Halloween Crafts for Lil’ Hands

Strap your biscuits to your butts, everybody, I have been doing Hands-On Ones & Twos programs for one full year.


Maybe this 1 year mark is not quite as impressive as other fellow librarians entering 15+ years of storytime or classroom service, but I’m pretty proud of this little program. I inherited it from my predecessor and I have really enjoyed getting this program together every other month. And boy-howdy do the patrons love it. Both programs probably cost about $30 depending on the activity/craft.¬†Because lists are the way of the gods, let’s put down some positives of the program:

  • I always have a terrific turnout (with registration)
  • Little prep time involves finding 2 crafts, gathering supplies, creating a handout. and setting up the day of
  • Perfect for in-between storytimes as an activity for families to do during break
  • Provides a program for the very young children where most age-focused programs are for preschool+

And the negatives?

  • No break in-between storytimes (but 2 half-hour programs probably won’t break you)
  • Clean-up
  • Finding alternate sibling activity–because the crafts are suited for a younger age range (and the supplies are limited), you’ll need to provide coloring sheets and emphasize that there are only enough supplies for the age-appropriate child.

So what did I do to celebrate? Halloween, baby. Halloween.

Hands-On Ones


  1. Bugs Sensory Bins with orange rice – Dye rice with a jar or with a bag (the bag is my preference–especially if you are doing this part with kiddos. Talk up what they are doing with unique vocabulary like ooey-gooey, slippery, staining & dyeing the rice)
  2. Pumpkin Jars – I found this one on 1+1+1=1 and thought it was such an AMAZING activity for one-year-olds–tearing paper! I know I encourage process over product, but it also was neat to have a nice product in the end for the adults. Once again, they awwwed at the final product. Note of caution: glass baby food jars are rare nowadays. Luckily, we had a stash upstairs. But, you can do this with any small jar, such as artichokes, those fancy condiments, etc.


  • Rice, vinegar, and orange food dye
  • Large toy bugs (from Wal-Mart, actually, as much as that pains me to say it)
  • Plastic bins & cups/scoops
  • 1 tarp
  • Orange tissue paper (1 sheet per child)
  • Green pipe cleaners (1 per jar) – hot glue onto lid before the program starts
  • 20 baby food jars
  • Sharpie to draw on jack-o-lantern

Hands-On Twos


  1. Spiders with pipe cleaners – From Craftulate this was another perfectly age-suited craft for 2-year-olds. Their mission? Stick a Styrofoam ball with pipe cleaners. Were they happy? Darn tootin. They were also pretty proud of themselves for creating their own toy.
  2. Pumpkin Guts sensory time – Last year, I found out that 1-year-olds hate stickiness and are still pretty shy about exploring their world. So, I kept this activity just for the adventurous two-year-olds.


  • Smooth Styrofoam balls for painting or textured styrofoam balls for spray painting
  • Pipe cleaners – cut in half
  • Googly eyes
  • 4 pumpkins
  • 2 freezer Ziploc bags
  • 1 tarp

And guess who had to clean it all up? The lowly librarian. Totally worth it, though.


2 thoughts on “Halloween Crafts for Lil’ Hands

  1. awesome! maybe not the clean up part, so much, but yeah. I have been contemplating starting some kind of craft-time for my baby/toddler crowd (particularly during the summer when I also have preschoolers and older sibs) and you have shown me it is all wonderfully possible! Please feel free to share more of your great ideas, or your sources for other people’s great ideas.

    1. You should totally do it! I added the approximate price for the programs ($30) to the post and you made me think about the inclusion of siblings in these programs. Because supplies can be limited, I provide an alternate activity (that won’t captivate the interest of the younger kids) such as coloring sheets. It can be hard to tell them “no” but it also takes extra time to prepare the same activity for the older kids when they won’t get the same value out of it.

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