Halloween isn't just about scaring yourself silly, and stuffing your face with sweets. It's a good opportunity to motivate children to learn through crafting.
Get them engaged by saying you need help making preparations for Halloween, and don't mention that these activities are educational.
Why oh why do we persist on carving our pumpkins?
Reasons why I hate carving pumpkins: * It looks really dangerous with those knives; * It is so messy; * Every year the pumpkins look the same as it's hard to be artistic; * I usually end up doing the carving myself as the children get tired.
There are many alternative ways to decorate a pumpkin, including sticking on gems, and painting it, but my favourite method involves a hammer.
You can use a regular pin hammer, then knock in drawing pins, golf tees, or even small picture nails. It's best to outline a face using felt-tip first, then hammer in the pins wherever they are needed. This is much easier than carving, a great stress reliever, and children never get bored of using hammers.
Giant Spider Web Lacing
Give the children a ball of wool each, and ask them to lace a spiderweb out in the garden by weaving in and out of the climbing frame, or whatever large play equipment you have available.
Use different coloured wool for each child to make it easier for them to keep track of their web.
Give An Anatomy Class
Draw out a huge picture of the human body, a make cut-outs of all the vital organs, and large bones. Ask the children to identify what the body part is, and whereabouts in the body it should go. Once the body is completed it can double up as a Halloween wall decoration.
Play Dough Pumpkins
Play dough is great for developing fine motor skills in young children. Make play dough pumpkins with balls of orange dough, and a cut out green stalk for the top. Alternatively use pipe cleaners as legs to make play dough spiders. For added fun and sensory stimulation, sprinkle some glitter into the dough before you start shaping it.
Cook spaghetti in coloured water, drain, then remove to cool. Once cooled dip each strand into a pool of PVA glue then arrange on a piece of greaseproof paper to create a spiderweb. Once the glue has dried you will be able to remove the paper, and hang the spiderweb as a decoration.
This is a craft that even the youngest family members can enjoy.
An upside down footprint looks spookily like a ghost. Paint the kids' feet white, then ask them to step onto black paper. When the paint is dry just add googly eyes and an open screaming mouth.