Invitation To Play
For our Tuesday and Wednesday invitations, I made Goblin Goo. In a medium-sized bowl I mixed together 1 cup of cornstarch and about 1/2 cup of water. I added a few drops of green food coloring and then stirred the whole concoction scraping the cornstarch up from the bottom of the bowl. It was a bit stiff and difficult to stir, so in the end I just dug in and mixed with my hands! This will make what is known as a non-Newtonian fluid. When you roll it into a ball, it acts like a solid. When you let it drip through your fingers, it acts like a liquid. I threw in a few black plastic spiders to complete the spooky effect! The kids had a lot of fun exploring this, but be forewarned: it is a bit messy!
On Thursday and Monday, the days of our Halloween parties, I put out Halloweenish craft materials as an invitation to create art. I placed on the table a bowl of gold, black, orange and white pom poms; a bowl of black buttons; small squares of orange paper; a bowl holding gold, orange, tan, black and white feathers; chalk pastels; googly eyes; glue; scissors; and large sheets of black paper. The Littles spent quite a bit of time and effort making some wonderful creations. This was the first time that they worked with chalk pastels and they loved experimenting with those.
I taught the children the classic Halloween fingerplay, “Five Little Pumpkins”:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. (Hold up all five fingers)
The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late.” (Touch wrist where a watch would be)
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.” (Hold your hands together above your head in point like a witch’s hat then swoosh your hands back and forth)
The third one said, “We don’t care.” (Hold your hands out, palms up and shrug your shoulders)
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.” (Pump your arms like you are running)
The fifth one said, “It’s Halloween fun.” (Rub hands together mischievously)
Oooooh, went the wind, and out (clap your hands) went the light.
Five little pumpkins, rolled out of sight. (Roll your arms)
I also taught them a song that I learned when I was in the second grade and taught to my own children and now teach to the Littles:
You know it’s the time of year
When the witches and ghosts appear
They come at night when there’s no more light
Halloween is almost here
If you look very carefully.
There’s a goblin behind that tree.
But I must say, don’t you run away,
‘Cause it might…be…me! Boo!
For the Tuesday and Wednesday circle times, we did a couple of fun science experiments. For the first one you will need red cabbage, vinegar, and baking soda. Chop about a quarter of a head of red cabbage and put it into a pan. Cover with at least 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Let it cool. Pour 1/4 cup of strained cabbage water into a glass bowl or cup. Pour another 1/4 cup into another glass bowl or cup. I told the children that this lovely, purple cabbage water was witch’s brew. To one cup add 1 Tbsp of baking soda or “magic powder” and stir. The cabbage water will become a lovely shade of blue. To the other cup add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar or “magic elixirs”. The liquid will turn a lovely shade of pink. Don’t forget to say a few “abracadabras” as you add your magic potions.
What happened? The red pigment in the cabbage water is a base or acid indicator. The vinegar turns the liquid pink because it is an acid. The baking soda turned the cabbage liquid blue because it is a base.
For the next experiment you will need gummy worms, baking soda and vinegar. I cut some gummy worms with kitchen shears into thin, long strips. Stir 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water until baking soda is dissolved. Soak the gummy worms in this mixture for about 15 minutes. Pour vinegar into a shallow glass bowl. Take the gummy worms out of the baking soda solution and drop them in the bowl of vinegar. There will be a chemical reaction that will cause the worms to wiggle.
What happened? When you mix baking soda with vinegar this starts a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide. This cause the worms to wiggle and move.
On Thursday and Monday we had our Halloween parties and after we did our regular circle time songs and verses I told the children the charming story of “Winifred Witch and her Golden Cat” which is found in the book, Tell Me A Story: Stories from the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. This is wonderful book filled with all sorts of seasonal and festival stories with which you can mark the rhythms of the year through your storytelling. Next we decorated sugar cookies that I made and had cut into the shape of pumpkins. I made an orange buttercream icing and set out a variety of sprinkles and let the children loose! Trust me when I say that these cookies were thick with icing and sprinkles! This was a big treat for the children because we hardly ever have any kind of sweet treats for our snacks. Each child was able to decorate one cookie for themselves and another to give away. They all thoroughly enjoyed their cookies!
Mixed-Up Scarecrow Art – I always read the children two stories during their snack time. To give some background to this art project I read the children the delightful picture book, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams. I gave each child a sheet of light brown cardstock that has a sort of rustic paper bag texture. I gave each child an assortment of plaid, paisley, and denim fabric squares that I had cut out. I also gave them bits of rafia, buttons, orange construction paper circles, and felt autumn leaves. The littles made wonderful scarecrow collages.
2. Pumpkin Art. Thanks to Happy Hooligans for the inspiration for this project! I gave each child a piece of white drawing paper and a squirt of orange, red and yellow paint. Then I told them to paint a big pumpkin shape. I gave them each a good-sized rectangle of black construction paper and told them to cut eyes, a nose and a mouth. I also gave each one a thin rectangle of white construction paper and asked them to cut out some teeth. Finally they were each given a dollop of green paint and a small square of sponge so that they could stamp a stem. Most of them ended up stamping green paint all over their pumpkins, but that was all right too!
3. Spider Art. To prepare for this art project I cut toilet paper tubes in half and then cut thin cut slits around the bottom of the tube. Then I folded the slits back so that they are perpendicular to the tube. These will be the spider stamps. I gave each child a sheet of white drawing paper. Then I gave the littles a dollop of yellow and orange paint and told them to paint all over their paper. After they were through painting their papers, I gave each of them a piece of string and some purple paint and showed them how to cover their string with paint and then drag it around their paper to make a spider web shape. Then give each child a squirt of black paint and the toilet paper tube stamp and let them stamp their spiders. A pair of googly eyes complete the project.
4. What to do with the other half of the toilet paper roll? Make spiders!! This is a super easy craft. To prepare for this art project, punch two parallel holes on one side of a toilet paper roll and two on the opposite side. For each spider, you will need two pipe cleaners cut in half, so you will have four pieces of pipe cleaner. You will also need two googly eyes. Let the children paint the toilet paper rolls black. Then on one side of the toilet paper roll, insert two pipe cleaner pieces into one hole and back out through the hole next to it. Do the same on the opposite side. Glue on the googly eyes.