As a mama, I try my best to facilitate fun and engaging activities for my kids on a regular basis—and it’s a great bonus if I can do this while incorporating seasonal elements and everyday items!
As a former teacher, I also know that math skills in early elementary school can be an important indicator of a child’s academic performance—not only in math, but also in reading and writing in the upper grades. Math skills support the development of an improved attention span, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, research shows that having a strong foundation in math supports children in developing important life skills. Everyday opportunities to explore math with your child can be found everywhere—from the toys in their room (e.g., ordering cars by size or color) to the grocery store (e.g. figuring out cost, weighing produce, etc.).
Now that it’s October—and Halloween is on the horizon—here are some of my favorite Education.com resources that are both delightfully spooky and supportive of your child’s math development.
Preschool and Kindergarten
- Spider Web Shapes: In this math-infused art activity, your child will get lots of hands-on practice making and identifying shapes, while learning all about spiders and their webs. Pick up just a few supplies (plastic spiders and paper straws) before starting this spooky project. This is great for both preschoolers and kindergarteners, as you can provide more or less support as needed (e.g., pre-cutting materials and/or challenging your child to create more complex designs).
- Halloween Skeleton: Practice counting and number recognition skills all while creating a Halloween masterpiece. Using materials you’re likely to have around the house, your child will love creating their very own skeleton! Encourage them to count out the correct number of cotton swabs for each part of the body. For an added challenge, have your child count the total number of cotton swabs used to make their skeleton bones.
- Hissing Cat: Halloween and black cats go together like peanut butter and jelly. While creating their very own hissing cat, children will practice their shape recognition and fine motor skills by cutting ovals, arcs, and circles from a paper plate.
- Scary Ghost: Are you looking for some spooky house decorations? Use this scary ghost activity to practice counting to five (or higher if you dare!) while making an adorable ghost out of a paper plate and a few other materials.
First and Second Grade
- Spooky Halloween Jars: Practice the skill of estimation in this fun Halloween activity involving spooky candy or toys. You’ll fill several jars with a variety of items and ask your child to use the estimation slips and their problem-solving skills to determine the total amount in each jar. This is an activity you can get the whole family involved in!
- Halloween STEM Building Challenge: In this innovative Halloween activity, your child will become an engineer as they build structures using different specifications. Not only is this activity super-fun, it will encourage experimentation, adaptability, and creative thinking. Consider this activity as at home or at a Halloween party to provide an opportunity to work as a team!
- Halloween Party Game: In this art-infused math activity, your child will use their creative side to turn recycled cans into Halloween game pieces! They will practice knocking over the cans (and practicing their counting skills) to see who gets to 50 points first! This is a game the whole family will enjoy.
- Halloween Shadow Pumpkin Symmetry: Teach your child all about symmetry using this creative Halloween activity. You’ll work together to create symmetrical Halloween shapes and creatures, while practicing directional concepts and creative thinking skills. When you finish, you’ll have enough shadow puppets to put on a show!
By Caitlin Hardeman, former third through sixth grade teacher specializing in English Language Arts.