› Transforming Halloween Festivities into Learning Experiences for your Child
Transforming Halloween Festivities into Learning Experiences for your Child
posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - October 28th, 2019
With Halloween just around the corner, parents and children are putting together costumes, buying candy, and making exciting plans for trick or treating. Halloween is a time that many children cherish, as it gives them the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the costumes that that they choose. They can fully embody something extraordinary for a night! One thing we can all agree on though is the anticipation that surrounds the countdown to October 31st! In today’s post, I will be discussing several educational, interactive, and fun Halloween-themed activities that you and your child can participate in together! If you are having your own Halloween party, some of these activities can even be integrated into the spooky festivities.
Candy Guessing Game!
A fantastic way to enforce concepts such as estimation, spatial awareness, and scaling, is though a simple guessing game. The objective of the game is to have your child use their estimation abilities to guess the number of candies in the jar. In order to enforce our Halloween theme, we will be including delicious sweets of your choosing. For this activity you will need one or several large mason jars and any variety of candy. As the parent, you can test your child’s ability to determine what 100 looks like. Start by setting three jars aside. Out of the three jars, one should have 100 pieces of candy inside. In order to add an element of mystery, you can label each of the mason jars with a question that states, “Does this jar include 100 pieces of candy”? If more children are participating, help to initiate a conversation by asking them about the spacing of the candy, size, or whether the items reach the top of the jar (just to name a few).
A different spin on this activity is to include one mason jar with a variety of different candies. The task of this specific game is to guess the number closest to what is in the jar. If you are including this in a more social setting, each child can write down his or her name as well as their guess on an index card. The adult can then collect the cards, and later assess which child guessed closest to the number of candies in the jar. The winner gets to take home the jar with the delicious sweets!
Nothing says Halloween more then pumpkin carving! I’m sure many of us look back fondly on the days where you would carve a unique or rather funny looking face into a big orange pumpkin. From an educational standpoint, pumpkin carving is an interactive activity that initiates sensory engagement, observation, and precision when it comes to your child’s vision of what they want their pumpkin to look like. In this activity, you and your child will be exploring the different parts of the pumpkin. Before you start, print out a diagram of the different parts of a pumpkin. This should include the “pulp,skin,stem,strand, and seed”. As you cut open and pumpkin and explore the different areas, see if your child can cross reference in order to identify the different parts that they are encountering. This activity enforces their ability to observe how they can transfer their knowledge of a diagram into something they are exploring firsthand.
The second part of this activity includes a cooking component! After extracting most of the pumpkin seeds, wash them off and dry them. Next, work with your child to get a baking pan and parchment paper. Your child will have fun laying the pumpkin seeds on the pan. They can even salt them and add a little olive oil to produce a salty and savory taste. Try baking them for about 45 minutes on 300 degrees F. After they are out of the oven, allow them to cool before taking them out. Before you know it, your child will have helped to create a delicious fall treat! This two part activity makes for a great afternoon project, or a fun way to celebrate Halloween!
Make your own Halloween Inspired Slime!
The final activity we will be discussing today are Halloween Inspired slime jars. Not only do these jars make for a spooky Halloween party favor, but they reinforce skills such as following directions, and sensory awareness. In order to make a slime jar, the first step is to find a reliable recipe for making this gooey mixture. Below I am attaching a recipe that I found for Halloween inspired slime. I will be linking the recipe here! The fantastic thing about this slime recipe is that your child can customize is to their liking. For example, they can add “googly eyes, glitter, spiders, or mini plastic pumpkins (just to name a few). As your child is creating the mixture, help them to pay special attention to the quantity of each item, as well as the order in which the ingredients are included. Such recipes are great when helping your child to practice their reading comprehension, and overall attention to detail.
Once the slime is complete, you as a parent can help to transform the activity into a form of sensory exploration. Ask your child what the mixture “smells, looks, or feels like”. The slime can also act as a helpful object for children who require more sensory input. Ultimately, this is a fantastic activity for your child to do with friends, or something you as a parent can participate in as well!
The activities that I included today will help to turn your Halloween into an interactive, collaborative, and educational experience! Hidden in each of these activities are important skills that will show up throughout their academic careers as well as on specialized tests. Wishing you and your family a very happy Halloween!
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