Monday, November 3, 2014

Weekly Learning Theme: Halloween

With Halloween on Friday I decided a week with learning activities created from the Halloween theme would be a lot of fun.  I didn't do a whole lot of planning and just winged a lot of it.  On Tuesday we went to the library to return some books and pick up a book I had on reserve.  As we were walking in I saw a sign for a Halloween-themed story time that evening.  How crazy that we just happened to go to the library that day!  All in all we had a wonderful week!

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:

  1. Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  2. Know names of objects and be able to point to them when asked.
  3. Sort objects based on size or color/Match like objects together, for example match a circle with a circle. 
  4. Play make believe.
  5. Speak in short phrases and 2-4 word sentences. (He's done some 2 word sentences already!)
  6. Follow simple instructions.
  • We went to a Halloween-themed story time at the library.  Costumes were encouraged so Carter and Ty wore their engineer costumes and we loaded Carter into his train stroller and walked to the library.  The librarian read Halloween books and sang some Halloween songs with the kids.  Then there was some time at the end for kids to carve apples, paint a picture, or draw.  Carter and I drew and he mostly just dumped crayons out all over the table.  We had never been to story time at this library and Carter was in awe of the decorations in the room.
Ty and Carter at the library for story time.
  • We practiced trick or treating.  First I showed Carter how to trick or treat by going up to a door, knocking, and saying trick or treat.  Then I gave Carter an empty pumpkin bucket and I filled mine with dinosaur toys.  We started with his Live and Learn Play Home.  I was on one side of the door and had him come up and knock on the other side.  When I opened the door I told him to say trick or treat.  When he did, I gave him a dinosaur in his bucket.  Then I went to different rooms and shut the door to practice.  He did it twice more before getting upset that I was on one side of the door and he was on the other so we stopped.
Checking out the dinosaur he got while trick or treating.
  • One year my room mom wrote numbers on paper pumpkins and did a musical chairs game with the students at our fall party.  After the party she was going to throw them away so I kept them because I can be a bit of a hoarder and hate to see things get wasted.  I pulled them out and made a circle on the ground.  I went through and just used numbers 1-10.  I made the numbers 1-10 on little slips of paper and put them in a basket.  Then I turned on music, stopped it, and showed Carter how to sit down on a number.  I had him pull out a number and we celebrated the number he grabbed.  I modeled for him once and then I just reminded him what to do each time.  I was shocked by how much fun he had!  He would run around the circle and laugh so hard.  Then he'd get so excited no matter what number he pulled out of the basket.  We probably played 10 rounds before he lost interest and just started dancing to the music.
    Listening for the music and ready to run.
Running around the circle.

  • After trick or treating I pulled out 4 each of the following candy: Kit Kats, M&M's, Reese's cups, and 3 Musketeers.  I put one of each candy in a different spot and had Carter sort them based on color.  We talked about what color the wrapper was for each candy bar.  Silver was a new word for him and it was so cute to hear him say it!  Each time we sort based on color, he changes things up a bit.  This time he stacked the candy bars on top of each other.  Then he made different piles closer to him and moved the candy bars I had set out to lay in the correct pile.  Next time we sort based on color I'm going to ask him to do it without starting the piles for him since he seems ready for that.  When we were done I let him pick one candy bar to eat and he chose a Kit Kat.  It's what he chose to eat on Halloween night too and it works well because I can break off just one of the slivers and give it to him, therefore getting 2 treats out of one miniature candy bar! 


  • Last year I saw this really cute post on pinterest and made the ghost footprint.  So I decided to make the spider this year.  We didn't have black paint so I mixed paints and ended up with a little bit of a purple hue to the paint which I thought looked really cool and Halloween-esque, but when it dried it was much lighter and just looked gray.  They still turned out pretty cute!  Carter was desperate to smack his hands on the paper and make a mess so I let him do some free style painting when we finished making the spiders to send out to his family.
Special Snack:
  • I had planned to do the cute little banana ghost where you stick a couple chocolate chips on a banana for eyes and they look like a ghost.  But I forgot to buy chocolate chips and figured I'd use raisins, but wasn't thinking and Carter ate all the bananas before we did it.  Lucky for me Thursday evening I checked my e-mail and I'd gotten a message from IHOP saying they were giving away free scary face pancakes to kids all day on Friday for Halloween!  I had an IHOP gift card my parents gave me for Mother's Day so Carter and I went there for lunch.  He loved his scary face pancake and ate off the mini Oreo and strawberry before starting on the pancake.  I normally don't let him eat stuff like that but I figured it was free and it was Halloween, so what the heck!
He was very excited for his pancake!

Eating a candy corn off the pancake's mouth.
Make Believe:
  • We pretended to trick or treat in order to prepare Carter for actual trick or treating.  I  considered dressing up in costume and pretending his stroller was a train to also be make believe.


  • We had a lot of fun with the songs and found some really good ones on youtube.  When we listened to the skeleton song we pointed to our body parts.  Much to Carter's dismay I always pull the music up on my phone and we just listen to the song, we don't watch the video.  I also had a tape of Wee Sing Halloween one of my co-workers gave me about 6 years ago.  We listened to it during our pumpkin game and also left it on after we finished playing so Carter could dance to it. 

The Skeleton Dance:

Five Creepy Spiders:

Monster Mash:

Ghostbusters Theme Song:
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Trick or treating was our field trip.  Since we had practiced Carter had all the words down and ready.  He could say trick or treat and he knew to say thank you before we had even practiced.  He was so cute going up to the doors and saying trick or treat.  When people let him pick his own candy he would grab some and then put it back in their basket so they'd end up putting candy in his bucket themselves.  They always thought it was so cute how he'd say thank you as we walked away.  He wore his engineer outfit and Ty wore his while pushing the train stroller.  Everyone was very impressed with the train.  Ty even tried out putting a smoke bomb in the smoke stack.  He got it for the race but decided against using it because no one would want to run through the smoke.  Jeremy and Thomas ended up coming trick or treating with us.  Carter had so much fun going down our street that we drove out to one of my friends' neighborhoods to do some trick or treating.  By the time we got there Carter was tired enough he was sucking his thumb rather than saying trick or treat so we hit up one street and headed home.  It was so much fun and I know he'll love it even more next year!
Ready for trick or treating.
He insisted on carrying his empty bucket as well as his bucket full of dinosaurs!
Using his pumpkin flashlight our neighbor gave him.
Ty and Thomas with the smoking train engine!
Knocking on a door during trick or treating.
Getting some candy!


I didn't even bother putting any Halloween books on hold because I figured they would be extremely popular.  Instead I just used all the Halloween books I had for my classroom, which was quite a few!  When we went to the library we went to the Halloween section of the nonfiction section and pulled a couple books that looked good.  We also had a couple books I'd picked up ahead of time as well as a new book from my parents.
  • My First Halloween by Tomie dePaola
  • Hoodwinked by Arthur Howard
  • Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • Say Boo! by Lynda Graham-Barber
  • Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex
  • Fright Night Flight by Laura Krauss Melmed
  • Boo to You! by Lois Ehlert
  • The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
  • Arthur's Halloween by Marc Brown
  • Halloween at Creepy Castle by Alison Inches
  • Clifford's Halloween by Norman Bridwell
  • A Very Scary Haunted House by Joanne Barkan
  • The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat by Stan & Jan Berenstain
  • Franklin's Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
  • Who Said Boo? by Nancy White Carlstrom
  • Halloween Hoots and Howls by Joann Adinolfi
  • The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston
  • Angelina's Halloween by Katharine Holabird
  • Visit a Haunted House by Joseph R. Ritchie
  • The Teeny Tiny Ghost by Kay Winters
  • Little Witch's Big Night by Deborah Hautzig
  • Skeleton's Bones & Goblin Groans by Amy E. Sklansky
  • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee
  • Turtle and Snake's Spooky Halloween by Kate Spohn
  • I Spy A Scary Monster by Jean Marzollo
  • The Candy Witch by Steven Kroll
  • Halloween Songs and Poems by Phoebe Phillips
  • Space Witch by Don Freeman
  • The Witch Next Door by Normal Bridwell
  • How Spider Saved Halloween by Robert Kraus
  • Babar and the Ghost by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Ghosts and Crows and things with O's by Leonard Kessler
  • Dinosaur Halloween by Liza Donnelly 
  • Where's Boo? by Salina Yoon
  • That Terrible Halloween Night by James Stevenson
  • Sheep Trick or Treat by Nancy Shaw
  • Halloween by Josie Keoogh
  • Ragged Shadows by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
  • I Love You, Little Monster by Ellen Weiss
  • The Crow by Alison Paul


  1. I love the trick or treating pictures! Did a ladybug Quinn go with you?

    1. Yes, she did. Ty was planning to take Harper as well but I nixed that right away!

  2. Adorable trick or treating pictures. Glad I got to see some. I liked the smoke coming from the train, cool! Gma