The leaves are starting to change and there is a chill in the air. Autumn has begun and Halloween will be here before we know it.
While your kids anxiously plan out the most profitable trick-or-treat route, rest assured that Halloween is more than just buckets of candy (and trips to the dentist). Every day events and holidays are wonderful learning opportunities! Kids retain more knowledge when learning is applied to everyday situations. What better example than a kid-friendly holiday full of candy?
Here are a variety of fun and educational Halloween activities for you to try at home:
If you are able, plot your trick-or-treat route on a map. As you walk, ask your child to read the street signs and house numbers. You can also have your child read the names of different candies. Another fun activity would be going to the library and selecting a few Halloween books to read together as a family.
After you go trick-or-treating (and before the kids start to snack), sort out each child’s Halloween candy. Young students can sort the candy by color, while older kids can come up with their own categories (i.e. fruity, chocolate, contains nuts). Make a bar graph of your candy haul. For young students, you may want to limit their candy to twenty pieces. Challenge older students by adjusting the scale to grouping by 5’s or 10’s instead of by 1’s.
Research the history of Halloween and its customs. Where did jack-o-lanterns come from? Who started trick-or-treating? When did people first dress up? Another interesting topic to research would be different superstitions.
Buy a discount pumpkin at the end of the season. Before you cut into it, have your kids estimate the number of seeds that are inside the pumpkin. Carve the pumpkin, pull out the seeds, and wash them. Then have the kids count the seeds to see who was closest. If you’re hungry, try roasting the pumpkin seeds in the oven. You can also practice estimation using the pumpkin’s weight or its width.
Health & Safety
Take a few minutes to talk with your kids about the dentist and the importance of limiting sweets and brushing their teeth. Have the kids count out their candy. If they ate one piece of candy per day, how long would their candy last? (Use a calendar for reference.) Try the same exercise with two pieces and three pieces per day. Challenge your kids — can they make the candy last that long? (No sneaking!)
Try a Halloween-themed writing prompt. To practice non-fiction, have your child write a detailed account of their trick-or-treat trip. Encourage them to include lots of details, including names of streets and descriptions of houses. If your child helped create their Halloween costume, have them write about the work that went into making the costume. Fiction prompts could include describing “your perfect Halloween party”, “your ideal Halloween costume”, or “a night at a haunted house”. After the writing is complete, encourage your child to write a book and include illustrations.
No matter how you decide to celebrate your Halloween, please be safe! Click here for Halloween safety tips from the American Red Cross. Have a fun and spooky night!