Every year for every holiday classrooms around the nation have parties. Yes parties are fun and the students enjoy them, but don’t you ever get tired of the same old grocery store cupcakes and party games? Don’t you wish that somehow even with the kids having fun they could get something educational out of the experience? This was my train of thinking when I started teaching at-risk kindergarten back in 2007. I knew these kids needed every single opportunity to learn. But I also knew they needed to play and be kids (not always in a structured environment). Letting the kids learn the best way they know how was the only way they were going to “catch up”. And how do kids learn- through play.
Enter onto the stage the class parties. This was an opportune time to allow the kids to play. And if the kids were going to play- I was going to teach. So, here are some of the party games and treats I have used in the past to combine a fun party with educational concepts. Enjoy!
Every child enjoys carving pumpkins so before Halloween I take one day to get parents to come into the classroom and help students carve pumpkins. Remember though it’s not just play- it’s learning. Students explore the pumpkin both inside and out using their senses. Students use math concepts to compare, measure, and carve their pumpkin. Students also use literacy concepts to put all the information in a pumpkin book. If you want to do this activity as well get a FREE pumpkin journal here.
Dress as a Scarecrow:
A favorite Halloween book teachers love to read is, “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything”. After reading this book play a game to see who can get dressed as a scarecrow the fastest. Lay out two sets of clothes (gloves, shirt, pants, hat, and shoes) from the book. Divide the students into two groups. The groups will race dressing, chasing back and forth, and undressing as fast as possible. The first group finished WINS! Not only is this a great book extension but it is also a lot of fun. Students won’t even realize they are learning. For other fun Halloween book extension ideas click here.
This is a fun Halloween game that can easily be turned into a math activity. Set up 10 bowling pins. Students will roll a pumpkin at the pins trying to knock them down. Students can count how many they knocked down and how many are left standing and then make number bond. Older students could take the number bond and then write all the fact family equations. Click the image below to get a FREE recording sheet.
Handing out candy is a popular Halloween party activity. If you are going to hand out candy why not play a game and make the kids work for it. This Trick-or-Treat card game allows students to practice letter names and sounds as they earn candy. Every time the students see the candy card they yell “TRICK-OR-TREAT” and get a piece of candy. Move quickly placing cards behind so they never run out to pass out as much candy as possible. Need it for older kids? Try playing the same game with sight words. For more directions and printable cards click here.
There are so many fun Halloween songs that students can listen to, act out, or follow along to. Spend a few minutes teaching the words of a song before playing music in the background or using it for a cake walk. The couple minutes of instruction will go a long way as students sing along with the music increasing the language and listening skills. If you need a fun Halloween song try, “3 little witches”, or “5 little pumpkins”. If you want a song poster or flannel board pieces for the songs you can get them here.
As a fun snack make witches brew. Print off the following recipe. Then have students read the recipe, measure and count the ingredients, and mix it together before enjoying their treat. Once again, it’s not just about having fun- it’s learning while having fun.
If you need other fun Halloween related ideas try a pumpkin craftivity, easy pumpkin bread, jack-o-lantern shapes, and other fun activities here.
One more FREEBIE: Want a way for students to record which activity stations they have completed? Use this fun skeleton recording card. Students collect bones from each activity to build their own Halloween Skeleton Card. This makes a cute Halloween Card that once completed you can write a short note on and send home with a bag of goodies. I hope you enjoy these fun Halloween party ideas. And hopefully your next party has a little learning mixed in with all the play. Enjoy!