Monday, October 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of Hallowe’en

No this post isn’t about a certain book but on the many emotions that children
can go through during this spooky season.
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It is also about our role of helping children express their emotions. 
To give them the language to let us know when something is too scary
or that they are happy doing an activity.
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This post will show you some of the activities that are available for children
to explore emotions at my StrongStart centre.

The above two pictures show our sign in question from last week. 
Identifying what an emotion looks like on a face. 
Small mirrors were available for children to look at themselves and
to practice happy, sad, mad, etc.
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This week’s question is more specific to their costume. 
Will it look scary, silly, funny or happy? 
Some don’t know the answer to this,
maybe they haven’t worn it yet and seen people’s reactions.

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Another activity to focus on facial expressions was this large
‘pin the face on the pumpkin’. 
The pumpkin is laminated, the same with all the shapes for the
eyes, mouth and nose.
Rolled tape on the back of the face pieces make it easy to put on and
take off over and over.
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Right beside the pumpkin is a plain sheet of orange paper and a basket of dark markers. 
The child can draw a jack o’lantern with whichever expression they decide.

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The next activity uses fake pumpkins and scary facial pieces. 
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The children loved it and none were even slightly intimidated with the looks.

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We’ve had a lot of fun exploring different eye glasses and how they changed our looks.
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Parents were wonderful trying the glasses with their children. 
For some children it gave them the courage to try the glasses on too.
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Mirrors are important to have available so children can see their own reflection. 
To see themselves with the glasses on and know that they are still the same being.

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Lastly, we have shared many songs and stories that can evoke emotions.
The above is the story “The Great Big Pumpkin” and it has characters that we don’t see everyday; like a ghost, witch, mummy and vampire.  I notice that some children react when I change my voice to match a character.  They show apprehension, nervousness and may move closer to their grown up.

A song that we like to sing (because there's a screaming part) is called
"Sometimes I Walk in the Dark"

Sometimes I like to walk in the dark
I like to shout and scream
I sneak behind someone I know
And 'boo' it's Hallowe'en!

Although now all the children like the screaming part and after hearing it
once they are ready to cover their ears when we scream.


  1. Using pumpkin faces is such a great way to begin a discussion about emotions. I love your exploration with glasses. The baby checking out his mum's (?) face is fabulous.

    rubberboots and elf shoes

    1. Thanks Sandi. The glasses have been a lot of fun. It's been an activity that the adults feel comfortable becoming involved in.

  2. I love this post! :) so many educators forget to address that there are all different emotions felt by children surrounding the Halloween season! Great ideas!!

    1. Thanks Meagan. I believe that children can cope better with scary encounters if they can express how they are feeling about it.