As All Hallowed Eve draws near, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the macabre decorations and sugar-filled festivities. While your working on a Pinterest perfect family costume set your little’s to work with learning activities that ‘trick’ them into learning something new over the holiday celebration. We’ve put together our top five picks for how to make Halloween a learning opportunity.
1Learn about a new culture
Halloween originated as part of Celtic harvest celebrations, but the most well known cultural celebration around this time of year is the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos). Celebrated in Mexico from October 31 to November 2, this holiday is a time of family celebration honoring the souls of the dearly departed. Families build private altars and honor the deceased by leaving gifts of food, flowers, and possessions.
Disney’s Coco is a fantastic tool for teaching the basics of Day of the Dead to children and will help them understand that the celebration is more than bright colors and sugar skulls. After watching the movie, invite your littles to color their own sugar skulls and share the stories of family members who you might want to honor on Día de Muertos.
2Encourage Imaginative Play
Dressing up as a future professional, favorite character, or a well-loved animal allows children of all ages to stretch their imaginations and encourages creativity. Continue that growth after the costumes are put away for the evening with table toys from Plus Plus.
Unique from block toys that require a full set to construct elaborate designs, Plus Plus tubes feature a single shape in a wide variety of colors. The Halloween tube includes step-by-step instructions for building a pumpkin or bat, perfect for keeping everyone busy while you hide the candy.
3Teach about Fact and Fiction
For young children, Halloween can be more frightening than it is fun. When the things that go bump in the night start to not be so enjoyable, a quick lesson on what is and isn’t real can help provide the framework you need for a more restful night. Play a game as you walk through the neighborhood looking at decorations and talk about each yard decoration you come across.
Children are naturally curious, so explaining the origins of Halloween legends at an age-appropriate level can help eliminate some of the fear surrounding Halloween.
- Spiders do not get as big as houses.
- Ghosts are imaginary.
- There are no graves in Ms. Johnson’s front yard.
The more open and honest you are about answering questions, the easier it may be to get back to a more restful night of sleep. After your walk, head home and flip on an old episode of Scooby Doo to show that most of the more terrifying creatures have a logical explanation if you investigate.
4Share a Health Lesson
It’s hard to go more than a few feet during October without stumbling across a skeleton. Initially frightful, skeletons are a basic lesson in anatomy that you can use as a learning tool throughout the month.
Start off by teaching the Skeleton Dance song, and once everyone knows the words, assemble your own Skeleton puzzle from Learning Resources. This life-size puzzle includes 15 illustrated pieces, each labeled on the backside with the proper bone name. Connect the hip bone to the leg bone and in minutes you’ve turned a spooky creature into a teachable moment.
5Explore the Five Senses
Pumpkin carving is a fun activity that allows you to encourage learning how all five senses work together. Provide help with the carving itself and as you prepare your jack-o-lantern walk through the following lessons: taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound.
Sound: Before carving, knock on the outside of the pumpkin. What do you hear?
Touch: Remove the top of the pumpkin and reach in to pull out some seeds. How does that feel?
Smell: Take a deep breath into the pumpkin. What does the inside of a pumpkin smell like? Is it sweet?
Taste: After the roasting the pumpkin seeds take a bite. What do they taste like?
Sight: Once the pumpkin is finished, place a candle inside and look at the unlit pumpkin. What changes after the candle is lit?
Looking for more ‘tricks’ to up your Halloween game? Check out our DIY Halloween Costumes You’ll Love.
Photo Credits: Unsplash