## 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.

More Halloween activities and worksheets

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## GoodNCrazy Mom Says Happy Father’s Day, and Thanks, To Mr. GoodNCrazy

Dear Hubby,

I'd like to say thanks. And Happy Father’s Day

Thanks for being a great husband, dad, and all around great foot warmer.

I married you nearly 18 years ago for your humor and your Diet Coke addiction. (Well, not exactly the Diet Coke but you know what I mean...)

The laughter and the good times have been worth it. And I'd do it all over again. (But not the stinky studio in Brooklyn; could we skip that one?)

Thanks for your love of music. (80s hair bands not included! YUCK.) But the kids have all learned to love Dr. Demento songs—thanks to you teaching them “Dead Puppies.” And because of your love of all things Broadway, I can safely say we are that family: the one seen driving down I-5 with all of us singing show tunes at the top of our lungs.

Thanks for making Halloween AMAZING every single year. For being Tweedle Dee to my Tweedle Dum, for being Willie Wonka with weird purple gloves, and for that one year when you were my ugly stepsister (I've GOT to find those photos and share with the world!) BTW, what’re we doing this year? SHHH it’s a secret!!

Thanks for being Mr. Mom every once in a while. For doing the laundry. For taking out the garbage cans. For Saturday morning breakfasts. Thanks for putting the kids to bed when I’m exhausted. Thanks for all the times you took one look at the “goodncrazy” messed up house and did not say: “What have you been doing all day?!” You know a crazy house means happy kids, despite a frazzled mom.

Thanks for allowing me to chase my own crazy dreams. I’m braver because of you. I’m better because of you. And I’m definitely sillier because of you. And best of all I get to grow old with you, my number one dream.

When you travel I miss all the big and small things. I miss your smile in the morning. I miss seeing you read the newspaper cover to cover. I miss watching bad action movies with you. I miss your mad dancing skillz. But we both know I miss your nighttime feet warming skillz the most!

Especially thanks for going off to work, day in and day out. The kids and I appreciate that you bring home the bacon and keep on doing it with a smile, year after year. When we decided way back when that you would apply to law school, I asked: “Are you okay being the one who will work for the rest of our married life? Are you up for that?” And you said “yes.” And that's what you’ve been doing for 18 years.

I first loved you in Salt Lake City, then in Brooklyn, then in Long Island, then in Maplewood, then back in Utah…and now, I love you in Oregon. Sandals, socks and everything!! S.W.A.K.

Happy Father's Day!

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