I picked up at the dollar store.

You’ll need:

4 lbs. of spaghetti
Food coloring in orange, green, and purple
Various toy bugs

I got a package of 8 rubbery mice, 8 rubbery spiders, and a dozen plastic centipedes.

I thought about sticking with the traditional colors of orange and black, but eventually decided to throw in the green and purple, too.  They added a nice dimension to it.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

You need to cook the spaghetti ahead of time, but it can sit for awhile.  This is helpful, for example, if you want to take care of this part while your kids are sleeping or at school.

I put most of the 4 lbs. into one large pot with a big scoop of orange food color.  Then I put green and purple into two smaller pots with smaller amounts of spaghetti.

I cooked them according to the package directions, then took the pots off the heat and allowed the noodles to sit in the colored water for 20 or 30 minutes.

You could also cook all the noodles in one big pot and then separate them into plastic baggies.  You can add the food color to the baggies and mix it all around to dye the noodles this way.

Sometimes I have issues with that method, so I used the dye-them-on-the-stove technique.  It takes very little time to wash the pots afterwards, and if you don’t have that many pots, you can always reuse the same one or make fewer colors.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Once you’re ready to drain the pasta, make sure you rinse the noodles with cool water, too.

Rinse until the water that’s draining from the bottom of the colander runs clear.

Some of the food color that is in the spaghetti will still leak into the tub as the noodles steep, but rinsing helps eliminate as much color as possible beforehand.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Here is a photo of the dyes spaghetti in one big bucket and all the creepy, crawly critters in a little dish.

I put these on the bathroom counter until we were ready to play.

As I mentioned, the spaghetti can sit for awhile.  We waited at least an hour, because my youngest was still napping.

And if you don’t have a bathtub {or just can’t imagine putting food in your tub}, you could always use something else.  For example, a kiddie pool.  Or, if you don’t want your kids sitting in the spaghetti, you could put it in a water table or large plastic bin instead, and let them play with it that way.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

Fill up the tub with just a few inches of water.

Then dump in the spaghetti and any toys.  Here you can see me and my daughter tossing in all the creepy vermin.

Swirl everything together with your hand or a small strainer.

We used the small mesh strainers to clean up afterwards, but also to play.  The girls used them to scoop up the toys.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

The orange faded from the spaghetti rather quickly.

Next time I would use more color and perhaps let it sit a little longer, since orange is such a light color.

And, as you can see, the green and purple did seep into the bathwater.  This makes it even creepier, though, and more of a challenge to find all the toys.  So not a total negative.

Plus, in case you’re wondering, my kids did not turn green and purple.

Halloween Sensory Bath  {RoamingRosie.com}

To clean up, we took out all the toys and scooped all of the noodles back into the bin.

We used both our hands and the mesh strainers to remove the pasta.  My kids have nearly as much fun with this part as they do with playing in the spaghetti.

Once all {or as much as I can find} of the noodles are out of the tub, I drain the water.  Then I make sure there’s no food coloring left in the tub and my kids get a real bath.

When the bath is over, I sprinkle a bunch of baking soda over the drain and rinse it down with white vinegar.  {This is my normal method of cleaning bathtub/sink drains.}  It is inevitable that some noodles will escape down the drain, and certainly some starch, so this extra step is important.

Have fun!

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Ocean Sensory Play Bath

ocean sensory play bath

This was a wonderful activity – so easy to set up and so much fun for the girls!

I incorporated this into Letter O Day.  (I know, I know:  I’m a little behind in posting all of the Alphabet Activities and their free printables, but I’m getting there…)  It’s an activity that I found on Pinterest, originally from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

The girls have always loved sensory bins where they search for small toys in a little tray or bowl, but I loved the idea of allowing them to immerse themselves in a giant sensory bin!

I made it in much the same way as my inspiration, with just a small change:  I didn’t add food coloring to the water.  I didn’t think it was necessary, and, as the bath went on, a little of the food coloring seeped from the noodles and colored the bathwater anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

As you can see, in the above photo, I started with plain bathwater.  I threw in the noodles, spread them around, tossed in a few ocean-themed toys, and let the girls climb in.

To make the noodles, I took 3 pounds of spaghetti and cooked it in two pots.  One pound went in one pot, with quite a few drops of green food coloring, to make the “seaweed,” and the other two pounds went into the other pot, with a LOT of blue food coloring, to make the “water.”  Or “blue seaweed,” or “coral” or “algae.”  Whatever.

After cooking the spaghetti, I rinsed it off in a colander in the sink to get rid of excess food coloring.  I didn’t want to turn my girls blue, after all.

ocean sensory play bath

After spreading around the spaghetti, we threw in their ocean animal squirt toys and a handful of mermaids.  It wasn’t a ton of toys, but it was enough.

They mostly played with the noodles, anyway.

ocean sensory play bath

Before climbing in, the girls stood outside the tub, feeling the spaghetti with their hands, then gently dipping in their toes.  Lots of giggles.

Then they jumped right in.

They held the spaghetti in their hands, wiggled it between their toes, “wrote” on the sides of the tub with it, and dumped handfuls on each other’s heads.

ocean sensory play bath

We made all kinds of shapes out of the spaghetti on the tub sides and on the tile wall.  My 20-month-old did a lot of swirling and slow movements with her hands and feet in the noodles.  My 3-year-old made patterns on the edge of the tub for her mermaids to sit in.  She concentrated pretty hard on her projects.  But even with all that focus, there was so much laughter and endless smiles.

They even helped me dump the spaghetti into a plastic bin before draining the tub.  They thought it was fun to use the little metal colanders with handles to help scoop it all up.

And, afterwards, the girls got a good scrub, and I made sure to dump some baking soda and white vinegar down the drain, because some noodles did escape me.

Overall, a great, great project.  So much fun!

It’s been requested multiple times, although I may do it in a little blow-up pool next time.  Kinda like our blustery day water play.  We’ll see.  :)

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