When teaching young, preschool aged children about Halloween, keep lesson plans simple. It is not necessary to discuss the historical background of Halloween at this time. Instead, young children in daycare centers can celebrate Halloween by having costume parties and playing special games like bobbing for apples. Halloween can be fun and educational when you incorporate the following activities:
Halloween Art Activity
Hanging Halloween Spiders
You will need: black tempera paint, medium Styrofoam balls, wide black pipe cleaners, plastic wiggly eyes, a needle, fishing line, and tape.
Directions: Paint Styrofoam balls with black paint. Let dry completely. Next cut the pipe cleaners in half and stick four pipe cleaners in each side of the Styrofoam balls. Then, glue two eyes on each spider. Thread needles with fishing line and spring fishing line through each spider. Then Hang spiders by the string by taping them to the ceiling.
Halloween Cognitive Activity
Bat sorting teaches young children both classification and counting. For this activity you will need to cut both large and small bats out of black construction paper. You can use a template or draw them freehand. You will also need two containers. Ask the children to sort bats the bats into large and small placing the small bats in one container and large bats in another. Next ask the children to count the total number of small bats and the total number of large bats. Ask them which number is larger.
Halloween Cooking Activity
As a special holiday treat, try Pumpkin Milkshakes. In a blender, blend ¼ pint of vanilla ice cream, ¼ cup of milk, 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 4 tablespoons of fresh pumpkin pureed. Pour into frosty glasses and top with fresh whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon. Children will have fun pouring ingredients into the blender and scooping whipped cream. You can also make your own fresh pumpkin puree with the children.
Halloween Circle Time Activity
5 Little Pumpkins Finger Play (similar to 5 Little Monkeys)
“Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate;
The first one said, ‘Oh my it’s getting late.’
The second one said, ‘There are witches in the air.’
The third one said, ‘But I don’t care.’
The fourth one said, ‘I’m ready for some fun!’
The fifth one said, ‘Let’s run and run and run.’
‘Wooooooo’ went the wind,
And out went the lights.
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.”
Halloween Books for Preschoolers
Consider adding the following books to your child care resource center and reading them during your Halloween unit.
Halloween Treats: A Touch-and-Feel Book by Tom Arma [Grosset and Dunlap, 2000]
Candy Corn by Kelly Asbury [Price Stern Sloan, 2001]
What is Halloween by Michelle Medlock Adams and Amy Wummer [Candy Cane Press, 2007]
Baby Strawberry’s First Halloween by SI Artists [Grosset and Dunlap, 2007]
It’s Halloween, Dear Dragon by Margaret Hillard [Modern Curriculum Press, 1980]
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