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Saturday, October 22, 2016

How to survive Halloween in Kindergarten

I know, I know, everyone LOVES Halloween. But here is my deepest, darkest, secret-I don't.  It wasn't always this way, I mean I love candy, I love hanging out with friends and Halloween is basically kid nirvana. But  I am a kindergarten teacher, and if you teach in an elementary school the treats of Halloween have now become the tricks. It's the hardest 2 days of the year. Yes two days. Halloween is what everyone expects, kids all hyped up but honestly it's the next day that I dread almost as much. The Halloween hangover. The kids stayed up way too late, they are tired, cranky, and ate a snickers bar for breakfast. Halloween is on a Monday this year, that is basically losing the calendar lottery. You'll be staring down the eyes of a long long week.
Here are my tips to get you through
Stick to your routine. I know, I know, you want to have a party or a parade for the little darlings. What child doesn't love the idea of a parade. So do it if you must, but keep it short!!! Take a quick walk to the office and back and call it a parade. Do it at the very end of the day.  You've been warned. Once you get back to the class Elsa will want to take her crown off and chances are it will get lost along with Batman's cape.

There really isn't any way to avoid it, the kids are just too excited not to bring a little Halloween into the class. My answer is Halloween centers. I add a couple simple activities to my centers and call it a celebration.
Here are my favorites: 


Popcorn in a glove. 
I usually bring in an electric stovetop and we pop corn the old fashioned way. In a pot, with oil, and kernels. Most of my kids are from the microwave popcorn generation so they have never felt the thrill of hearing that the oil sizzle and that first kernal pop. To add to the fun I always add a little too many kernals so the cover pops off.
Once the kernals are popped  ( have extra, always have extra) place the popcorn in a glove. Add a candy corn to each finger and you have a fun witches hand. My kids never get tired of this activity. Year after year they just love it.

Carve a pumpkin
Most of my kids have never had the thrill of feeling the slimey goodness of the inside of a pumpkin. This is a real treat. Don't forget to pull down the shades and add a light. The squeals of delight never get old.


Ditch the cupcakes
One of the hardest parts of Halloween is all the junk food. Don't get me wrong I love a snicker bar as much as the next guy, but the mess and hyperness that comes from Halloween cupcakes it a headache in the making. I found this idea from Sparklestosprinkles.com and it's a great idea. I now bring in clear plastic cup and I have the kids draw a creepy face, then we add green grapes to the cup. Tadah Frankenstein snacks!!! Best of all:no one is allergic to grapes. You can also do this with an orange to make a cute Jack-o-Lantern


Add a new center. 
This year I'm adding vamire math task cards with clothespins. Simple to make and fun for the kids. I don't know what it is about clothespin, but any time I put out a center with them, my kids love it. As an added bonus this easy activity increases finger strength. 


Good ol'cut and paste.
 I love color, cut, and paste activities. To be honest a simple coloring page usually lasts about a minute and a half. Once you add in cut and paste you've just increased the time to about 15 minutes. These are perfect for hangover Tuesday. 


Try Google. 
Honestly, I was late to the Google Classroom party but now that I've tried it I just love it. I always thought Google Classroom was for older kids, wow I couldn't have been more wrong. My kids love using the chromebooks and I pads. Using Google Classroom is a dream. I can give the kids an assignment and they sit quietly and complete it. That's worth reading again. They sit quiety while they complete their work.  Google is my new favorite way to end a day, especially a day with lots of excitement. A quiet assignment that the kids love that gives me a few minutes to clean the pumpkin pulp off the table. Everybody wins.


My advice is to enjoy this fun time with the kids. You can give them a day that feels special without making yourself feel exhausted. Remember they will be in on Tuesday, cranky and tired. So pace yourself. Good Luck

6 comments:

  1. Awesome ideas Della - and I love that you called the next day "hangover Tuesday", because it really is!

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  2. Love these ideas - so bright and colourful!

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  3. We recently made the grape monster cups and the kids LOVED them! I love all the great Halloween themed resources you've shared here and the tips on how to help with the 'Halloween Hangover' :)

    Teaching Autism

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  4. I absolutely love the snacks...so cute and clever! Happy Halloween!

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  5. I TOTALLY feel you on how I did not always hate Halloween. Until you have taught a primary grade during Halloween week, you have NO IDEA! I started having my kiddos do centers as well and they loooove them and I love them because it still keeps us in a routine. I love your crafts and center ideas will definitely be using some of them next year.

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