Monday, November 15, 2010

Worming Our Way

My theme for this year's Halloween Party was 'Creepy Crawly'. We had made spider webs the day before in a really easy, super fun craft suggested (at the last minute!) by my awesome neighbor. You can see our webs sticking out of the basket in the above picture. We put a piece of black paper in a small plastic tote, put a about a teaspoon of watered down tempra in the middle of the paper and then added three marbles. The kids loved tipping the tote back and forth to make the marbles roll through the paint to 'weave' their web. It turned out so well! I think watering down the paint is essential. If it is too thick, it is too hard to get nice lines from the marble. We let them dry overnight. Then, on party day, we talked about spiders, how they make webs and what they use them for. We talked about how spiders hide in their webs until an unsuspecting bug gets caught. Then we added 4, 6, or 8 (spiders have a lot of eyes) sparkle stick on jewels to our web so it looks like the spider is hiding but just peeking out. The kids LOVED it.
Next, I had a counting activity with 3 spiders who had lost their legs! We added them (up to eight on each) and kept a tally for each spider and a total tally. It was a good challenge for those kids who are learning numbers past 20 and a great review for everyone on numbers 1-8.
I tried so hard to find a tarantula to come to class on party day! But, alas, no spider to be found. Then, just a week after the party my husband went on a trail run where he saw a tarantula!
"Did you catch it for me?" I asked. He knew how bad I had wanted one for preschool.
"Um, NO! It was HUGE! And it was jumping toward me."
"That would have made it easier to catch."
"In WHAT exactly?"
"Uh, your shirt, your shoe, your sock, ANYTHING!"
[Husband walking away shaking head]
Here is our Tic-Tac-Toe and our spider game (pre-play).

But, let's back up. When the kids came in, I took a picture of them in their costumes and then handed them a pumpkin painted with chalkboard paint. They could decorate and color all they wanted while the others trailed in. Once everyone was there, we did a shape review and practiced drawing shapes on our pumpkins to make jack-o-lantern faces. Drawing a triangle on a pumpkin with chalk is harder than it looks, but none of them wanted to stop.

Of course, everyone's favorite part of the party was Tic-Tac-Toe. What a great game to learn strategy! Almost none of them seemed to know how to play so we started with a life-size version. I taped off a large tic-tac-toe board on the carpet and handed each kid a ghost (we called them BOOS) or a Jack-o-latern(JACKS) picture. Then, we played as a group. After a few rounds, I handed out what I will refer to as 'my Halloween masterpiece'. Sadly, it is not too impressive, but it took A LOT of time. I made a tic-tac-toe set for each child. Each set is a cotton, fabric bag with a tic-tac-toe board in felt on one side. The bag closes with velcro and inside are the hand painted taws. I have been wondering for months what I could do with the beautiful horse chesnuts that fall from my neighbor's tree each year. It seems like such a waste to through them out. Or maybe I have become too much of a hoarder since doing preschool. Either way, I had my husband and daughter collect a large bag and I hand painted 85 of them. Half jacks and half boos. I would suggest spray painting them if you try this. The painting took a long time. Also, the paint has not stayed on as well as I would like, but, the kids LOVED playing with them and were happy to be able to take one home.

The bags have cute polka-dots on the other side but I guess that wasn't documented. Ah, well.

Spooky snacks! I didn't want anything that was 1. actually looking like a severed hand or the like. I mean, they are 4! or 2. was too sugary. They will get enough candy that week. I did have to compromise a little in the hot dog, but I just HAD to have a worm. . .keep reading to find out why!
Our menu:
Eye balls (sushi rice balls with thinly sliced carrot and black gel)
Pumpkin poop (baby carrots **this was a fav because normally 'potty talk' is not allowed in preschool!)
Bat droppings (raisens)
Bat wings (Korean style nori sheets ** not pictured because they got eaten too fast!)
worms in mummy brains (grilled hot dogs cut in quarters length wise on a slab of Napa cabbage)
Ancient mummy bones (walnuts)
Ghost blood (jello **which almost no one ate. It was 'all natural' and it was disgusting. . .even for jello)

WORMS! I saw this on a few months ago and had to try.
We talked about worms, what they eat, how they look, what they do to help the garden, etc. Then, I brought out a sheet with rocks in one corner, flour in one and wet dirt in the other. I asked them what kind of a place a worm would want to live. We thought the flour would make them cough, dry up and be itchy. They thought the rocks would be cold and not have food. They thought the worms would like the mud because it is slimy like the worm. Then, I put REAL WORMS in the middle and we watched. It. Was. Awesome. Worked like a dream. The worms wriggled over the flour and recoiled as if on cue. Then crawled in and right back out of the rocks, and then over to the dirt where then dug, hid and stayed.
To my surprise, all the kids asked to hold the worms. Since they only came in a pack of 24, there were plenty to go around. They were gentle, and loved watching how they move, how they feel and and of course, anything with mud is a bonus.

The next day of class we read "Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronan. I wish I would have had it the day of the party, but. . .there wasn't enough time anyway.
By the way, I love Doreen Cronan. Her farm books are hilarious.

Take home pumpkin. I put two pieces of white chalk in a small, clear bag and attached a tag I printed from here, then looped it around the stem.

Other take homes:
Tic-tac-toe set
goody bag with playdough, silly bands, halloween slinky (no candy)
Spider web craft

We really wormed our way into Halloween this year.   Hope you had a great one!

No comments:

Post a Comment