A first step in early literacy, or pre-reading skills, is to begin recognizing shapes. Toddlers and preschoolers might enjoy some Halloween crafts that encourage making shapes to create pictures. While you are thinking about shapes, begin pointing out different shapes around your house, while you are driving, at the store, etc. See if your child picks up on this and starts pointing to or naming shapes. It won’t be long before he/she can recognize and name letters, too!
Here are some simple seasonal ideas:
Use a paper plate and orange marker to let your child create a pumpkin circle. Cut out triangles, squares and circles from black paper, and let your child arrange the pieces to make a face or design. Talk about the shapes as you glue them on, noticing the straight edges, corners, curves and points, and counting the sides. Help older toddlers or preschoolers cut some shapes themselves with kids’ scissors.
Check out Ed Emberley’s classic monster picture book, Go Away, Big Green Monster! There are lots of shapes and colors to point out as each page adds or takes away more parts of the monster’s face. Afterwards, cut colorful shapes from construction paper and create your own monsters together. Some children may be interested to learn names for more shapes, like crescent, oval and octagon. This also builds vocabulary and increases their awareness of shapes around them.
Cut 5 circles for pumpkins (or print this pattern) and practice counting with this fun Halloween rhyme:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
Then oooohh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.