Spooktacular Birthday Party

I can’t believe our little man just turned one!  colton cake croppedWhere did the year go?  I honestly feel like this was the fastest year of my life.  With his birthday so close to Halloween and my husband loving to decorate the house, it only made sense to do a Halloween themed party.  We had a great time and I wanted to share our party, not because it was so over the top and cute, but actually because it was so incredibly simple.  We’ve been busy so this had to be a very low prep event.  So if you are looking for something to do before trick-or-treating, here you go.

 

 

Invitations

IMG_2598We made these cute little bat invitations.  I cut the body and head separately so I could add the inner piece with all our info and then glue the head over it a bit.  I used sticker gems for the eyes and folded the wings so that you can only see the word Celebrate.

Bat invitations editable template

 

 

Bat invitation

 Photo Booth

I love these!  We used some leftover decorations to create a backdrop and then put out the different photo booth props.  There are so many available online, why design more?  My favorites came from One Creative Mommy and Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke.

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Water Bottle Labels

One of my favorite things to do for a party is themed water bottle labels.  It’s such a simple thing but really sets the mood and the kids like it.  Then we just put out some water bottle flavoring and everyone can create the drink they want.

Halloween water bottle labels

Halloween water bottles

Halloween water bottle labels

 

Table Decorations

We also did these cute table top decorations.  You just print and cut them out.  Then I attached them to a skewer stick so that they can be stuck into anything–a base, a dish, plants.  To make a stand I just cut a styrofoam ball in half and spray painted them black.

Halloween images for table decoration or clipart

Halloween table top decorations and clip art

We also had Halloween themed food.  There are so many cute ideas on pinterest that I’m not even going to go into all of them here.  (Check out my Halloween board for ideas.) But I am including the food labels since they are editable and festive.

Editable Food Labels for Halloween Dishes

Halloween food labels editable

And we pulled out our floating candles from our Harry Potter party to add some ambiance.

floating candles

Activities

For activities we made masks. I used a kit I purchased at Michaels but you could just as easily cut out your own pieces. I also put out Halloween themed foam stickers to add to the masks. Quick, easy, and fun!

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But you know what is even quicker for a craft… coloring! Have you checked out Quiver? You can print out coloring sheets that come to life in 3D through the free Quiver app! It is so cool and turns ordinary coloring sheets into magic. My kiddos love it. So print some out from here, throw out markers or crayons, and you are good to go!

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Beyond that we just let the kids play in the yard (which resulted in all of them putting on a show for us singing “Let It Go.”)

Goody bags

Finally, our goody bags… hands!  We picked up disposable gloves from Target (but you can get them anywhere) and stuffed them with candy.  For an extra touch add a spider ring to the finger.  I’ve actually had kids come up to me since the party to tell me how cool the hands were (and my girls have begged to take the extras off my hands).

Halloween “hand”-outs sign

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And of course I need to end on a few more pictures of the birthday boy, since it was his special day afterall…

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More Pumpkin Activities

Time got away from me with the new little one but I still wanted to share our language arts activities from our pumpkin unit.  I also include some of our sensory activities at the end (besides the pumpkin playdough in my science and math pumpkin post).

Word Family Pumpkins

Pumpkin word families

I had my husband make this fun puzzle game to play around with word families.  They match the pumpkin pieces together to create a word family pumpkin.  The girls had a great time matching up the word families and seeing how they made a pumpkin.

The bottom piece is printed on white paper and then the top pumpkin pieces were printed on orange paper.

The bottom piece is printed on white paper and then the top pumpkin pieces were printed on orange paper.

The pieces can be a puzzle to reuse over and over or it can be a cut and paste activity to produce a finished product.

fall word family activity

Our finished pumpkins

Download Pumpkin Word Family Printables

Sight Word Collages

This was a great way to work with our sight words.  We cut the words out of magazines and then in keeping with our theme glued them to these cute little pumpkins for our growing pumpkin patch.

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fall sight word activity

Pumpkin Popsicle Words

This is a great way to practice our vocabulary words.  The vowel is written on the pumpkin and then the girls can slide the popsicle sticks through to create new words making it an interactive way to get through their reading lists.

Pumpkin sliding stick reading

Pumpkin Letter Bingo

Have I mentioned before that my kids love letter bingo?  I make a letter sound and they find the letter on their bingo sheets.  Really they love the the game because it ends in eating lots of M&Ms but I like that it’s a great phonics review.

Pumpkin Letter Bingo

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Candy Corn Letter Game

My girls really enjoyed this cute candy corn letter game from Kindergarten Smiles.  It was a great review of letter recognition and sounds.

Candy Corn Letter Game

Just click on the picture below to access the game which is available for free through Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Sensory Activities

Pumpkin Cloud Dough

My girls love cloud dough!  Who am I kidding?  So do I!  It’s super easy to make just add flour and vegetable oil (enough to make it damp and moldable).  I just added pumpkin spice and orange powdered tempera paint to make it pumpkin flavored.

Pumpkin Cloud Dough

We often use activities like this while I work one on one with the girls.

Fall Fizzing Bath Bombs

Thanks to Fun at Home With Kids we were able to make these fun fizzing bath bombs.  We will definitely be doing this again in different shapes and scents!  The cinnamon is good to fight germs but it does make your tub rather cinnamon-y so you probably won’t be washing hair in the tub that night.  You get get the recipe here.

Pumpkin fizzing bath bombs

 

 

And finally since we are talking about pumpkins I just need to include my pumpkin baby picture.  I just love this little guy!

Pumpkin baby

 

 

Pumpkins Math and Science

So Halloween may have passed but I still wanted to share our pumpkin activities, especially since they can still work for Thanksgiving.  And to avoid one monster long post about pumpkins so I divided it up so here are our math and science activities we’ve been doing lately.

Pumpkin Craft–Life Cycle and Parts All Rolled Into One

I combined about five different pumpkin crafts that I liked into one super sciency pumpkin.  First we used three paper plates to create the pumpkin body–one of the base, one for the back pocket, and one of the frame.

Pumpkin Science Craft

We painted the pumpkins with pumpkin-scented paint–just adding pumpkin spice to our orange paint.  We also used a cork for our stem.

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On the framed side, we showed the different parts of the pumpkin.  We used real seeds and then pipe cleaners (or you could use orange yarn) for the fibers inside.  While creating it, the girls also cut and pasted the labels for the different parts.

Download labels for parts of the pumpkin.docx

Parts of pumpkin craft

We then added our life cycle vine to the pumpkin.  We used the circle labels for the different stages from printables.atoz

Pumpkin Life Cycle Craft

After attaching them to the yarn, we tied it to our pumpkin stem.  They can also get tucked into the pocket on the back side.

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Pumpkin Worksheets

Before making our pumpkins, we completed the following worksheets to help learn about the pumpkin life cycle and the different parts of a pumpkin.

Pumpkin life cycle worksheet from education.com

Pumpkin life cycle worksheet from education.com Click the picture for the worksheet

Worksheet on pumpkin parts from ateachingmommy.com

Worksheet on pumpkin parts from ateachingmommy.com Click the picture to link to the worksheet

Pumpkin Investigation

There are TONS of different pumpkin investigation worksheets out there where kids answer questions about their pumpkin.  This one, from Fun For First, was my personal favorite and the one we chose to use.  It was the most thorough and touched on the topics I wanted the girls to explore.

Pumpkin Investigation

 

Number Lines

pumpkin number line

In math our current chapter is on number order (we use the Singpore Math Kindergarten Curriculum) so I had us make these adorable pumpkin number lines.  While you can use a pumpkin template and then stickers or handwritten numbers, I just used my cricut to cut the pumpkins and numbers.  Then the girls glued them all together.  Finally they strung them on ribbon, which was great practice since we recently started learning to stitch.

And yes, I have realized that my little one did the seven backwards. :)

And yes, I have realized that my little one did the seven backwards. 🙂

 

Number Cards and Playdough

To review our number shapes (and hopefully help with our handwriting) we used these fall-themed number cards from Life Over C’s.

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And then for the playdough we used clay made from pumpkin (recipe courtesy of Fun at Home with Kids).  All you need is canned pumpkin, corn starch, and pumpkin spice.  Mix it together until it is the consistency and smell you would like.  In addition to using this with our number cards, it also made a great sensory activity for the girls to play with while I did some one on one work with each.

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Putting away Baby Jesus?

Like many of you we have the Little People Nativity set by Fisher Price. My girls LOVE it! Last year after playing with it all through Advent and the Christmas season, it was time to pack it up with all of our other decorations. As we cleaned I would put it in the storage box and my girls would pull Baby Jesus out and put him back with their other Little People. They complained that they wanted to keep playing with him and after a few times I realized just what I really was doing. As the holiday season comes to a close for some of you and you are putting away decorations, consider the lesson I learned that day–don’t put away Baby Jesus.

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Many think of Christmas as one day but really the Christmas season extends until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, when the wisemen came. You know the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”? These are the 12 days. Some cultures even wait until then to exchange presents.

I have some friends who won’t even let their children play with their Little People Nativity because Jesus is one to be revered not tossed around.  And while I can understand what they are saying I disagree.  This past year as I watched Baby Jesus be pulled around in a tractor and attend princess parties I couldn’t help but think that this is exactly what I want for my daughters–for them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I want my girls to feel him throughout their day-to-day lives, not just on Sunday.

Baby Jesus

Jesus taking a ride

Another nativity set our children love

Another nativity set our children love

Now I know my children need a great deal more in their spiritual upbringing and this is just a toy, but those toys are a great reminder for us adults to make sure we continue to make Jesus a focus in our lives as we get back into the “normal” swing of things.

So when packing up your children’s nativity set this year, consider leaving it out for a little while longer.  Let your kids continue to play with the Holy Family with the rest of their play things.  I hear Jesus can be a great influence on the other toys.

This is why it's a good idea to have a children's nativity.... otherwise they will play with yours.

This is why it’s a good idea to have a children’s nativity…. Here are my girls playing with our “fancy” nativity.

P.S. If you don’t have a children’s nativity, consider getting one in time for next year.

Halloween Books

I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite Halloween-themed books.  Considering how we decorate our house (which you can see here), of course we have favorite Halloween books.  Thanks to their dad, my girls do have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to scary things.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Room on the BroomWe LOVE Julia Donaldson!  We’ve enjoyed every book we’ve read by her (The Gruffalo books and A Gold Star for Zog are two of our all-time favorites).  If you enjoy Donaldson’s creativity, repetitive text, and lyrical rhyming, Room on the Broom won’t let you down.  In it a witch loses her hat, bow, and wand and then meets a dog, parrot, and frog who help her find her items.  In exchange she gives them a ride on her broom and together they learn about friendship and teamwork.  And a dragon even makes an appearance!  What more do you want?Room on the Broom picture

Zombelina by Kristyn Crow

Zombelina

Zombelina
I wasn’t thrilled when my husband came home with this book but it quickly won me over.  Zombelina is the cutest zombie I’ve ever seen!  Her family is very similar to The Munsters or Addam’s Family.  She loves her ballet class that her mom signs her up for but at her recital she runs into a little trouble when she scares away the audience.  This is really cute and you don’t need to be familiar with scary zombies to enjoy it.

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex

Goodnight GoonThis is a parody of Goodnight Moon and a welcome break if you are tired of reading the original (like I am).  It is a bit scarier than some of the other books on our list.  But if your kids are older or not too sensitive, the pictures and the text are hilarious.  It follows the exact same format and rhythm as the original just this time a goon, witch, monsters, and a werewolf are involved.Goodnight Goon

Where’s My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi

Where's My Mummy?
Where's My Mummy

The girls picked this one out.  I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite but my daughters LOVE it!  I think it’s the repetitive text (what little one doesn’t like repetition?).  They also think it’s funny that Little Baby Mummy who is playing hide & seek with Big Mama Mummy is not scared of the monsters but is scared of a little mouse (oops, spoiler alert).  The monsters are shown in very friendly ways so the book is just the right level of scary and funny for toddlers and preschoolers without being too much.

 

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