Halloween isn't just about dressing up and trick-or-treating - it's also a great opportunity to learn together as a family!
Kids love Halloween and spooky things. ABC Life Literacy Canada offers these 10 tips, tricks and treats for the whole family to enjoy in the weeks and days leading up to Halloween.
1. Tell each other spooky or scary stories - make-believe or real-life ("the scariest thing that ever happened to me").
2. Libraries and bookstores have lots of spooky kids' books that are especially fun to read aloud at this time of year. Reading with a child is one of the most valuable learning experiences.
3. Play Halloween ABC. Pick a letter, and take turns thinking of Halloween-themed things. For example, words starting with C are costume, candy and clown. Use the alphabet, the first letters of your family's names, or just pick letters at random.
4. Count pumpkins, ghosts and witches. Take a walk around the neighbourhood and count the Halloween items on porches, lawns and store displays. Keep track of them all on a chart and predict which will have the most.
5. Make a Halloween treat. Teaching kids how to follow a recipe is great for reading and math skills. The internet is packed with Halloween recipes. Get the kids to pick a recipe, read the instructions and measure the ingredients.
6. Decorate pizza, sandwiches, cupcakes and cookies - or even just arrange different types of food on plates - to make spooky faces and scary scenes. There are lots of great ideas online.
7. Make a Halloween costume with material from around the house. Use the internet for ideas. Get the kids to write a list of what is needed for the costume and then gather all the materials together.
8. Research the history of Halloween and share the information with the family.
9. Map out your trick-or-treating route before you go. Highlight your route on a map and show kids where your home is located.
10. Organize Halloween candy in different ways. Sort and count by candy type, shape or size. This activity reinforces basic math, association and matching (and also slows down the sugar rush!).
Literacy benefits the entire family-enjoying reading and other learning activities together for just 15 minutes a day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents. Whether you're reading a spooky story or making ghost cupcakes, learning can happen at any time.