Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monsters, Haunted Houses, and a SPOOKTACULAR time in Room F- Teacher Jennifer

Halloween is one of our favorite times of year in the classroom! According to an article titled "How Halloween Works" by Tom Harris,  Halloween seems to serve a valuable function for many children and adults.  It fills our basic need to address the mysteries that frighten us and even celebrate them.  It is a real testament to the power of Halloween traditions that they have been passed down and embraced by so many generations.  We definitely have special Halloween traditions in our classroom this time of year that continue to be embraced with enthusiasm!

Teacher Lisa and I love to make the room as "spooky" as we can...preschool style!  Every area of our room is thoughtfully assembled with toys, manipulatives, and experiences that scream "HALLOWEEN!"

The water table was a great place to integrate science, fine motor skills, and sensory play!  Our first experience had various Halloween items such as spiders, bats, skeletons, and eyeballs frozen inside big chunks of ice shaped like spider webs and skulls.  The children needed to "melt" the ice using water, pipettes, and salt!  

We followed up with this activity using the same spiderweb and skull mold.  They were set with Knox gelatin which created the ultimate Halloween "Jello Jiggler!"  The childen carefully inserted pipettes filled with liquid watercolors and watched the colors spread on the inside of the mold.

After the enthusiasm and strength of preschool hands got a hold of the jello mold, it quickly turned into a soup!  The children loved squishing the big chunks of gelatin through their fingers and adding spooky items to make it fit for a monster!

The next sensory experience in the table was a big pot of white ghost oobleck.  This simple recipe of equal parts cornstarch and water provides endless opportunities to use the small finger muscles to dig, pull, and lift this hard, yet super slimy medium.  We found by adding more water to the top and offering the children cinnamon to sprinkle in for a more appealing scent, it invited more children to play!

 Monster soup was our last recipe for the water table.  We incorporated cold noodles, eyeballs, bats, spiders, and skeletons for the children to stir and use tongs to fill bowls.

Our light table offered a clear slime filled with bats, spiders, and ghosts for the children to lift, drip, and ooze over the warmth of the table.

At our middle table, we created a "micro play scene" for the children to act out trick-or treating using toys, pick pumpkins from a pumpkin patch, and "decorate" a house to make it spooky.  This is a great environment for children to not only interact with each other, but to verbalize and work through any anxiety and/or excitement they may have around this time of year.  

Both classes worked on strengthening fine motor skills with many different experiences using scissors, learning how to tear and cut colored masking tape, figuring out lacing cards, and peeling stickers.  

One of the Older Class traditions at Small Friends is to create a Haunted House out of wood scraps, glue, paint, embellishments, and a WHOLE LOT OF IMAGINATION!! It is a project that takes a full week to complete.  After reading through the stories  A Dark, Dark Tale and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, the children got to work!

Day 1:  Design and build your house.

Day 2:  Paint your house with Halloween colors.

Day 3:  Add spooky embellishments, dictate a story about your house to a teacher for your portfolio, and smile!  We showcased our haunted houses for parents at the end of the day so all could be admired before the houses went home with children.

Haunted Houses and embellished structures came alive at the block area.  We were so impressed when the children asked to use the loose parts to "decorate" the houses.


After building haunted houses, we decided that it would be a great idea to create some magic potions, just like some of the witches in our stories!  This is another wonderful Small Friends tradition.  We combined science (oil + water + an Alka Seltzer Tablet), mystery, and a magic wave of a wand for potions to come to life!

In the younger class, we captivated our love for the story GO AWAY BIG GREEN MONSTER and created fold over monsters on the first day and added the features from the story the following day.  Watching the children participate in every step and being SO excited with the finished product was delightful!

The Shape Monster gave us a visit at the math table and was gentle when the preschoolers fed him different shapes for lunch!  Monsters also came alive at the play dough table and at the block area.

The Younger Class also learned a new painting technique.  We used fly swatters dipped into paint to *smack* a pumpkin.  These pumpkins will be used in their nursery rhyme books to illustrate "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater."  We practiced this rhyme at group time using our own pictures!

Pumpkins were everywhere before Halloween!  We observed them.  We pounded nails into them.  We carved into them. 

The older class worked on building pumpkin houses out of toothpicks and pumpkin gumdrops.  We most definitely have some engineers in our class!  

The tone and anticipation was set for the Halloween Party......stay tuned!