As it was Halloween yesterday I thought I would share some of the things we did together. Our girls are not into anything remotely scary so everything we did was very gentle. This was the first time we had done anything other than carve a pumpkin and the girls really enjoyed themselves.
The first thing we did was some messy play. I’m really trying to get Megan involved in messy activities at the moment as she can be very fussy about having dirt on her hands. I bought an orange jelly and a black cherry jelly and made them up according to the instructions in mixing bowls. Then I added lots of plastic halloween bits I had bought from Morrisons, so there were spiders, bats, centipedes, rats, skeletons, frogs, and some scorpions. They then went into the fridge overnight to set.
When we were ready to play I put the bowls into a tray (they had one each) along with some plastic cups, spoons, scoops, and pots and pans from their play kitchen. We were going to be witches making magic spells. Both girls were keen to get into the jelly and see what they could find. Megan found some spiders and so collected all the ones she could see and played with them for ages. We counted the spiders and even though she doesn’t have the language yet she was keen to try and join in. Normally when she counts she says three, five, three so we just counted one, two, three a few times.
Meanwhile Isabel had mixed up the jelly into her ‘cauldron’ and added all sorts of creatures to it. I said that to make it magic she had to say words that rhyme, words that sound the same. Understanding rhyming and being able to identify rhyming words is a very important skill in early phonics and many children find it really difficult. We haven’t played any rhyming games for ages but I was still surprised when Isabel found it hard. She put a bat into her cauldron so she tried to think of a rhyming word and came up with dog!!!??? After a couple of failed attempts I gave her examples so bat, cat and mouse which two sound the same? She said mouse and came up with a random reason why mouse and bat sound the same. I wanted her to hear some words that rhyme and so rather than stopping her play as she was keen to get her magic spell to work I gave her the rhyming words and then some more examples so rat, cat, bat, hat, sat, mat, fat. We said these as our magic spell and I was turned into a frog!!! Isabel carried on with her play and then a bit later we did a spell again using frog. I gave her the examples frog, log, mog, dog to make her spell magical.
It didn’t matter that Isabel was unable to come up with any rhyming words of her own, she was able to hear the rhyming words and copying my examples meant she experienced saying them as well. We will need to have some more opportunities to hear rhymes so I will be finding our rhyming stories like Room on a Broom, Super Worm, and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and reading them a bit more regularly.
We also made Halloween cakes, had a Halloween themed lunch, scooped out and carved pumpkins and went trick or treating for the first time. We all enjoyed ourselves and I’m looking forward to thinking of some more activities to do next year!