Enrichment activities are learning opportunities that “extend” knowledge beyond what’s taught within regular curriculum. They give children the opportunities to be creative and explore, and are a great way for them to discover new interests. Halloween, with its mix of fantasy and spooky history, lends itself well to enrichment in a variety of subject areas.
With the availability of all sorts of harvest during the fall, creating hands-on science activities is as easy as visiting the grocery store! Explore chemical reactions and observe natural processes with these simple activities:
- Witches Potion - Here’s a holiday twist on the classic science fair volcano. Set up a potion making station where you won’t mind a mess, (like outside or in the bathtub.) Fill the station with a variety of containers. Mini-cauldrons, hollowed out pumpkins, and beakers are great for an extra Halloween oomph! Provide vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring and let your child experiment with combining colors and amounts. See if they can observe what combinations lead to bigger chemical reactions.
- Apple Mummies - This activity shows kids about the science behind the ancient practice of mummification. Begin by carving a simple face into an apple. Place the apple in a baggie filled with equal parts salt and baking soda. Allow the apple to sit in the mixture for a week. The salt and baking soda will dry the apply out, similarly to the mummification process. Pull the apple out and dust it off for observation. Continue this process and observe the apple weekly to see how the “mummy” has progressed.
Art extracurricular activities are packed with educational potential. From creative problem solving to motor skills and visual learning, creative projects promote child development in numerous areas.
- Pumpkin Carving or Painting - Match this Halloween tradition with some pumpkin themed readling, like Storypod’s Pumpkin’s Fairytale. After enjoying the story, take your kids to the pumpkin patch, have them pick out their canvas, and see if they can recreate some of the pumpkin faces in the book. This activity exercises observation, visual learning, and creative problem solving!
- Ghost Collage - Here’s an activity that will allow them to practice observation, resourcefulness, and focus. Cut a piece of sturdy paper into the shape of a ghost. Then, have your child fill the shape with white, glueable material from around the home to create a ghost collage. They can use anything from magazine clippings to cotton balls to materials out of the recycling bin.
Cooking is an educational activity with tasty results! When children help in the kitchen they learn about using measurements, following directions, and practicing kitchen safety.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - Use those saved seeds from your pumpkin activities and turn them into a healthy treat. Simple wash and dry your seeds, coat them in olive oil and season with anything from salt and pepper to cinnamon and sugar. Cook them at 325°for 20-30 minutes. Children will enjoy separating the seeds from the “guts” and will get a bonus science lesson in botany!
Turn all the holiday fanfare about ghosts, graves, and “haunted” sites into an opportunity to learn about history. Of course, be wise and screen content to make sure it’s age-appropriate for your little one.
- Sign Up for a Ghost Tour - There’s no better way to get kids interested in history than through compelling storytelling. Most major cities and historic downtowns have family friendly ghost tours that you can sign up for. Learn about major historic events like the Civil War through the lens of local legend.