With Halloween fast approaching here are some great ideas for HALLOWEEN FUN!
Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkin carving, the scarier the better! Child friendly carving sets mean that even young children can participate in this activity and, if carving proves too much for them, they can scoop out the flesh which makes for a great sensory experience. Put the flesh in a tuff tray and encourage them to pick out the seeds with tweezers.
As cooking covers so many areas of the curriculum why not make pumpkin soup. The seeds can also be eaten, dependent on the age of the child. Just rinse the seeds, spread them out to dry on some kitchen roll before placing them on a baking tray. Add seasonings of your choice and put them in the oven to cook. Alternatively, they can be left to dry and used as loose natural materials for a variety of activities.
For a great gross and fine motor work out, why not make a pumpkin hedgehog? This is a multi-level activity, dependent on the age/stage of the children. You can either use golf tees or sticks, hammer them all over the pumpkin and add some eyes as a finishing touch. These can be made with googly eyes, natural materials or pen. Golf tees are better used with younger children as they have a pointed end and so are easier to hammer into the pumpkin. This also means that balls or marbles can be balanced on the top to add to the fine motor experience. Using cut sticks with a blunt end is much more challenging and children really have to work hard to penetrate the flesh. Children who are used to whittling can whittle the end of the sticks to a point, before hammering them into the flesh.
For the sticks, in the picture above, I bought some expandable garden trellis from Pound Land, dismantled it then my grandson (10) cut the sticks in half, using secateurs. This is a really quick, cheap and easy way to create multiple sticks of different lengths, without having to go out to collect them.
This activity incorporates bowling and painting and is a good work out for both gross and fine motor muscles. Lay a roll of paper on the floor, placing a set of skittles (or small plastic milk containers) at the end. Children can cover a small pumpkin in paint, then bowl it along the paper. The one who knocks down the most skittles is the winner. This links with maths as children count the number of skittles knocked down. This is also a good way of reinforcing subtraction or number bonds to 10.
Pumpkin play dough
Why not make some pumpkin flavoured play dough? You can find the recipe and some great ideas here. Add in some autumn scents by incorporating star anise and cinnamon.
Stories and story telling
There are many Halloween stories available but my favourites are:
The Hairy Toe – Daniel Postgate
Pumpkin Pumpkin – Jeanne Titherington
Pumpkin Soup – Helen Cooper
Why not read the story then make some delicious pumpkin soup with the children.
Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin – Valerie Thomas and Korkie Paul
We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt
Read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and explain to the children that they are going to use the same format but change parts of the setting to make a spooky story. Alternatively, if you want one done for you, read We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Kris Hirschman. However, as children come up with such great ideas themselves, I have always opted to go with the former.
Work with the children to set up different areas outside such as a slimy swamp, by creating goo in a tuff tray for children to walk through. You can make this with cellulose paste, powder paint and water.
This is also good for a gooey, slimy sensory experience, just add eyeballs, spiders, bats, spaghetti and any other scary things you can think of, for children to enjoy squelching or squeezing or finding objects hidden in the goo! You can develop phonemic awareness by encouraging children to say initial sounds of objects they find or orally segmenting / blending words such as b-a-t. Why not use this activity to develop language by describing objects found in the slime before showing them to the group. As with any new sensory experience you need to let the children play with it first, otherwise they will be too excited to focus on what you want them to do.
Bobbing alphabet apples
This is the same activity as the regular bobbing apples game but, once children have captured their apples, they have to identify the phonemes written on them. You can organise this so children can do this one at a time or, you can let more children participate by having a bowl and apples for each child.
Bobbing cvc apples
As above but cvc words, such as cat, are written on each apple. Children have to decode each word to score a point. You can differentiate the words dependent on the phonic ability of the children.
You will need 2 plastic skeletons. Tiger are selling the one above for £6 at the moment, which is a real bargain as they are very sturdy and so will be able to be used again and again for a range of activities. Add sticky dots to each bone (using a different colour for each skeleton). Dismantle the skeletons then hide the bones outside. Organise the children into 2 teams. The first team to find the bones and assemble a complete skeleton is the winner. You can adapt this by adding numbers or letters, on sticky labels, to each bone for a link to literacy and maths.
Scary ghost number/phoneme hunt
Draw a ghost on a piece of card. Number each ghost dependent of age/stage of development e.g. 1-5 / 1- 10. Cut them out and laminate, then hide them in the outdoor area. Encourage the children to hunt the ghosts and when they have found 2 numbers add them together. The winner is the one with the highest total. You can write numbers one side and the corresponding number of spots on the other for additional support, if needed.
Repeat the steps above but instead of a number, write a phoneme on each ghost ensuring that vowels and consonants are in different colours, as this helps with the placement of letters when making cvc words. Once found children can either say the phoneme or use them to create cvc words.
Jelly monster dig
Make some jelly with the children, pour into a large tray and add in lots of scary objects like eyeballs, severed fingers, worms, spiders, bats etc. Chill and once set, allow children to dig for the scary objects with tweezer for a great fine motor activity. Once the objects have been removed scramble the jelly then let them eat ‘monster brains’. Take photos of the process to use as a sequencing activity.
Writing in blood
Use red paint for ink and some scary halloween fingers as writing implements. This is a great one for the boys as I have found that even the most reluctant mark maker wants to participate in this gruesome activity.
If you would like even more ideas for Halloween pop over to my outdoor planning and activity packs page.
I hope you all have a fabulous and very scary Halloween.