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Embedding literacy: Halloween edition

HalloweenHalloween is upon us! What this means for northern kids is planning a costume that will be big enough to fit over a snowsuit, planning the best route for trick-or-treating, and finding the biggest pillowcase in the house to fill with candy on Halloween night.

There is a lot of excitement leading up to Halloween.  Why not harness some of that energy with some holiday-themed activities?

Arts and crafts
Doing crafts benefits children in different ways. Crafts help develop fine motor skills, boost self-esteem, and help with self-regulation. These activities give children practice following instructions and being creative.  Doing crafts together also gives you and your child a chance to bond and have fun!

You can find creative Halloween craft ideas for all ages on Pinterest Here is a link I found for 31 Halloween Crafts for Preschoolers:
http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2014/09/31-easy-halloween-crafts-for-preschoolers/

Sensory activities
Children (and adults) learn best and retain more information when their senses are engaged and involved in what they learn. Sensory play helps develop cognitive, language and, fine motor skills, and helps children use and develop all five senses.

Sensory bottles is a fun and easy activity that children of all ages will love!  Here’s a link for instructions to a Halloween-themed bottle:
http://www.momto2poshlildivas.com/2012/10/halloween-fun-sensory-boo-bottles-for.html

Here is a recipe I found for slime. You could also add food colouring or Halloween themed items (confetti, google eyes, etc.) to make your slime a little more spooky:
http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/make-easy-slime-bat-sensory-play/

Cooking and baking
Children have a natural curiosity when it comes to cooking and baking, and they love being helpful (especially when it comes to making treats). Cooking and baking can help children improve or develop math skills (measuring for little ones and fractions for older ones), comprehension and following directions. They will have fun while learning  communication and life skills and increasing their self-esteem.

Here is a fun Halloween rice crispy treat recipe you can make with your children:
http://www.yummyhealthyeasy.com/2013/09/easy-pumpkin-krispies-treats.html

Play
Children need play every day! Play helps children develop emotionally and socially, helps them have a healthy body and brain, fosters creativity, and gives them self-confidence.

Follow these links for fun Halloween games you can set up in your house, classroom, or community centre:
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2011/10/spider-web-gross-motor-activity.html
http://www.chickenbabies.com/2011/10/lair-of-spider-queen.html

Do you have any holiday craft, activity and recipe ideas or family traditions? If so, share them below!

-- Charlotte Upton

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