How To Use Halloween Candy For Learning

halloween candy activities for learning These 7 posts all focus on different things, counting, color matching, threading, writing, painting, and even science! I LOVE Halloween candy and I am not talking about eating it. I am talking about how effective a little novelty can be to spark your child’s interest in learning. I like doing candy related ideas after Easter and Halloween when we already have the candy and I want to USE it up. I get asked a lot when I post marshmallow crafts how I keep my kids from eating too much while playing. Well usually ( this didn’t work one time with my daughter) I set aside a small bowl with a reasonable amount of candies and tell them if they don’t eat the candy we are playing with they can have the small bowl when we are done. It usually works. An alternative could be that for every candy they sneak you remove one from their after activity stash. It’s never been a huge issue though, they are too busy having fun.

Here are 7 fun ideas for Halloween candy learning !

candy experiments from teachmama.com

Candy Experiments from Teachmama.com

Thanksgiving Math with Candy Corn

Candy Corn Counting

beading with twizzlers

Twizzlers Necklace

treat tally for halloween

Treat Tally Printable from PBS Parents <—- print this out NOW and keep count of your candy from last night!

skittle paint from teachpreschool.org

How To Make Skittle Paint from Teach Preschool

use skittles and m&ms for math

Candy Apple Trees ( great for M&Ms and Skittles!)

estimation ars filled with candy

Estimation Jars with Candy

 

How do YOU use candy for learning? Tell us and link your ideas in comments!

Cork Board Spider Web Craft

spider web craft for halloween This spider web craft is not only an adorable addition to your Halloween craft display ( am I the only one with a mantel full of kid made stuff? ) it is also a wonderful activity that develops the pincer grasp , a major part of fine motor skills. By pushing those thumbtacks in, pulling them out, and repositioning them your child will be developing these skills. Wrapping the yarn takes major concentration and I am glad it did. I would watch frustration levels and be there to offer help if needed but my ” I will do it with NONE of your help Mama” 4 year old managed even if she went at it a different way than I would have.

Test our your cork to make sure the thumbtacks are nice and snug and please only use these tacks with children who are absolutely not going to put them in their mouths. They can be very dangerous if swallowed. Always be in arms reach and carefully watching.

Gather your materials. You will need a cork hot plate ( from IKEA), some thumbtacks, yarn, and a plastic spider. spider web craft supplies

Start by pushing in the thumbtacks. spider web craft geoboardWhen I explained the idea to my daughter I said the spider needs a web and that the tacks will make the edges of the web, the yarn will be the threads. She went to town adding tacks. spider web craft for kids fine motor development

Next cut a length of yarn long enough to make a good web, but short enough for a child to handle. Tie it onto a tack. cork board spider web craft

Wrap! spider web yarn art for kidsWhen she started wrapping it was all loosey goosey and I interfered. I didn’t want it to frustrate her when it was all slack. I shouldn’t have stepped in because she had a plan and really it’s NOT my web. I was the only thing frustrating her. Luckily she is almost as subtle about her feelings as I am and told me in no uncertain terms to back off. I did. It’s hard sometimes not to jump in and I find it’s way way easier not to when it’s your students than when it’s your own kid. I know this lesson will pop up in all sorts of arenas over the next dozen or so years. Back off. Got it… I hope.

It took her a minute ( and I stayed quiet letting her be) but she got the hang of wrapping, of how she had to hold the cork still, and wrap the yarn, pulling it tight.

spider web activity

When the web is complete it’s time to add the spider.

 

 

Easy NO MESS Pumpkin Carving

no mess pumpkin carving for kids It takes a lot of skill to carve a pumpkin, it also takes a very sharp knife. Two things that young children don’t often have. I am all for giving children tools they can use to create what they want to create and in a few days I will be carving two HUGE pumpkins with my children’s help but neither of them are ready to do it solo yet. They were ready to help me design and cut out the foam pieces, and pop them on to the pumpkins. Not only does this easy no mess pumpkin carving craft let kids decorate them themselves, they also get to make something that would be very tricky even for me to do with a knife. Like a Minecraft creeper or princess. A huge bonus for us is that these pumpkins won’t mold before Halloween!

Gather your materials. You will need some sticky back foam, scissors, and pumpkins. You may also want a tray to pop all the face pieces in. We decided what we wanted to make ( classic Jack-O-Lantern, princess, ghost, and creeper) before we picked out our pumpkins but you can do it anyway you want.no mess pumpkin carving for kids

Cut out the shapes you need for the faces and pop them in a tray.no mess pumpkin carving for kids and toddlers

Start creating.no mess pumpkin carving for children In a classroom I would have all sorts of face pieces available with zero pre-planned designs. no mess pumpkinsMy kids and I thought this activity up together so they had ideas set before we made the shapes. Have a mix of everything if you are doing this with a group.no mess creeper pumpkin

Peeling the backing off and placing the sticky foam is not without worth, it uses fine motor skills and takes concentration to place it properly.no mess ghost pumpkins

My son was thrilled to find a green pumpkin to make his creeper.no mess creeper jack-o-lantern

And look NO MESS!no mess pumpkin carving for kids & toddlers

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links to items used ( or very similar items) in the tutorial above.
Sticky-Back Glitter Foam
Sticky Back Foam Sheets

Easy Bat Craft

easy bat craft This Halloween craft was so much fun to make. It’s quick which is really our only option most days, is it just me or do you get exponentially busier the older your kids get?  We’ve been meaning to get all Halloween crafty but time has been super short. This easy bat craft is the perfect quick Halloween craft for busy families. Don’t miss out on the books about bats after the craft tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need some black paper or card stock, some googly eyes ( if you have red ones all the better), scissors, clothes pins, a silver sharpie or crayon, a black crayon, and glue. easy bat craft for kids

Start by having your child color the clothespin with the black crayon. Easy Bat Craft by no time for flash cardsThis is tricky for little guys but encourage them to try because it’s great practice controlling a writing tool. My 4 year old thought that it might be easier to peel the whole crayon but it wasn’t. Still I never stop her from peeling crayons because it’s such a great fine motor activity.bat craft for kids

While they do that you can cut out some bat wings and a bat head.I folded my black paper and made cut out the wings free hand the head is just a circle with two pointy ears. Do not worry about perfection. Older kids could  draw the head and wings and cut them out problem.easy bat craft for kids

Time to decorate the wings! A silver sharpie is a coveted item at our house and she loves using it for crafts, I love how it looks against the black paper.easy halloween bat craft

Glue eyes on the head. She opted to hold each tiny eye and add glue to it.simple bat craft for Halloween Such a change from her brother who would drop huge globs of glue onto things calling them bombs. easy bat craft for preschool

Clip the wings on and then clip on the head. The extra glue from the eyes should glue the clothespin shut but if there was no extra glue you can add a little dab to the clothespin.clothespin bat craft for kids

Let dry and display!clothes pin bat crafts I love using kid made Halloween crafts for decor, not only is it fun to bring them out year after year but it let’s your children show off their creations. Easy bat craft for kids

 

Books about Bats

All book lists include affiliate links.

stella luna

Stellaluna by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who loses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book.

rp_there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-bat-240x300.jpg

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost, and of course a bat.  She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read. { Reviewed originally in 2009 when my son was 3 } 

My First Batman Book

My First Batman Book: Touch and Feel by David Katz. This is a rare find. A board book , a touch and feel no less,  about Batman. Trust me it’s rare, I squealed when I found it at the library and could not believe what a treat it was to read with both my kids. It’s not secret my son ( the one in the improvised Batman mask above) is into superheroes, he is also into books and I want to encourage that. However some of the books are so violent and I don’t want to expose him to all that at 4.5 , he is just too young for my comfort zone. For beginning readers there are some great I Can Read books but for even younger children pickings are super slim. Luckily there is this book. It’s sturdy, it’s age appropriate and it even glows in the dark. { Originally reviewed in 2010 }

Quick Link Supply List

Here are links to the supplies ( or similar ones) I used in the post above.  Supply lists include affiliate links.

Black Paper
Clothespins
Googly Eyes
Scissors
Elmer’s Washable No-Run School Glue
Sharpie Metallic

 

Spider Web Walking Spelling Game

spider web balance game for preschool One of our most popular posts ever is our Spider Web Walking and the other night while looking through pictures my 4 year old asked me if she could try that game. She was tiny when we did it the first ( and 2nd) times. So we got our stuff together and made a huge spider web to balance on but since my daughter had been asking to learn how to spell all her imaginary friends’ names I decided to turn it into a spelling game. You have to stay balanced on the web without stepping in the letters while you gather all the letters needed to spell the name ( or word). We were just matching up letters but when my son had his turn after he got home from school he had no visual as a guide, he just found the letters he needed and spelled the name without a guide. Easy to adapt is a must with a 4 and almost 8 year old.

Gather your materials. You will need some letter magnets ( or letters written out on paper), painter’s tape, card stock, a marker, scissors. Something that came up in a facebook thread is that children should be using lowercase letters. This will depend on the curriculum you are using. Some districts follow Upper than lower, some follow lower then upper and I personally have always followed the child. I teach my children to recognize the letters in tandem as well as my students. Letters in both forms are everywhere and recognizing them both is great. By the time children are working with word families they know both upper and lowercase letters, and I had uppercase ones on hand so I grabbed them. I wasn’t worried my daughter was getting confused, however in a class I would probably have shelled out more money and get some lowercase magnets! web walking spelling game

Start by writing out the names or words on card stock ( I use sentence strips from the dollar store). Cut so they are one per piece of card stock. web walking spelling activity

Tape out your spider web and add letters making sure you have put out the letters needed for the word you have asked your child to spell.spider web game

Start walking on the web.web walking gross motor activity

Balance to the word or name and read it. web walking for halloween game

Then gather the letters placing them on the written out word. web walking is fun gross motor activity for preschoolWhen every letter is matched up you walk off the web and let someone else have a turn or switch up words. web walking spelling game for kids

It’s very very tricky to bend down and get all the letters without touching extra letters but your kids will love the challenge! spider web walking game for kidsWe covered 3 names before having to run to the bus stop to get my son who promptly announced ” I did that before, let me try!” They kept playing happily long enough for me to get dinner started and read a little before any arguments began. web walking for elementary spelling game

 

Quick Link Supply List
This list is of the supplies I used ( or very similar). This list contains affiliate links.
Magnetic Wooden Alphabet
Sentence Strips
FrogTape

 

Books About Spiders

All our book lists include affiliate links.

spider

The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !

diary of a spider

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin is a very clever book with some pretty funny bits of humor . Older preschoolers will love it. The overall theme is that spiders aren’t all nasty and that they have fears too. What a great lesson for kids that are at the age where they are not as eager to share their fears because they don’t want to look weak or unable to handle things themselves.

missspider

Miss Spider’s Abc Book by David Kirk has the most vivid and beautiful illustrations. The text is simple and flows well but the value is in the illustrations, they cover all sorts of bugs and are so bright that they will appeal to your child!