- Topic: Counting. Book: How Many Donkeys? An Arabic Counting Tale, by MacDonald. In this simple book a man can’t figure out if he has 9 or 10 donkeys because he keeps forgetting to count the donkey he is riding. The kids caught on quickly and laughed whenever he got it wrong.
- Topic: Maps, Spatial Reasoning, Logic: Fill in a map of a treat-or-treating neighborhood based on the following clues. Here is the clipart we used: halloweencharacters.
- Directly to the West of your house is the Witch’s house.
- The Zombie house is 2 houses West of the Witch’s house.
- Olaf’s house is across the street from the Zombie’s house.
- Elsa’s house is directly South of the Witch’s house.
- The pumpkin house is directly East of your house.
- The Spider house is on the very West end of the South side of the street.
- The Butterfly is scared of the Spider. The Butterfly’s house is on the same side of the street as the Spider’s, but as far away as possible.
- The Goblin is between the Zombie and the Witch.
- The skeleton is directly across the street from the Spider.
- Next to Elsa’s house is a Graveyard that takes up two houses.
- The Ladybug’s house is right next to the Butterfly’s.
- The Fairy can fly right across the street to the Ladybug’s house.
- The Wizard’s house is East of the Fairy’s.
- Anna’s house is next to Elsa’s house.
3. Topic: Estimation, Subtraction. Guess how much candy is in a container. Then put the same candy in a shallower container and guess again. Then count the candy and figure out whose guesses were the closest.
4. Topic: Logic. Tape a Halloween character to each kid’s head. Then the kids ask each other yes/no questions to figure out who they are. The hardest part of the game is not telling your friends what is written on their heads.
How did it go?
I wore my witch costume during circle, and I organized it so the kids would get to ‘trick or treat’ after completing each activity from my bucket of small prizes and candy.
Each clue was pretty easy for kids, especially after they understood what phrases like “directly West” means. The hardest clue was: “The Spider house is on the very West end of the South side of the street.” Two of the kids figured it out on their own. The other two needed some help from their friends to understand the “south side of the street”.
The kids were very excited to see so much candy, especially when I told them that the person who guesses closest would get to trick or treat twice after the activity. Interestingly, the guesses did not get closer after I spread out the candy. Most second guesses were at least as wrong as the first guess. I guessed after the candy was spread out (and I got within 2 of the correct number).
After everyone wrote down their guesses I asked the kids to count the candy. They immediately began discussing counting strategies. They eventually decided to sort the candy by type and then count each type. However, they soon realized that some types had too many pieces to be easily counted, and they didn’t know how to add the results anyway. So they switched to counting each piece of candy as it was thrown back into the tub. Two kids both wanted to throw in candy and everyone ended up missing a bunch of pieces when the two throwers could not coordinate. They came up with 67 pieces, but I counted it again and found 72 pieces.
Halloween Twenty Questions
The kids loved seeing costumes taped to their friends’ heads, especially when one boy got ‘Princess Leia’. I told them at the start that it is very important not to tell your friends what is written on their heads, and the kids did pretty well at this. However, some kids asked questions like “Am I a zombie?” because they saw “Zombie” on their friend’s head. The hardest to get turned out to be superman. The kid knew he was a strong hero who wears red and blue, and has an S, and has a cape, but couldn’t think of superman. Everyone else figured theirs out eventually (with some hints from me about what questions to ask). Everyone really enjoyed this activity. At the end, we had five minutes left so one of the kids moms played and had to figure out she was a pumpkin. The kids loved hearing her questions and shouting out answers. “Can you eat me?” “Yes, but it’s yucky and too chewy!”