Making Halloween a Language Enriched Activity
Halloween is such a fun time of year for kids. They get to carve a pumpkin (fun!), get dressed up (double fun!) and get free candy (triple extra fun!). Here are some ways you can take these fun activities and make them full of FUN-ctional language enrichment (your kids won't get as excited about that wordplay as you will, but that's okay).
Carving the JACK-O-LANTERN
Talk about the sequence of events you'll need to do before you start, e.g., "First, we will CUT open the pumpkin and SCOOP OUT the seeds, next we will DRAW the face on, and last we will CARVE the pumpkin." As you finish each step, ask your child what you need to do next.
Discuss the textures of the pumpkin as you carve it, e.g., how the surface is smooth, the stem is rough, the seeds are slippery...
Afterwards, have your child describe your Jack-o-Lantern to a friend or family member and how they helped to make it.
GETTING DRESSED UP
Consider letting your child create their own costume or add their own custom adaptations to a ready-to-go costume. For instance, adding a cape (towel) or x-ray glasses (toilet paper tubes) can help spark their imagination and make their costume truly unique.
When your child is getting dressed, use concept words like above/below, in/on/under, or in front/below, e.g., "Should this go above or below the sash?"
Use descriptive words when talking about your child's costume, like "That is a beautiful, shiny bow" or "your tail is so long and skinny".
If you do go trick-or-treating, you can always turn the bag of candy into an opportunity to practice sorting/categorizing skills that help with your child's language development. Keep in mind, they might be too tired and strung out on sugar to try this on Halloween, so you may have more success if you try this on another day.
Poor all the candy onto a table, then think of different ways you can sort it. For instance, you could try to sort it by type of candy (chocolate bars/chips/other), size, colour, or even by how much your child likes it (most favourite to least favourite). After you sort it one way, try sorting it another way.
Sorting items helps your child learn to identify similarities and differences, improve their basic concept knowledge, enhance problem-solving skills and support their fine motor skill development. Plus it's just fun to see the full range of things they received and how your kids react to each item.
Whatever you end up doing for Halloween this year, be sure to keep safe and have fun!