By Haley Hall, B.A.
Learning Specialist and LEAP Instructor
Happy October! Over the next couple of weeks, your child may have Halloween on their mind. I’ve found it can be tricky to keep children engaged in learning when holidays are near, so I’ve put together some themed activities to incorporate several core subjects with the upcoming holiday!
Reading and Language Comprehension
Is your child practicing sight words? If so, write their words on this spooky downloadable PDF, or simply print this list to help teach your elementary student these ten words. Remember, when practicing sight words we want children to read them accurately and rapidly (within 3 seconds). Also, make sure to write their words in black ink as that is how they will most often see the words in books.
For upper elementary students, try out this comprehension activity. To visualize the story, you can break it down sentence by sentence, 2-3 sentences at a time, or try the whole paragraph at once. Remind your child to make a movie in their head of what is happening in the story! Use the structured words to help guide your child’s verbalization of the story.
One of my favorite ways to practice following directions is with cooking or baking! Search Pinterest or open a cookbook to find a fun fall recipe, and ask your child to help out. Put on your aprons and get cooking! For younger children, try one-step directions such as, “Get out the big bowl from the cupboard.” For students who are ready to try more complex directions, you could ask, “Can you get out the flour, measure 2 cups, and pour it into the bowl? Then put the flour away.” Continue giving directions as you make your way through the recipe. I often find that seeing hard work result in something delicious helps boost a child’s self-confidence!
Another great way to practice following directions is by printing a fun fall coloring page and giving your child directions on how you’d like them to color it. For example, if you printed a picture of a witch, ask your child to color the hat black and the socks green. For older students, try a more complex picture and give directions such as, “Color the smallest apple red, and the largest one green. Then, find the person standing furthest from the door and color their hair brown.” Pinterest is full of free printable coloring pages.
Does your child struggle with comprehension or math word problems? If so, try out these word problems. After you read aloud each problem, ask your child to describe what they picture is happening. In order to be able to choose an accurate solving strategy, a student must first demonstrate an understanding of what the word problem is about. If your child struggles to describe what they picture, break each problem down one sentence at a time. Then, when they understand the words, help them select the correct problem-solving strategy.
To help master your child’s math facts, use our visualizing strategy. To incorporate some Halloween fun, try writing their facts on this downloadable PDF. Print the PDF on card stock, write one fact in each box, and then cut on the dotted lines to make individual cards. Remember, when writing their facts to practice, make sure to write the entire fact (including the answer) using black ink. Sometimes all it takes is a fun Halloween background to get kids excited about math!
To improve written expression, I often give a list of nouns, verbs, and adjectives (like this)to students and ask them to write a story including as many of the words as they can. This helps avoid the popular response, “I don’t know what to write about!” For students who would benefit from an added challenge, you could have them write their own list of ten nouns, verbs, and adjectives that relate to Halloween and then ask them to incorporate the words into a story (click here to print.
Another great way to spark creativity with writing is to give a child a picture to use as inspiration for a story. I also like to let the child choose the picture they will write about. This picture is a great one that can lead to several different storylines!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131