Using holidays like Halloween as a theme for great learning activities is a sure fire hit in my house. My daughter who is 2 is always excited to do any project but my almost 6 year old is a lot more picky. This Halloween math activity was such a hit that when I asked my son to rate it 1-100 he gave it a 100 without hesitation! Better yet it’s pretty easy to make , adapt for various levels and frugal too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper , markers , white card stock ( or paper plates !), scissors, painter’s tape and something to attach the house to a wall. I used push pins but more painter’s tape would work too.
- Cut out simple ghost shapes from the paper plates / card stock. Add faces and numbers. I did 1-10 but you can write whatever numbers your child is working on.
- Draw a haunted house on craft paper. Mine took 3 tries the first was so bad I should have taken a picture to make you all laugh. The other ones became coloring paper for my toddler.
- Write out simple equations , number words or even just numbers to match up. You will see further down that for a toddler like my daughter you don’t even need anything to match. Just play with the numbers on the ghosts.
- Add painter’s tape to the ghosts and on the haunted house where you will place the equations.
- Add the equations to the house, put the ghosts next to it ready to be put in the house and call your little mathematician.
- As soon as my son saw the activity he said it was too easy and it probably was. I grabbed my iPhone and asked him if he wanted me to time him. His face lit up. I don’t suggest timing children who don’t want to be timed or who will feel negatively pressured . Matching the words with the numbers on the ghosts was an easy task for my son but he has a competitive spirit and timing him made it more fun because it made it challenging.
- He flew through it. Placing the ghosts on top of the matching words.
- Next I switched the words on the house to simple equations. These were not going to be as easy and I told him for this time we would not be timing it. I think that if I’d done the harder task first he would have gotten frustrated when a few of the harder equations didn’t come to him immediately.
- After my son was done I removed all the tape and equations so the house was clear , and put the ghosts back on the wall. Then invited my daughter who is 2 to come and put the ghosts in the haunted house. It was perfect for her. She grabbed the ghosts and named the numbers she knew and asked me to confirm the numbers she didn’t. She was very specific about where they should be. I was thrilled that they both had fun with math at their own levels of learning!
Ghosts In The House
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling. My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive. I loved the simple black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the little girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” . Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!This post contains an affiliate link.
Build Your Own Haunted House!
I have been itching to do another magnetic build your own craft after the huge response to the Build Your Own Robot . This seemed like the perfect opportunity since the foam pieces can be used like blocks to build a custom haunted house in time for Halloween. I made this craft, my son did none of it. Actually I lie, he cheered me on “Nice window mama!” while eating his morning oatmeal. He did how ever play with it, a lot! This would make a fun independent Halloween craft for a school age child too.
- Gather you materials. You will need some sparkly sticky back foam in black, red and silver, magnets ( mine are also stick back), scissors , a marker and a cookie sheet or magnetic fridge. ** Word about magnets. Magnets are not toys and should not be played with my little people who could swallow them. If you have a little person who eats things ( or could) please be sure to use large flat magnetic tape not these round magnets. I would be devestated if anyone was ever hurt from one of my crafts, especially a child.
- Draw the shapes you will be using for the house on the backing of the foam. On the black I made a large rectangle for the house, 2 smaller squares for the 2 wings of the house, a small rectangle for the tower and a triangle for the roof. I made 2 slanted red squares for windows , a door and 2 tiny squares for the tower windows. I drew two long strips of silver, a ghost and a moon. Do not worry about making mistakes drawing, no one will ever see it.
- Cut the pieces out. And piece it together for a trial run.
- Put together the main house piece.
- Now the wings with windows.
- The tower
- The moon and ghost ( add eyes with left over black foam)
- Add the magnets.
- Play !!
Wake the Dead by Monica A Harris is a fantastically “pun”ny book! Based around the old saying ” You are going to wake the dead” this book takes that saying and runs with it. Henry is a loud kid and is warned over and over that his noise will wake the dead. Not going to happen right? Wrong! In this book the dead do wake and explore every bad pun around the word “dead” you can think of. The thing is , it’s done is a fun and effective way. My son is too young for this book but an older child could go hog wild looking up the origins of all these sayings, thinking up their own and using the context to try to figure out any they are unfamiliar with. The illustrations by Susan Estelle Kwas are surprisingly expressive considering most of the subjects are skelletons, I love the clothes the “dead” are wearing too! Very cute and useful book!
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling! My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive. I loved the simple black and orange colors and had to look at the copywrite twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the litt;e girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” . Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!
The Costume Copycat by Maryann MacDonald is more about sibling rivalry than Halloween but brilliant none the less. There are two sisters and each Halloween something happens to thrust the older sister into the spotlight leaving her little sister in her shadow feeling jealous and frustrated. Never is the older sister boastful or mean , it’s mostly just luck, or rather the younger sister’s bad luck that keeps her from shining. It’s hard to be the little sister ( trust me) especially when your older sibling is good at everything, and this book manages to get to the root of that emotion. When the younger sister finally does feel like the spotlight is on her she remembers how she felt and shares her bounty with her sister. Sweet book.