Sunday, November 17, 2013

Halloween Week for Toddlers - Part 2

Zahavah being under three, I didn't venture to study pumpkins too much. I know that many North American Montessori schools spend Halloween "week" studying the pumpkin's "anatomy", roast seeds with the kids and scrub pumpkins but I felt like it was a bit early for my daughter. I think next year she'll be  much more open to "parts of a pumpkin" and the like. For now, I focused on fine motor challenges (working with beans, beads, mini stampers with caps, etc), sensorial and practical life activities as well as art, math and language readiness that were more on par with her skills or slightly higher.
Halloween ghost footprint
Art - Ghost footprint
Ta da! No laughing but this is something I tried to do with Zahavah last year and she did not want her little feet getting dirty at all! :) This year, at nearly 3 years old, she was all for it. A piece of black construction paper, white washable paint and black paint are all you need. The little bow was added to cover up a "smudge". Z started painting instead of dotting for the mouth so we put a bow on to cover it up. Needless to say, she quite likes the bow! 

Jack o lantern play dough beans
Sensorial/Art/Fine Motor: Jack-o-Lantern Play Dough Pumpkins 
Manipulating beans is tricky for little hands so I like to include it. Grabbing one bean involves the pincer grasp so it helps getting the writing muscles ready for later. Here, we practiced making designs in our play dough pumpkins. They each have a different emotion (happy, sad, surprised, scared). Many more were done but these were the winners in Z's eyes.

Free stamping Halloween
Art/Fine Motor: Free Stamping with Capped Halloween Stampers
Like most toddlers, Zahavah thrives to become independent. She loves being able to do things herself and feels especially proud when she thinks it was a bit difficult to do a task. These mini Halloween stampers (Oriental Trading Company) were something she really enjoyed and took out several times during the week. I didn't ask her to do anything special with them. She could stamp wherever on her paper and as much as she wanted but she had to remove the caps herself and put them back after she was done using a stamp. I'll be honest, she loved the un-capping and re-capping most of all. We also used this stamping opportunity to discuss the colors the stamps made and the motifs they printed.

pumpkin pony beads
Fine Motor: Make a pumpkin with bony beads
There's a first for everything and this week was the first time Zahavah used tiny pony beads and pipe cleaners together! We actually worked on this activity for three days because our beads were small and she got tired of sliding them down the sticks but on the third day, when we twisted all the pipe cleaners together, squished them a bit and added a green pipe cleaner to the top, she was so proud. I followed Cutesy Crafts' instructions in preparing the orange pipe cleaners (used 2 cut in half and twisted togeher in a star pattern) prior to Z sliding down the first beads so when she first saw the tray, it was only orange beads and an orange pipe cleaner "star".

Hammering spider nails into pumpkin
Practical Life: Hammering spiders into a real pumpkin
Last year, Adrian hammered the spiders into the pumpkin but this year, Zahavah did it. Using a wooden hammer and our metal spiders with a nail on their belly (Oriental Trading Company), Zahavah was unsure it would really work. The pumpkin looked really hard but it worked and she was so happy to help decorate our house. 

Pumpkin seeds in pumpkin ice tray
Math: 1 to 1 correspondence with pumpkin seeds and ice tray
A more hands-on approach to 1:1 math correspondence (no grid game this week!) for Halloween week using a pumpkin ice tray and real pumpkin seeds. One seed per cavity. Once completed, Z had permission to eat all the seeds and so she did... :)

Halloween sensory bin
Sensorial : Halloween Sensory Bin
Shaking things up with a new type of sensory bin this week. At first, Zahavah was unsure about the orange sand. I demonstrated what she could do with the bin and then the interest was strong enough for her to explore it for a good twenty minutes  nearly every day. I provided a small mesh spoon and a small plastic spoon to use with the bin. The stainer was to be used as a sifting tool in case she'd want to bury and say...rescue spiders from the sand and put them in the Halloween pumpkin pail. She could also use the "shovel" and fill the pail with sand and objects and let the sand sift through (there is a small hole at the bottom of the pail). An older toddler can also count objects but we stuck to talking colors and exploration...

Halloween snack toddler prepared
Cooking/Practical Life: Preparing a Halloween Snack
What's more exciting than preparing a snack? Sure helping with lunch and dinner preparation can be fun but preparing a snack is GREAT for toddlers. It doesn't take as much time and the results are practically instant. For Halloween, I thought Zahavah could prepare this simple snack for herself and Adrian (saw this idea on shared Facebook two months ago. Cannot see where it came from originally!). I started peeling the clementine (aka made an opening for further peeling) and let her remove the rest. She then added a piece of romaine lettuce heart in the middle of it. It became a pumpkin! For the two ghosts, I made an incision in the banana and let her peel the rest, then using a plastic, non-serrated knife, I let her cut the banana in half. I provided six chocolate chips and she simply pushed them into the banana. Needless to say, it was the best snack she's had! :) 

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  1. What a terrific week! I love the play dough & bean pumpkins and your healthy snack!

    1. Thank you and thanks for taking the time to comment Jody! I hope this will be a good reference post for future years! :)