Listed below are a few suggestions for using Halloween as a stimulus at school.
Predicting Pumpkin Measurements
Introduce a few pumpkins to the classroom and you can get kids, estimating and comparing mass, circumferences, diameters and heights. Use three – five pumpkins and label each with a letter.
Have children record their estimated mass, circumference, diameter and height for each. Children can also record the order of the pumpkins from lightest to heaviest and from smallest circumference to largest. The same can be done for diameter and height. Then have the students measure and record these things. Children can then compare their estimates with the actual measures.
Play the old favorite counting game Buzz replacing the word “Buzz” with a Halloween word. Use “Boo” or “Scary” instead. Children count around a circle but replace the number 7, every multiple of 7 and every number containing a digit 7 with the word “Boo”. If a child says the number instead of saying “Boo” they are out. This is a challenging game and it requires concentration and a knowledge of multiples. Trying playing it with other digits instead of 7, e.g. 5 or 9.
Halloween Problems and Brain Teasers
Number problems can also be made much more interesting by using Halloween themed characters and situations. Here are a few to try.
Zelda the witch has all of her cats and all of her owls in the house. She has 9 animals in the house and they have 30 legs altogether. How many cats and how many owls does she have?
Frankenstein has 15 shirts in his wardrobe. They are all black or blue. He has 7 more black shirts than blue ones. How many blue shirts does he have?
Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Gilda and Zelda are all having a Halloween party. Each of them has given an invitation to all of the others. How many invitations have been given out?
Halloween Word Activities and Spelling Activities
Letting children play with words is a great way to develop spelling skills and reading skills. Try these games to develop and extend children’s spelling skills.
Kids will want to play this game over and over again even though it is really just a version of a spelling bee. You can use Halloween themed words or use words that the children are learning to spell. Children stand in a circle. The teacher gives a word for the children to spell and nominates the person to start. Children give one letter at a time going in a clockwise direction. The child who is after the person who says the last letter says ‘Black Cat’. The next child is out and sits down. If a child says a wrong letter, he is out and sits down also. Then the next person gives the correct letter. When the word is completed, the teacher gives the next word and play continues around the circle. The last child standing is the winner. This one is really worth trying as it moves quite quickly and kids really love to play.
Hangman is a popular spelling game that tends to be particularly appropriate for Halloween. Use Halloween themed words or for a more interesting version try using a whole sentence. Simply make up a Halloween sentence, e.g. Ghosts, mummies, witches and zombies chased the frightened children all over the haunted house. Draw the dashes for each letter or each word, leaving spaces between the words. Then you are ready to start. Just fill in all instances of each letter that the children give. A great writing activity is to get the children to write interesting sentences that can be used for the Hangman sentence.
Halloween Sentence Jumble
After children have written their own Halloween sentences as suggested above. Play Sentence Jumble by writing the sentences in a long string with no breaks between the words. This creates an interesting puzzle for children to decipher. They have to rewrite the sentence putting in the breaks. A more advanced version of this is to run the words together and then break the letters up into groups of three, four or five letters. This makes an even more difficult word puzzle. Here is one for you to try.
aho wlin gsou ndca mefr omth eolds pook yho use
Another simple Halloween word puzzle is to jumble the letters of Halloween words and have children compete to see who can unjumble them to find all of the words first.
There are many, many different ways to incorporate Halloween into your school program. Hope the ideas above help to make Halloween more fun for your students. Happy Halloween!