Z = Halloween Zombie and Blanket Fort Zoo

Many parents think they might be zombies by the night of Halloween. It might be time for the ultimate rescue: a Halloween blanket fort zoo.

halloween blanket fortNeed a few minutes of focused time so you can get costumes or other Halloween details done? Although it tends to use a whole room, a blanket fort does contain the action to that space. Plus, it can be adapted to practically anything.

Our GORF, or good ol’ reliable fort, was a zoo for a round up of stuffies. I suspect this was Big Sister’s idea but it was endorsed by Little Sister: the stuffies needed Halloween costumes. To confess, the idea  may have been inadvertently inspired by me. After all, I was sewing. Fortunately, an assortment of  hats from the dress-up trunk was enough. The deer hat fit best on the cougar.  Since this was a zoo, the  animals were sorted out according to type and assigned to a space. This took quite a big chunk of time, along with feeding the animals an assortment of wooden block food.

Pretend play is a treat for brains. Not only is it a powerful and complex tool for thinking and creativity, it’s also a gateway for interacting with the world emotionally. Kids can imagine being scared, hurt, angry, or anxious and feel those emotions to a controllable level. As they play, kids can take a variety of roles, such as the boss, the zookeeper, the parent, or the baby and try it on for size. Just like a costume, what words and actions fit each part?

Connecting thinking and action in imaginative play requires both decision making and planning. Kids need to choose what to do and they need to organize how they will do it. They use language purposefully as they interact with others, no matter if those others are real or pretend.

Halloween involves imagining on a grand scale. Blanket forts are a safe and secure place. Perhaps, this is kind of like having both tricks and treats?

October Alphabet: Y is for Yoga and Kids

Yoga and kids are a great combination for anytime, but with the extra excitement of Halloween, yoga is a sort of magic potion for regrouping and calming.

Doing yoga with your child will benefit both of you and there are also videos that kids can watch on YouTube. Yoga for kids will basically use body positions, breathing, and possibly some meditation or quiet, still time. It can also include games like yoga tag and imagination. Cosmic Kids has a special fun series that uses stories and adventures.

halloween-yoga-kidsSome Halloween  yoga poses (Asanas) for kids are:

Black Cat: Go down on hands and knees. Look down and tuck in your chin. Slowly, lift up your back until it’s a round arch like a cat. Kids can meow.

halloween yoga posesBlack Cat/Howling Wolf: Start on hands and knees again, round your back towards the ceiling as you give your best meow or hiss, look up and arch your back the other way as you howl to the moon. (Teacher Vee from Rainbow Kids Yoga says sounds help kids work on their breath.)halloween-yoga-kids

Spider: On hands and knees, leave hands on the floor and bring up each knee like you were going to stand up. Your feet will be wide apart. Slide your hands behind your feet and move side to side or walk like a spider.

halloween yoga poses for kidsJack-o-Lantern: Lay on your belly and bend your knees, reach back to hold your ankles with your hands. With a deep inhale, push your feet with your hands and bring them up. Lift your head, chest and legs off the floor. You are a round pumpkin! Now, make any face that you want to give your Jack-o-Lantern.

halloween-kids-yogaPumpkin: The jack-o-lantern is face out, this one is face in. Kneel down and lower your body to sit back on your heels. Slowly bring forehead down to the floor in front of knees, arms beside legs. Some kids like to bend their elbows and have arms beside the chest. Take a few deep breaths. This is a restful pose when kids need to regroup.

On a physical level, yoga impacts strength, flexibility, coordination, concentration, balance, and body awareness. Mentally, yoga and movement activities build critical connections in the brain. These pathways are used for other learning such as math and language. In addition to physical and mental skills, yoga also encourages the development of social and emotional skills, such as concentration, cooperation, self-control, confidence and emotional regulation. Yoga is often especially helpful for children with anxiety concerns.

by Source-WPNFCC4. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia
by Source-WPNFCC4. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

With the recent hype of the new Star Wars trailer, I was reminded of a cute story about a three year old girl. As her mom said she was going out to Yoga, the little one asked, “Will you see Darth Vader too?” I wonder if there is a yoga pose for Yoda…

What are some other yoga poses and movements for Halloween?

X=X & O’s – Fall and Halloween Games for Kids

With night arriving earlier, kids are inside after supper. Those few minutes before bed are just enough time for some fall and Halloween games for kids. Of course, these can be played anytime and in any weather.

fall and halloween games for kidsX and O’s are a fun game for older preschool kids. Little Sister hasn’t figured out how this game works but she likes to put the green and red apples on the board. Kids may have seen the x’s and o’s of tic-tac-toe at the playground and when there during the day, may have made one side all x or all o. Often, kids make up their own game using the pieces.

action game Simon SaysA super game for kids of any age is Simon Says. Instead of Simon giving the instructions, it could be a Halloween character. Witch says touch your nose, or maybe Wizard, Zombie, or Skeleton. This game encourages careful listening because the instruction has to have the magic words Simon (or other character) says.

deck of cards for countingA deck of cards can be used to play Monster, Monster. Use just the cards with numbers from 2 to 10. For two people, each person gets half  the cards. Each player turns over a card and the one with the higher number takes both. Kids don’t have to know numbers, they can look and see which card has more designs.

game-pairsConcentration, Memory, or Pairs is an adaptable game for younger preschoolers. This can be played with a few pairs from a deck of cards or you can make some with fall and Halloween images. Included below is a game page that you can print off, glue onto stiff paper or light cardboard, and cut out. Make sure the stiffer paper is plain or kids can find matches using what’s on back. For kids that are really good at this, use more pairs. This is a good game to play with grandmas and grandpas.

Fall and Halloween games for kids might be tricky, but aren’t they a treat?


October Alphabet: W is for Wands & Science Magic for Kids

October is a fun time of the year for science magic for kids. There are some easy and simple science tricks that kids can do with ordinary household items. With a wave of a wand or a magic spell, wizards can make things float and sink. Partially fill a large bowl or container that you … Continue reading October Alphabet: W is for Wands & Science Magic for Kids

Halloween Math: V is for Vampires That Count

In folklore, vampires are obsessed with counting. For some Halloween math, how about kid vampires that count? Remember, Count von Count from Sesame Street? He counted everything. Perhaps, this mania for counting is why so many vampires are called Count. Whatever the play on words, counting can also be a form of play. For kids … Continue reading Halloween Math: V is for Vampires That Count

October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter I for imaginative play. Albert Einstein himself said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The month of October is a dramatic time for the changes in nature and these seem to make a backdrop for the drama of Halloween. No sooner do the green leaves of … Continue reading October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play