Is September too early to start doing all the hands on learning Halloween Activities? Trick or treating is cancelled this year in my neighborhood due to Covid-19. At first, I really didn't know how to break it to my girls. Halloween is our favorite holiday, but then I decided just because trick or treating was cancelled does NOT mean Halloween was cancelled.
Our regular hands on learning activities have been Halloween themed activities since mid-September. It's true, I just couldn't wait to bring on pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and skeletons and share how we are learning, creating, and discovering through our Halloween activities and crafts.
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Supplies to make Halloween activities for kids for spooky, hands on learning fun.
Small pumpkins (I like to have about 10 tiny pumpkins!) and medium sized pumpkins!
Orange paint - you'll definitely want this washable version (learn from my mistakes)
Brach's Candy Corn- even if you don't like how it tastes, there is SO much we can do with it
Pumpkin or Halloween theme shaped cutouts like these from Target.
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Candy Corn Coding- A STEM Halloween Activity:
Candy corn- It might be gross to some, but it definitely screams Halloween, and I decided it's perfectly shaped to teach coding to Big Sis (4.5 years old).
Using a muffin pan or even a simple hand drawn grid, create a pathway from one end to the other. This is the first coding I've ever done with my daughter, so the objective had to be something familiar... Get the baby pumpkin to its parent.
The skeletons block the road, and the baby pumpkin could get lost, so we need to put out candy corn that point him in the right direction. I explained to my one day coder that the candy corn can only go left, right, up or down and that the pumpkin would follow the directions she had selected for it.
The setup on the left minus the candy corn is what she started with, and from there Big Sis was told to code a way for the tiny eraser pumpkin to reach its parent pumpkin at the top.
Using the candy corn she created a pathway for the pumpkin. To make this spooky Halloween coding activity a bit more challenging, you could also have them remove the redundant codes (any candy corn that goes the same way twice). But since this was our first coding activity, I kept her design the way it was. The video shows an example of the redundant codes removed for more realistic coding.
Math Halloween Activities:
In my minimal effort for maximum results fashion, I decided to create a super easy math Halloween activity for my kids: 1 setup with 2 different ways to play.
Counting Candy Corn - Simple Preschool Halloween Activity
For Lil Sis (age 2+) I set out 3 adorable pumpkin cutouts each with it's own number. Then I gave her a cup of candy corn and asked her to put the right number of candy corn on each pumpkin.
Since Lil Sis doesn't know her numbers yet. To help expose her to them, I would tell her which one it was and then together count out the candy corn. This easy Halloween math activity teaches number identification, and counting with one to one correspondence.
To help your little one really master counting and number identification you want to make sure you check out one of our favorite activities: Punch Math.
Adding Candy Corn - Simple Number Sense Halloween Activity
Big sis (4.5 years) is all about addition, so I created the same set up for her, except I used 5 pumpkins and instead of numbers, I put simple addition equations for her Halloween activity. For older kids you could add 3 numbers together or add two bigger numbers.
Candy corn in hand -she did try to sneak one then spat it back out- she carefully counted and added the total number on each little pumpkin. Using candy corn for as a manipulative for our hands on learning lesson was super engaging for both kids.
For more fun beginning addition activities check out these hands-on domino games.
Pumpkin Number Sense and Rescue Game:
For some water play and counting get out those itsy bitsy pumpkins and write numbers 1-10 on the bottom of them in Sharpie. Fill up a container with water and stick them in so the numbers are hidden.
On a large piece of cardboard make ten circles and draw 1-10 dots in each one. You can arrange like dice or any other way.
Grab some scooping devices from the kitchen and have your children rescue the pumpkins and return them to the correct number. I told my kids that the pumpkins' Halloween magic is restored once all the pumpkins haven been rescued and returned safely to their numbers.
Halloween Pumpkins Literacy Activities
Grab a pumpkin pie or sugar baby pumpkin for this literacy activity. You'll also need a hammer, golf tees, and a Sharpie. There are SO many ways to incorporate literacy into what is also a totally awesome fine motor game, and I'm going to be honest, I found this game to be a stress release.
Read and Hammer the CVC words and Sight Words:
For readers, have them hammer a golf tee into each word and read the word as they hammer it. I sprinkled in CVC words for some decoding practice and added sight words because those are all about exposure. The mix kept my little reader on her toes and she has asked to do this everyday since.
Want to know more about CVC words? I tell you what they are and how to teach them right HERE.
Read and Hammer the Letters
Very much like the last Halloween literacy activity, this version is simpler. Children learning letters and sounds can say the names of the letters and their sounds while hammering each one.
For my two year old just beginning to understand letters, I narrated her actions, "You are hammering the letter D," to help give names to letters she didn't know.
We had so much fun with this activity building up fine motor skills while practicing literacy skills. Make sure you always use tools under adult supervision (like all our activities).
If your little one is struggling with hammering the tees into the pumpkin, we uncovered a new way to play. You can hammer them in for them, and they pretend to hammer in the rest or, if you have any pouch caps lying around, you can try this!
"Spin by Number" Spiderweb Craft
Do you remember dot to dot activities where you'd start at one number and create a picture by following the numbers in order?
This is a Halloween hands on learning version of that classic activity. All you need is a paper plate, marker, yarn, scissors, and a fake plastic spider.
Write numbers all around the plate, making sure they're out of order. The more numbers you have the more spiderweb-like the craft will look. Cut a small slit next to each number and insert a long piece of yarn behind the number 1, secured with a small knot.
The rest is super simple, follow the numbers to spin your spiderweb, going under and over, under over. Once you reach the final number, add your creepy crawly arachnid.
So there you go, we just fused number recognition and Halloween crafts for a very cute finished product!
Pumpkin Stamping Halloween Art Activity
This easy Halloween craft is a classic, but it never seems to amaze the little ones that an apple cut in two makes the perfect pumpkin stamp. Squirt some WASHABLE orange paint onto a plate and you're ready to go. Make sure it's washable, because I messed that up the other day and I'm still paying for it.
I love to create a "buffet" of choices for decorating our pumpkins by putting out googly eyes, green leaves, maybe a little stem cut out, and even some shapes to make our pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns if they so choose.
My one tip for Halloween crafts for preschoolers (or really any craft/art) is to really be as hands-off as possible. If we help them, they begin to think it needs to look the way we made it in order to be considered "good." When we let them explore and create on their own, it might end up super wonky, but we are not assigning a value to their art being realistic.
Many kids get discouraged when it comes to creating art because their drawings/paintings don't look like what they wanted, but if we focus on effort and the process, kids are more likely to enjoy creating art.
Have you ever done this easy Halloween craft before? We love to do it each year and look back at old photos to see how they compare. For more colorful fun discover my ultimate mom hack for mess free painting!