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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Turn Halloween Anticipation Into Educational Fun

Children love Halloween! It’s a time of great excitement and anticipation for young students. Starting early in the school year they see costumes, decorations, candy, and all other things Halloween in stores and advertisements. Parents can use this heightened awareness to engage children by practicing skills based on Halloween themes.

Here are three simple educational games that promote math, fine motor skills, and reading. These activities capture your child’s attention and make learning fun:

  • Draw four or five different-sized pumpkins on pieces of 8½ x 11 paper. They can range from 8 inches to 1 inch in diameter. Have your child color them orange then cut them out. Compare and contrast the pumpkins by having her line them up, left to right, from smallest to largest, then largest to smallest. Remove one, and try it again. Have her explain to you why she put them where she did. Reinforce the words “greater than” and “less than.”
  • When carving a real pumpkin together, remove the seeds. Wash and dry them. On a cookie sheet or plate, use the seeds to practice addition and subtraction skills. Say a simple problem, such as “What does five seeds plus four seeds equal?” or “I had 10 seeds. I dropped six. How many do I have left?” Have your child show you the solutions using the pumpkin seeds.
  •  Have a family Halloween treasure hunt. The treasure could be a small amount of Halloween candy or stickers. For younger children, use one or two clues to find the treasure. For older children, use three to five clues. Make the clues rhyme—by writing and reading rhymes, you are promoting phonemic awareness skills. Treasure hunts also promote the value of thinking, following directions, and puzzle solving. If necessary, read the clues to younger children. Write them out for older children to read and follow. For example:

Clue 1: “To find the treasure you must be bold. Look where it’s very cold!” (the freezer)

Clue 2: “The next clue can be found where stories are read. Look below your very own ______!” (bed)

Blending educational activities into seasonal holidays makes learning connections real and meaningful.

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#1 Kim T 2012-10-22 02:00
Joshua & Zoe will love these! Thanks :-)

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