I have some quick tips for you:
- Prepare for the wild days and, especially the surprise days when you need a sub unexpectedly.
- Try a STEM Challenge!
- Use an Escape Room for your party!
- Read scary books (well not too scary, but fun ones)
The Wild Days
I would say the week leading up to October 31st is the wildest week ever in an elementary classroom. What are some ways to keep kids engaged and working on skills? If you use math centers or need independent work while you are teaching small groups then sets of math worksheets or games can be a lifesaver!
TIP: Tame those wild days before Halloween with math pages!
- Great for keeping kids engaged
- Practice and review of skills
- Sub Days!
Believe it or not, STEM Challenges with a Halloween theme are perfect. We have tried several different challenges!
The absolute favorite is a Pumpkin Launcher. The students use some unusual materials to build the launcher and then we add small candy pumpkins as the projectile. Our favorite part of this is building cup structures and trying to knock them down.
The Halloween Maze project is a very calm STEM Challenge. It involves creating a maze and then testing it with a rolling item. You can use marbles, but I found ‘eyeballs’ at the dollar store and that makes the maze even better!
The Pumpkin Elevator is one I use with my 5th graders! They have to create a cranking device to lift a platform they also build. They must raise a small pumpkin with the elevator! We either use small plastic pumpkins or ones you buy in the produce section. We also lifted small black cauldrons full of candy one year!
TIP: Add a STEM Challenge to that week before the 31st!
- STEM Challenges are highly engaging and full of problem-solving.
- Even though the activity may be louder than normal, kids will be busy (and isn’t that what we want at Halloween time!)
- Using a themed project increases the interest level. ( I mean, just think about watching a rolling eyeball zip through a maze.)
Halloween Escape Rooms
- Try an Escape Room as the preliminary to your Halloween Party! Inside the last locked box place a small candy prize- like a bag of candy pumpkins and then have kids design the pumpkin launcher for them!
- I have a free sample from the Halloween Escape Room! It provides you with one of the tasks, the box labels, paper lock strips. a hint card, 2 small certificates, and 2 pages of teacher directions. Click below!
- Halloween Escape Room FREEBIE
Halloween Books to Keep Kids Engaged
Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler
Bonapart is a young skeleton that is literally falling apart. His friends jump in to help him get himself together. Franky Stein tries glue and screws, Mummicula tries a wrap to hold him together, and Blacky Widow gets him tangled in her web. This is a fun book to read – full of puns about bones. Pair it with a skeleton STEM Challenge or Escape Room!
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
Although this book has nothing to do with Halloween it is still a “scary” book. Jasper Rabbit loves carrots and finds himself being stalked by them. He hears them coming or moving with a persistent tunktunktunk and thinks they are everywhere- even in his tub. Kids love this one!
Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting
TIP: Read a book as the introduction to a STEM Challenge or math activity.
- Bonaparte Falls Apart would be the perfect intro for a Skeleton Escape Room. (Links at the end)
- Creepy Carrots is a suspenseful story that has carrots multiplying- perfect for a read-aloud as you start a session of math games- think about the game I mentioned that has students creating arrays.
- Scary, Scary Halloween would be great to read and then challenge students to use the illustrations as inspiration for designing a Halloween maze.