October is one of my favorite times of the year! There are so many options for activities that I have to discipline myself and try not to do too many. My assistant, Mrs. Lisa, always yells at me for buying more Halloween materials so I have to sneak them in the office. Some days, I feel like we are an old married couple… Of course, I say that out of much love because I would be lost without her!
One of the best things about October is that it is a great time to teach emotions. Many of our kiddos are scared or frightened of costumes and scary things this time of year. We springboard off of that emotion and teach others. The BLUE BUTTERFLIES GROUP will focus on the “Basic 4” emotions- Happy, Sad, Mad, and Scared. The RED BUTTERFLIES GROUP will branch off from those “Basic 4” Emotions and come up with other emotions associated with the “Basic 4” such as excited, upset, frightened, terrified, disappointed, etc. Here are some great ways to work on emotions in October:
- Pumpkin Emotions- In our SBC®SSP October Lesson Plans, we have pumpkin emotion activities that teach the “Basic 4” for our BLUE BUTTERFLIES GROUP. We sing songs about emotions and Jack-O-Lanterns. One of my favorites is by Super Simple Learning called “Can you Make a Happy Face”. We sing that in SCT, then carry it through LGM, and pull it all together in the ST.
- SCT- Sing the song, pause it and show the kiddos how to make the faces. Ask them to show you their “happy face”, “sad face”, etc. You will find that many of the kids will not be able to make the faces that correlate with the emotion. They will get it eventually! Just keep working on it. BTW- this is why we continue the same activities over the course of a month. It gives the children time to acquire the skills/vocabulary being taught. 😊
- LGM- sing the song as the kids proceed through the obstacle course. Have the pictures of the Jack-O-Lanterns along the obstacle course or at the start or finish. When they start or end, ask them to pick a Jack-O-Lantern face and make that face. EX: Joey picked mad face, so he tried to make a grimace and crossed his arms to show his friends his mad face. Another idea is to find plastic pumpkins from the dollar store. We draw faces on the pumpkins with black permanent markers. The children pick a pumpkin out of a bucket and have to imitate that emotion.
- ST- Make the pumpkin emotions craft talking about the emotions. Ask each child which emotion they would like to make. Be sure to have the pictures displayed so the kids can refer to them when making their faces. We have also incorporated shapes into this activity over the years using triangles to make the eyes and nose. The RED BUTTERFLIES GROUP will tell WHY their pumpkin feels the emotion they picked.
- Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano is also a great way to teach emotions in October! There are loads of activities online for this story. It also addresses bullying and being different. We usually use Spookley with the RED BUTTERFLIES GROUP as their attention to the task is longer and the language is more abstract and requires inferencing.
- Life Lesson Story- we have a life lesson story called “Sometimes I Feel Scared” that goes along well with this month. I made it years ago for one of my social butterflies but still use it every year for at least a handful of kiddos who may feel scared by the Halloween decorations. It has carryover questions as well if you would like to send it home. It is a free material so be sure to download your copy today!
- Trick-or-Treat DOs & DON’Ts– Be sure to download this free resource! You can review it with your older kiddos and send for carryover right before the big night. We practice this several times throughout the sessions incorporating it into all of the activities.
- SCT- sing the song “Knock Knock, Trick Or Treat?” by Super Simple Learning. We also have the kiddos make predictions by pausing the song before the trick-or-treater gets to the door. The shadow shape of the child in its costume allows the kids to try and guess what the costume is before they show it. Our RED BUTTERFLIES can read through the DO’s and DON’Ts together and answer the questions on each page. We usually will do 2-3 pages per group depending on time.
- For LGM, we pretend to walk through the neighborhood and go trick-or-treating. We give the child a trick or treat bag and have them follow the multi-step directions in the obstacle course. The obstacle course is set up with “neighborhood obstacles” like a balance beam “bridge” to cross and a crash pad “hill” to walk over to get to the houses. Sometimes we get the body socks out and have the kids pretend to be a ghost or silly shape costumes!
- For our ST we actually GO trick-or-treating in the facility! BLUE BUTTERFLIES GROUP will go trick-or-treating by wearing their costumes (if they want/can), taking a bag, and pretending to knock on a door. One of our therapists/staff will answer the door with a treat bowl in hand. We will cue the kiddos to say “Trick-or-Treat” when the door opens and to say “thank you” when they receive their treat. The RED BUTTERFLIES GROUP will do the previous steps on their own without cues and answer the questions “who are you?” or “what is your costume?” which are common questions that children will be asked on Halloween night. We then have BOTH groups dump their bags and we discuss the importance of having an adult check the treats before they eat them.
There are so many more fun activities for Halloween! These are just a couple that we have done over the years that the kiddos love and the parents/teachers have given us positive feedback. I hope you find them useful in your groups!
Don’t forget to have fun with your “social butterflies”!