“As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past…as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.” —Gretchen Owocki
Children across the globe enjoy dressing up, monsters, ghosts, witches, sorcerers, and horror. Halloween is that time of the year to explore spooky themes that will get your students learning English, science, history, math, and culture hands-on. However, the fun does not have to end on Halloween. Feel free to use any of these wickedly awesome activities, apps, and resources throughout the year to continue to engage your young learners!
Halloween is the perfect time to invite students to read science fiction, fantasy, or epic novels. Many books like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Wendell the World’s Worst Wizard, and The Hobbit are full of monsters, creatures, history, geography, and science concepts. Very young learners can enjoy books by Julia Donaldson, Dav Pilkey, and Sonali Fry. Find all these authors and more listed at Pearltrees.com/shellyterrell/recommended-books/id6528977.
Animate and Dress Creatures and Monsters
Students can bring to life the characters in a book or from their imagination with free tools and apps like Blabberize, YakIt Kids, ChatterPix Kids, Fotobabble, 30 Hands, and Adobe Voice. Students upload their drawings of the creatures and add recorded audio.
Another idea is for students to work in pairs or small groups and design a costume for a creature or character. Creating a costume teaches students vocabulary related to measurements, following instructions, and fabric. Students need to convert and learn the math to cut fabric, take measurements, and follow a pattern. Additionally, students learn vocabulary related to materials, garments, and clothing. Check out our clothing flashcards to help preteach this vocabulary. You can show students this infographic that shows the history of Halloween costumes to give students ideas.
Chants and Spells
Take a cauldron and tell the children they will help you create a magic potion. Each child is responsible for adding an ingredient and writing down the related instruction. You can write the beginning line on the board and get each student to add their instruction line to the board. Type all the instructions to the spell in one document and create a chant that the class memorizes. For added fun, give the students gummy worms, plastic eyeballs, or other items to include in the cauldron. Find magic spells and chants at Kidsonthenet.org.uk/spells.
Pair students to be in charge of different stations for a haunted classroom. Students can use science recipes to make fake blood, glow-in-the-dark ink, or slime while learning about chemical reactions. They can take raw noodles or other substances and create a feel box where peers use adjectives to describe what they think they are touching. Find these recipes and more at http://www.pearltrees.com/shellyterrell/recipes-treats/id6546496.
Haunted Digital Stories
Follow up a reading or have students create digital stories about their made-up creatures using free web tools like Storybird, Toondoo, LittleBirdTales, and Zooburst. With these tools students create digital books that are embeddable in their blogs or websites and can be shared with family and friends. Students can also create a digital book with their iOS or Android device using the free Book Creator app that allows them to sell the book on iTunes or the Google Play store. Students might prefer creating a short animated movie of their haunted tales using Goanimate.
Trick-or-Treat Safety Posters
Trick-or-treating is a fun tradition in America and Canada that children love to learn about and practice. In the past, I have gotten my young learners to create bags, dress up, and practice the tradition by knocking on various class doors and/or visiting the school office staff. We talk about the dangers and create safety posters to share with American children. You can now create digital posters with these safety tips using tools like Tackk, Smores, Buncee, Pic-Collage, Thinglink, and Biteslides.
- Find more Halloween activities and resources bookmarked here.
- Find over 10 Halloween games for children to learn English while learning about Halloween bookmarked here.
- It’s Monstrous! 4 Themes & 20+ Activities Kids Will Love You Explored This Halloween
- 10+ Wicked Web 2.0 Activities for Halloween
- Magic Mayhem: 10+ Activities and Resources for Teaching with Magic
- Spooky Halloween Fun for Young Learners
- Halloween: Find the Objects
- Halloween Vocabulary Lesson
- Haunted House Writing Task
- Halloween Coloring Worksheets
- 5 Tricky Halloween Words
- Mary Shelley Spooky Fiction Contest (includes a listening activity)
- Draw and Describe Monsters
- Dangerous Aliens Board Game
- Halloween Costumes: ESL Listening Activity
- Expressing Fear and Phobias: English Idioms
What other ideas do you have?
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