Halloween Activities

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Bandage Peel and Reveal

A fun Halloween themed activity that can be adapted to suit ability and is a super way to support fine motor skills too.

I drew a Mummy outline on a big sheet of paper and then attached it to cardboard taping completely over the picture with Sellotape so that it becomes a whiteboard too. This is an alternative to laminating if, like me, you haven’t got one.

Depending on the phase your child is working write letters or words onto the picture. Use marker pen if you want to have the words and letters permanently or whiteboard pen if you want to reuse the mummy within a different phase. The whiteboard pen does come off slightly though as the bandage is peeled off. Now using white elastic adhesive bandages cut strips and stick it over the top of the letters or words. You could use masking tape but you can see the writing through this so bandages work better. Your child peels off the strips, unravelling the mummy’s bandages, and identifies the letters and corresponding sounds. A fantastic way to develop the pincer grip. For children reading words get them to peel the bandage off from the left so that they say each sound in the word as they are revealed. A fun way to support blending.

After my son had finished taking off the bandages he spent a long time sticking them on and taking them back off again. He also enjoyed using a whiteboard pen to make marks and write letters onto the picture.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Shadow Box Phonics

Create an easy shadow box out of a cardboard box to make letter recognition or reading words more engaging and exciting.
A mixture of ‘Tricky Word Torches’ and ‘Shadow Phonics’ activities. I’ll post the link to these activities below. I just cut the end off the box and cut a hole for a torch in the other end. You could use glow sticks inside instead. As it’s getting close to Halloween I used string to create a spider’s web and stuck it on the open end. I put a plastic spider on to add to the effect too. You can now add wooden or magnetic letters to the web as if the spider has caught them. Your child says the phoneme for the letter or reads the words that is stuck in the web.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

‘Spell’ing Book

I’ve been literally obsessed with the idea of spray painting a old board book with chalkboard paint since I saw it over on Play.Hooray.

We used ours today in a little outdoor Halloween themed phonics game. The book was a spell book and my son went on a little hunt around the garden on his broomstick searching for letters. I had spray painted some wooden letters too so they would stand out and the broomstick was an absolute bargain from Wilko at only Β£1! Once he found a letter he added it to his pumpkin cauldron, gave it a stir and then he could attempt to write the letter with chalk in his spell book or any form of mark making was great. This would be an absolutely brilliant way to practise spellings. Search for and find all the letters needed to make a word, stir them into the cauldron in the correct order and then practise writing the word in the ‘Spell’ing book!

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Werewolf Writing

Another Halloween themed activity. A ‘striking’ sensory writing tray. A different way to engage little learners if they enjoy all things spooky and gruesome at this time of year (my son is definitely a big Halloween fan at the moment) and encourage them to practise letter formation without pencil and paper. Claws crossed 🀞🏻

One piece of red card fits nicely into the bottom of a baking tray and I then covered it with dyed rice. I put out some letter cards for my son to look at to help with formation. They are beautifully illustrated and all have a rhyme on the back to help remember how to form the letter. You can actually write directly onto the cards with whiteboard pen too πŸ‘πŸ»

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Phonics ‘Spell’ings

A fun way to practise segmenting, blending and spelling words without using pen and paper! I gathered a few empty bottles from the recycling and wrote some graphemes on the outside with marker pen. The graphemes can be adapted for the phase your child is in. I filled the bottles up with water and in some added a little food colouring too. I then made a couple of sheets for the spells by drawing pictures of the words that needed to be made. Your child looks at the picture on the sheet, segments the word and find the corresponding bottles to spell the word. They can then add some of the liquid from the bottles to their cauldron. Repeat with the other pictures.A great activity to develop phonic knowledge and the spelling of words, but also if you keep the lids on the bottles then unscrewing them is a super way to develop fine motor skills too. If you also put different coloured liquid into the bottles, when they add some to the cauldron, you can discuss colour mixing πŸ‘πŸ»You could put out some blank spell sheets and leave your child to build more words using the bottles and record the words they make on the sheet.

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Room on the Broom

Is there room on the broom for a word like me? For all the lovers of the Julie Donoldson story this is a super activity based on the book that will support and extend phonic knowledge.
I drew a cauldron outline on a large piece of paper and wrote a selection of graphemes inside. I chose to focus on the two different phonemes for ‘oo’, like ‘oo’ in ‘room’ and ‘oo’ in ‘book’. I wrote the focus (oo) inside a box. Your child’s task would be to write as many words using the ‘oo’ grapheme onto post it notes and then stick them onto the broom. Can they fill up the broom with words? Is there enough ‘room on the broom’ for all of the post it notes?
Adapt the graphemes written in the cauldron for the phase your child is working in. Children in Phase 2 could write as many words as they can that rhyme with ‘cat’ and ‘dog’. Children in Phase 4 could build words that start with the adjacent consonants ‘fr’ like the word ‘frog’. Children in Phase 5 could build as many words with the ‘ir’ grapheme, like ‘bird’ or words that use the ‘tch’ for ‘witch’.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Walk the Web

This was a massive hit in our house. Another spider themed activity and a great one for all those Spiderman fans. This activity not only supports phonic knowledge but develops physical skills too such as balance and coordination.
I taped out a spider web on the floor with masking tape. I then placed some letter cards (made of paper) at different points around the web and some spider pictures. I stuck some double sided masking tape onto a pair of gloves so that the side facing out was also sticky.Your child puts on the gloves and balances along the web. When they come to a letter card they say the phoneme and pick it up with the sticky tape on their gloves. They have to step over the spiders. I did this to add a bit more of a challenge. If they fall off the web or step on a spider they have to return to the beginning. They complete the game once they have collected all of the letters and got back to the starting point. Repeat the game with different letters. Adapt the cards depending on phase. They could be digraphs and trigraphs, decodable words, tricky words or children in Phase 5 could collect all the alternatives to a Phase 3 grapheme.
To make it more challenging you could use thinner masking tape that they have to balance on, add more spiders to step over or make your child pick up the cards whilst balancing on one leg. You could also put double sided tape on different parts of the body and they have to collect a card on each body part (knee, elbow, on a hat etc).

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Phonics Operation

A simple activity that is essentially just reading body part words and labelling the body but with added role play and fine motor practise to make it a bit more fun.I drew a Frankenstein monster and then wrote some body part words on small peices of card. Body part words are great as lots of them are decodable (you can sound them out). All the words here would be suitable for a child working within Phase 4. Once Halloween is over you could just have a normal body outline rather than the monster.Your child uses a set of tweezers like a surgeon. They pick up a word card, reads it and then places it on the correct part of the body. Complete the activity to a timer. Can they pick up the cards and label all the body parts in a quicker time the next time they complete the operation?

With Preschool children you could ‘sound out’ the words and they work to blend the sounds together and place them on the correct body part. A great way to develop vocabulary too πŸ‘πŸ»

Copyright Phonics Family 2020
A Good Boo

A simple yet exciting way to really engage children in their reading and provide them with an activity to use their phonic knowledge and sort words. A perfect one for this time of year. This can easily be adapted to suit all the phases.

Using some old tissue boxes I turned them inside out so that the plain side faced out and I taped them back together with masking tape. The hole for the tissues can now act as a mouth for a ghost’s face. I drew on some eyes with marker pen. In Phase 3 children will learn that the grapheme ‘oo’ makes two different sounds (phonemes). I’ve demonstrated the activity with words containing the short ‘oo’ as in ‘good’ and the long ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’. Your child reads the words and sorts them according to what sound the ‘oo’ is making and puts them inside the corresponding ghost’s mouth. You can use the boxes to sort any words or letters if your child is working on initial sounds. If you have three you could sort words that have ‘oo’, ‘ue’ and split digraph ‘u-e’.

If you place a battery operated tea light inside the boxes your child could complete the activity in the dark for added excitement! You can then reuse the ghosts for Halloween decorations!

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Trick or Treat

A fun way to practise reading and spelling tricky words but the game can be played with any word, whether tricky or decodable, that your child is learning to read and spell.

On pieces of cardboard I wrote a selection of Phase 4 tricky words. Adapt this for the phase your child is working in. I also wrote the letters to spell the words on separate smaller pieces of card and also drew a ghost and a spider picture to act as the trick cards. I then filled a cheap plastic trick or treat bucket (50p from Wilko) with some scrap paper and then mixed all the small pieces of cardboard inside.

Your child puts their hand into the bucket to search for a letter card. When they find one they pull it out and place it above the tricky word that has that letter in. If they pull out a spider or a ghost they have to put all the letter cards back and start again!Can they make and spell all the tricky words before pulling out a trick card?

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

A Sense of Halloween

As we’ve welcomed in October and lots of us might be setting up some Halloween based activities this month I thought I would demonstrate a few sensory play trays that prompt children to find, write, spot, rhyme and reveal. All great for supporting phonic knowledge in a multi sensory way.

If you’ve been following the page for a while now you’ll know that I’ve posted a few activities that use these plastic IKEA plates. They’re great! They’ve been planets and crabs among other things. For this activity they were each a Halloween character. I put them onto brown parcel paper as a base which means that you can draw and write directly onto it.

Hopefully the post might inspire you to do one, some or all of the trays at some point this month. The five trays were:

1. Find – I filled the orange plate with lentils and split peas to create a pumpkin. I then added some small wooden letter tiles. Your child searches through, finds and says the phoneme when they find a letter.
2. Write – I filled the yellow plate with salt so it looked like a moon and made a sensory writing tray. Your child looks at a letter or flashcard and forms it in the salt.
3. Spot – I wrote some graphemes with whiteboard pen directly onto the green plate. You say a phoneme and your child places a googly eye over the corresponding grapheme and gives the monster lots of eyes.
4. Rhyme – I filled the plate with the dyed black rice from the Werewolf Writing activity that I posted earlier this week and placed in some small word cards. Your child searches through the rice and finds and sorts the rhyming words.
5. Reveal – I taped a few small pieces of masking tape to the bottom of the plate and wrote some letters onto them. I then covered them all with the dyed rice. Your child uses a small brush to brush away the rice and reveal the letters underneath.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Monster Munch

A super simple way of making reading, recognising graphemes and sorting words a little more engaging and fun and can easily be adapted to suit the phase your child is working in.

Using the back of a envelope draw a monster outline with the mouth over the flap of the envelope. I made three monsters but you can make as many as you would like. I didn’t write the graphemes onto the envelopes so the monsters can be reused at a later date. Write some word or letter cards and your child reads the cards and feeds them to the correct monster.
Your child could sort words that contain graphemes that can are often mixed, like the digraphs ‘ar’, ‘or’ and ‘ur’. For children working in Phase 2 they could feed the same letter to the corresponding monster or you could have picture cards and they sort them according to the initial sound.
Children in Phase 4 could sort words that start with the same adjacent consonants and children in Phase 5 sort words with the alternative graphemes that make the same phoneme. Children in Phase 6 could sort words according to the suffix used
You could also adapt this to sort rhyming word cards too πŸ‘πŸ»

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Phonics Superhero

This activity will provide your child with a real excitement to read and huge motivation to use their phonic knowledge and become a ‘Phonics Superhero’!
You will need some dark paper, PVA glue and some time to let the glue dry. I cut some bat shapes and painted words on to the paper using the glue. PVA is great to use as in the light it is difficult to see the word but when you put it in the dark and shine a torch all is revealed! You can just use a normal writing pencil if you have no glue but you can see this easier in the daylight and it is not quite as magical.
Change the words depending on the phase your child is working in or you can have tricky words instead. You can also have words on the paper that when arranged form a sentence. Your child hunts for the paper bats, reads the words and puts them into a sentence. They can then be a ‘Sentence Superhero’ too!

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Web Spellings

πŸ•·οΈA Halloween version of ‘Play the Ray’. Find the original post by clicking the link below.

πŸ•·οΈAll you need to do is draw a simple web outline and at the end of each spindle write a grapheme. On a bottle top draw a spider. You now say a word and your child moves the spider with their finger to the correct graphemes to spell that word returning to the centre of the web each time. So for the word ‘hat’ they move the spider to ‘h’, then the middle, ‘a’, middle, ‘t’ and back to the middle. Adapt the graphemes you write around the web depending on phase. A fantastic hands-on way to practise any spellings sent home from School.

πŸ•·οΈFor children working at recognising letters you could just say a phoneme (sound) and they move the spider to the correct grapheme (letter).

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Which Witch?

A super simple game to encourage children to recognise tricky words, high frequency words or graphemes from any phase. Adapt the game to suit your child.I made three simple witch hats out of cones of black paper. I then wrote the tricky words from Phase 5 on some separate pieces of paper. Hide one of the words under a hat and move them around like you see magicians do.Your child now simply guesses which hat the word or letter card is under. Get a point every time they guess right and repeat the game with a new word.

For my son we played with letters of the alphabet and then he wanted to hide and move the hats for me to find the letter card.

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