Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Our Shelves - Halloween

Yes, I know this is the second set of "On Our Shelves" I've posted this week, but the ones earlier this week were really from last week and these are for the next two. :)

Most of these activities are Halloween themed as we're gearing up for the upcoming holiday. I know Halloween isn't for everyone, and truthfully I'm not a fan of all the gory scary stuff and I really do monitor what kind of Halloween stuff James is exposed to, but I see no harm in dressing up and going trick or treating or incorporating some pumpkins and such into our classroom. :)

Practical Life
Spider Sifting. I first saw this activity on Itty Bitty Love. James had a blast with this and pretended he was saving the spiders from the pit of orange rice. :)

Halloween Pencil Sharpening. Great fine motor activity.

Pumpkin Washing. Very similar to our mirror polishing work.

Open & Close Basket. These containers have cute little pumpkins in them. As I mentioned here, this is a fantastic activity for kids.

Pouring Beads. I hesitated about this because the beads are actually little skulls (too scary?)... they were a part of a bracelet we got in a Halloween goody bag last year.

Tweezing Spiders. I saw this on My Montessori Journey and knew we had to try it. James really liked this one. The added challenge to this is that the spiders are deep in that little bucket. It requires a steady little hand to pull them out on the tweezers. :)

Tonging Erasers. Another MMJ idea. I have a few sets of these erasers in different shapes, so I'll switch out just the erasers next week. I think James will like that.

Velcro Dressing Frame


Spider Shape Matching. I found this on KidsSoup.

Sequencing. I put together some clip art I found on to make these sequencing cards. James copies the sequence below the strips.

Halloween Books. We're enjoying these titles: Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming, Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, and Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld (I know this one is not for everyone, but I'm a huge fan of Seinfeld!).

Poem & Poetry Basket. I've been reading poetry to James since he was itty bitty, but outside of reading poems from books, I've been wanting to find a way to incorporate it into our schooltime. Thank you to - who else - My Montessori Journey for this brilliant idea. The poem you see pictured is my own - be kind, I am NOT a poet and I'm sure I broke all sorts of rules in creating it. :)

Sandpaper Letters & Object Boxes. James completed some very big and very important work on this day - he perfectly matched dozens of objects to their correct sound!

Spider Counting

Jack O' Lantern Game. This is a fun little math game whereby James rolls one of the die and then puts that number of teeth along the top of the Jack O' Lantern's mouth and then he rolls the second die and adds that number of teeth along the bottom of the JOL's mouth. Finally he counts how many teeth there are total.

Counting w/ Yarn Pumpkins. I made these last year and we've been having a lot of fun playing addition and subtraction games with them!

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin. I took a tip from Deb at Living Montessori Now and printed out these lovely 3 part cards from Montessori For Everyone.

Stamping. This is a little self-inking stamper with a Halloween image on it. Easy and fun.

Paper Plate Pumpkin

Halloween Sticker Scene. These foam stickers are easy to peel. James loved making his own story.

Linking up to The Preschool Corner and Montessori Monday.

~Thank you for your comments!~


Jess said...

Hey - great ideas and activities. James is a lucky boy. I am curious - where do you get the time to design and prepare all these activities? Do you already have them done from your course, or do you spend one night a week doing it...or more??? Love to hear about your 'behind the scenes'. (:

Elle Belles Bows said...

As always....FABULOUS ideas....really like the idea of the pumpkin washing using the Qtip and the pencil sharpening. They should be good activities for Elle. Thanks! Kerri

Faith said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog. Thank you for inspiring me. We have been doing sensory tubs for quite a while but some of your activities are new to me. Thank you for sharing!

Rebecca said...

Your activities are always sooooo motivating to me! I cant wait until i feel better and can do some of these ideas!!

Lisa said...

I'm loving these ideas for Halloween work. Thanks!

Förskoleburken said...

Beatiful, all of it. The shape matching spider-activity, do you know where you found it?
Have a nice weekend!

Sam said...

You are so inspiring! Thank you so much for all of your great ideas and for having a teaching heart so we can learn from you!

sbswtp said...

Another fun-tastic week! :-) Those big spiders are all sorts of scary!!! :-)

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you for your comments!

@Sunbeams & Sanity: I'm an avid planner and list maker and so I usually have these designs planned out well in advance. During that planning process I usually take a good hour or so to sit down with a notebook and write down as many ideas as I can. From there I check through my favorite blogs and the starred items in my Google Reader. I LOVE the planning process and find it almost as enjoyable as the next part: actually putting the work together! I only spend about 1-2 hours on a Sunday evening doing this. The amount of time really depends on how many weeks I'm preparing for. Hope that answers your question!

@Forskoleburken: I found the activity on - I'll go back and link to it now, thanks!

Anonymous said...

What great activities!! I am loving the pumpkin teeth game :-)

Teaque said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas! I am a homeschool mom and love all the new ideas for my daughter. I am sure you have mentioned it before, but must have missed it - I was wondering where you got the sandpaper letter cards?

Deb Chitwood said...

Wow! So many amazing activities in one post! I love all the fun, coordination-developing activities - from tweezer activities to spider sifting to pumpkin washing. And you have great activities in every major curriculum area.

I love your link about the poetry activity. I always enjoyed reading poetry to the children when I had a Montessori school and to my own children when they were growing up. That’s a great idea for making a hands-on activity as well. Thanks for linking to my blog. I linked to your post at and on my Living Montessori Now Facebook page.

The girl who painted trees said...

Bear has been tweezing spiders at school. It's her favorite work :-P She loves to sharpen pencils at home, but I don't set it out as a work - she just does it when she needs to. We're doing a lot of addition work around here so I love your jack o lantern addition game. Will try to make one while she's at school tomorrow. I'd forgotten about the terrific Itty Bitty Love blog. Thanks for linking to her so I could rediscover her.

Shannon said...

Thanks for your tips on the sensory bin. It is hard for grown ups to think like kids! But all three of my girls (ages 5 1/2, 3 1/2, and 23 months) LOVED the sensory bin this week.
Before I created our bin, I actually browsed your blog and got some ideas from you. Plan on giving you credit when I post more specifically about our fall sensory bin.
Thanks so much for your inspiration!

Leptir (Nataša) said...

So many great activities. I'm sure that James loves loves loves all of your beautiful activities.
:-) said...

Love you ideas!! I am excited to start my daughter on the Montessori path. We are starting this week and your seasonal ideas are just perfect!!
Thank you for taking the time to show us all.

Michelle said...

So sweet! Lots of great ideas, thanks for sharing!!! I'm glad you're back from your bloggy break!

fairPhoenix said...

Where did you find all the objects for sorting by sound?

Unknown said...

What a great thematic theme unit. I think if I was still teaching I would have this site bookmarked. As it is I'm going to post your blog on my FB page and forward it to one of the Montessori schools I do bookfairs for.


Tina "The Book Lady"

izzy said...

Great ideas!! Although most of the time I dont like using of food in activities, the rice-sifting activity is really creative!

Unknown said...

Hi - my FB page is

I actually just sent your page to my friends FB page. Her page is at:

You can tell her I referred you and the you are teaching your son using montessori methods.

I have a neat giveaway on my HOliday Traditions blog at:

It's a neat deck of cards that teach gratitude and thankfulness w/ activities - and it's for the whole family to do together.


Cara said...

You had so much Halloween-y goodness this week! I have got to get some plastic spiders for sorting and pattern and counting activities!

I enjoyed reading your response to Sunbeams and Sanity as well. I need to get back in to planning ahead mode!

Alycia in Va. said...

Totally awesome. I'm feeling like a complete slacker these days. He's going to have a great week with all the theme "works".

The Sunshine Crew said...

Awesome ideas. As always, you come up with some great works for your son. Thank you for sharing. You are so creative and make everything look so fun and inviting.
Have a happy day,

Mylo said...

Thanks for your response Mari-Ann regarding your training...What grade levels are you focusing on? I'm trying to find activities for 0-3 but haven't had much luck with the exception of the NMAC training. Is it worth spending all that money for the 0-3 curriculum. TIA

Amy said...

wow, great activities!

Sari Asenith said...

Could you do a post on your system for storing all the stuff you use for your son. I imagine if you were not organized then you'd never be able to find what you want when you need it and just plain forget you had it. Thanks!

Zonnah said...

thanks for the link to the life cycle cards my son loves them.

Jen said...

Oh wow! Leave it to you to make Halloween beautiful and educational!

Jen said...

PS: you're too hard on yourself, I think your poem is perfect!

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you all for your kind comments - really, I appreciate them so very much.

@Teaque: Look to my "Montessori Resources & Recommendations" button on my sidebar to find the link for the sandpaper letters.

@fairPhoenix: Look to my "Alphabet Box" button on my sidebar to find out more about the sound objects.

@Mylo: For the moment I'm focusing on 3-6 as that's the age group my son falls into. I can only speak for NAMC's 3-6 training program since that's the one I took - I highly recommend it. I've heard great things about Karen Tyler's program as well... not sure if she has a 0-3 program, but it may be worth looking into if she does.

Deb Chitwood said...

I'm having fun re-visiting your posts, Mari-Ann! I featured your Halloween posts and sifting spiders photo in my Montessori-Inspired Halloween Activities post at

Deb Chitwood said...

I just realized that I forgot to let you know I featured your Halloween posts and sifting spiders photo in my Montessori-Inspired Halloween Activities post at I had your photo at the top of my post and somehow missed it when I was making my comments. It's always wonderful to revisit your posts ... they're timelessly wonderful! :)


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