Tons of Halloween Center Activities!

We are going to be having so much fun the next two weeks! We are hitting our standards hard, BUT in totally playful ways that my students love! Recently Oriental Trading invited me to try out some of their products in my classroom in return for an honest review. Here's what I picked:

Oh my gosh! These little stamps are so cute AND they're perfect for making patterns. As long as you press firmly, they show up great! My little Kats had a great time with them - and although I started off just asking them to make an AB pattern, several of them soon branched out and created AABB, ABB and even ABC patterns on their own! Each pack of Halloween Stampers contains 24 stamps which means even if a cap or two gets left off (it always happens!) you'll have plenty left for centers!

I love, love, love these Shape Spiders! First, they're super easy to put together and come with extra pieces just in case some gets overzealous when peeling off the backing of the stickers. They're made of foam and have a good size magnet - I used hot glue to make sure the magnet stayed put! This is one of my white boards in class and I am the proud artist of the web - I'm actually shocked that it turned out so well since I usually can't draw at all lol! First we used our spiders for shape recognition, and then we used them to practice our positional words! For example, my Kats would have to tell me where the Rectangle Spider is on the web, in relation to another spider, so "The Rectangle Spider is UNDER the Triangle Spider!" They come 12 to a pack, so just 2 packs and I had enough for my whole class to have one to take home to practice positional words with their families!

I also got these Spooky Finger Eye Rings, which of course we're going to be using to find letters in our big books! These are sure to make our Big Book Center a popular center - I love fun things like that can motivate kids so easily! These come with a dozen in a bag, so it's perfect for small groups or center activities!

These Candy Corn Weaving Mats may present a bit of a challenge to my kiddos, but luckily they come with 24 in a pack, so they should last until Halloween. This is a great fine motor exercise, and the paper is sturdy enough that my 2 year old could manipulate it without ripping it!
I am so looking forward to our lesson involving these Peanuts Halloween Gliders! They're very simple to put together, although since my kiddos are 4, I'll be doing it in small group to help out with anyone who gets frustrated. Then we'll hit the cafeteria (after lunch time when the tables are cleared away) and do a measurement lesson. We'll see who can fly their plane the furthest, plus we'll use some giant "monster feet" (I'll be cutting those out of construction paper) to do some nonstandard measuring of the distances!

Our Spider Web Ceiling Decoration was a big hit too! All day long I would hear excited gasps and whispers as other classes passed our door lol! As soon as my kiddos saw it they knew we would be studying spiders this week, and the conversations began immediately. This is big for us, since we're really working on our vocabularies. Anything that can get my kids excited and talking is awesome to me!
Can you tell I'm really hitting patterns hard? In a recent PD on math, one of our specialists mentioned that often times when she has someone who is having trouble in middle school, she brings them way back down to the very beginning with number sense and starts seeing where their gaps are. She stated that most of the time, it turns out that they have trouble seeing and producing patterns, which eventually leads them to lots of trouble in Algebra. These Smiley Face Monster Stickers and Jack O'Lantern Face Stickers are highly motivating, so my kiddos think this is just a fun activity rather than the important math practice it really is!

My absolute favorite part is my Sensory Table though. I colored rice to create our candy corn, then added black beans and dried corn! The various toys are also from OT - like the Halloween Rubber Ducks which come 24 to a package in 4 different colors - perfect for sorting and patterning too! I added some rings and snakes, plus I have some cupcake liners printed with spider webs, and plastic Halloween cups. We'll be cooking up lots of spooky treats! To top the whole thing off, I sprinkled a little bit of pumpkin pie spice into the various layers, to make it a multi-sensory experience!

There you have it - lots of ways to incorporate motivation and fun into your centers via Oriental Trading! Most of the items will last more than one year too, so if you pack them up carefully, you'll be able to use them repeatedly! 

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