Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pilgrims & Indians Lesson Plans

Here are our lesson plans for a pilgrims & indians themed week!

The subjects included in these lesson plans are: science, math, rotation day subjects, music, sensory, craft, literacy, nature study, social studies, and "anything else." If you've seen our daily schedule you'll know that we cover more topics each day than just these. Certain plans for any of the subjects we cover that don't get their own section in the lesson plans can go there, so if there's a certain song I'd like to sing during circle time or we're working on a certain sports skills it would go there.

Now on to the actual plans! I'd like to add really quick that anything with an * next to it matches the theme specifically. While I usually try to make all the plans as themed as possible, or at least have ties to the season we're in or some other thing that is going on like a holiday I only put an * next to the things we're doing that are specific to the theme, which this week is pilgrims and indians!

Science: Mayflower Sink/Float. For this activity you just need to fill up a bin with water and make a little boat out of foil with your child. Then have them add things to the top of the boat to see how much it takes to make it sink.
Math: Color by number pilgrims. 
Rotation Day Subject: Social Studies: Social Studies is every day this week. I'm doing this because when doing a unit based on people from another time there is a lot of social studies lessons to be had.
Music: Intro to Antonio Vivaldi. I print out a picture of our famous musician of the week and put it in a frame on my desk, along with an index card with their name written on it. We listen to and discuss their music.
Sensory: Painting with fall spices. You can do this fun sensory art activity a couple of different ways. You can mix some fall spices into washable tempera paints of fall and neutral colors. You can make your own paints with flour, water, and the spices, using the spices to give the paints their color. Some ideas for fall spices to use: allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Encourage your child to smell the paints, and finger paint with them to experience the different sensory elements of them.
Craft: Bingo marker Indian corn. 
Literacy: Syllable sorting. Use this super cute printable to help teach your child about syllables, the words have pictures and are fall themed!
Nature Study: Talk about nature walks. We're going to be taking a nature walk as part of Tuesday's lesson plans so the day before doing that it is great to take the opportunity to discuss what to do on a nature walk, things to look for, safety precautions, etc.
Social Studies: Life for pilgrim children vs life for children today. 
Anything Else: "I'm a Little Indian" song & pilgrim vs Indians chart. The website I just gave a link to did cute venn diagrams for pilgrims vs Indians and life for pilgrim children vs life for children today.

Science: Dancing raisins science experiment.
Math: Pilgrim Addition Work 
Rotation Day Subject: Geography: Water formations vocab. We'll discuss each of the following terms: river, delta, isthmus, waterfall, peninsula, bay, lake, and ocean. I will want her to be able to identify these at a different date.
Music: Further study of Antonio Vivaldi. This can include reading biographies about him!
Sensory: Fall playdough mats.  Make some playdough in some fun fall colors with your child and then let them use playdough mats (after you've laminated them of course).
Craft: Native American Pattern Headbands 
Literacy: Pilgrim & Indian sight word cards.  Sight word practice for kids perfect for this theme and the Thanksgiving holiday approaching!
Nature Study: Field Trip: Nature Walk. You can print out a scavenger hunt list with pictures if you'd like or just let your kids lead the way. I'm opting for the second one. We'll do our nature study on what interests her.
Social Studies: Learn about pilgrim jobs. Check out books from the library, and watch videos online to learn about the jobs that pilgrims had. This printable is helpful with this lesson.
Anything Else: "Five Pilgrims" poem hand motions.
poem of pilgrims and indians | Thanksgiving Poems for Kids: Great Poems & Read Along Videos

Science: Magnetic vs not magnetic. Put out some materials and a big magnet like this one and let your child explore with them to see what is magnetic and what isn't, and then talk about it!
Math: Pilgrim roll & cover die practice. 
Rotation Day Subject: Foreign Language: Learn French numbers.
Music: Further study of Antonio Vivaldi.
Sensory: Apple cinnamon sensory bin. Fill up a bin with rolled oats and some cinnamon stickers. Then add in some artificial apples (you can find them at Dollar Tree), and some other apple things you may have (erasers, gems, etc.)
Craft: Native American Hand Print. 
Literacy: Pilgrim Suitcase craft/writing.  Wonderful more hands on writing prompt for this theme.
Nature Study: Further exploration of found interest, and recording results in science journal.
Social Studies: Watch educational videos on topic of pilgrims/Indians/the first Thanksgiving.
Anything Else: Mayflower Song
The Very Busy Kindergarten: November Poetry Box:

Science: Make our own butter. Science lesson to fit the theme! Pilgrims had to make their own butter, and you can too by putting some whipping cream in a jar with a good lid and shaking it up together!
Math: Even Steven & Odd Todd. Make these cuties to help aide in your discussion of what numbers are even and what numbers are odd.
Rotation Day Subject: Cooking Lesson: Make Mayflower Doughnuts. 
Music: Further study of Antonio Vivaldi.
Sensory: Apple oobleck. 
Craft: Pilgrim Hat Craft. These are all super cute and would look adorable for the kids to wear at a Thanksgiving party.
Literacy: Build a word apple tree.
Nature Study: Further exploration of found interest and record findings in science journal.
Social Studies: Native American Homes Lesson. Discuss wigwams, grass houses, adobe houses, igloos, tepees, etc.
Anything Else: I haven't filled this spot out yet because I plan on taking an educational field trip either this day or the next day but haven't decided what it will be. We plan on going somewhere to learn about Native Americans.

Science: Gummy bear science Very fun and tasty science experiment to end the week with.
Math: Fractions with pretend play cake. We have the Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Cake . It makes a great tool for learning about fractions.
Rotation Day Subject: Family Newspaper:  Family Newspaper. This is great for literacy as well, but we just do it every Friday. It also helps us to record and remember events in our family. We just write down some events that happened in our family in a newspaper style.
Music: Finish study of Antonio Vivaldi, still listening to his music. Make a tin can music maker. 
Sensory: Fall sensory bin. There's lots of options for this, you can come up with your own like I am going to! I'm sure I'll make a post on ours later.
Craft: Thanksgiving Crowns & popsicle stick tepees. I wrote popsicle stick tepees but I decided we're going to go with this toothpick version instead, called Tepee Village.
Literacy: Sorting syllables with play food. Just like we sorted words with different amounts of syllables in the beginning of the week, we're going to do it in a more fun hands-on way to end the week. We'll use pretend shopping baskets and play food and sort the foods into groups based on how many syllables are in their name.
Nature Study: Make sure all the findings from exploring the current interest from the nature walk are recorded in the science journal.
Social Studies: First Thanksgiving Activity. This is one of the our favorite activities to do when Thanksgiving is approaching, we do it every year! It's so interactive and helps kids to feel more like a part of the First Thanksgiving story. We are going to do it at the Thanksgiving feast play date my daughter is hosting as well.
Anything Else: I haven't filled this spot out yet because I plan on taking an educational field trip either this day or the day before but haven't decided what it will be. We plan on going somewhere to learn about Native Americans.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Invitation to Create: Playdough Turkeys

I haven't posted an invitation to create in a while, so here is one I made for my daughter for our week or turkey themed lesson plans. Isn't it cute?

To recreate this invitation to play you'll need a plate like the one in the picture, you can find them at Dollar Tree. Then put the playdough in the middle, we usually make our own but we got some Softee Dough as a gift and decided to just use that. Then in the sections around it put feathers, googly eyes, cut up pipe cleaners, and orange craft foam triangles I cut out. Also have out some playdough tools on the table for your child to have even more creative freedom.

This is all great for fine motor skills, sticking the feathers and other little pieces in the playdough, and using the tools.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Turkey Theme Lesson Plans

So this week we're doing a turkey theme and I made up lots of lesson plans for it, using lots of fun turkey themed activities I found on Pinterest and other blogs, as well as ideas of my own. These lesson plans go along with our daily schedule that we use. 

The subjects included in these lesson plans are: science, math, rotation day subjects, music, sensory, craft, literacy, nature study, and "anything else." If you've seen our daily schedule you'll know that we cover more topics each day than just these. I included those in at the top by writing "first we do morning message, name sign in, circle time, worksheets & dramatic play." And also "after NS (nature study) we do STEM & exercise." Certain plans for any of the subjects we cover that don't get their own section in the lesson plans can go there, so if there's a certain song I'd like to sing during circle time or we're working on a certain sports skills it would go there.

Now on to the actual plans! I'd like to add really quick that anything with an * next to it matches the theme specifically. While I usually try to make all the plans as themed as possible, or at least have ties to the season we're in or some other thing that is going on like a holiday I only put an * next to the things we're doing that are specific to the theme, which this week is turkeys!

Monday start of the themed week: As an introduction to our new theme we used a turkey web that I printed out from here and filled in the bubbles with what comes to mind when we think of turkeys and questions we had about turkeys. We also checked out some turkey books from the library and read them to learn new information and keep track of if any of our questions were answered. Then we filled out the turkeys "can" "have" and "are" worksheet from that same link.

Science: Turkey races with turkey balloon rockets. This is a super fun activity to start the week off with and get kids excited for all of the turkey themed learning they will be doing. + Introduction to our scientist of the month: Isaac Newton, we'll be doing more work related to him in the weeks to come.
Math: My turkey family numbers. For this activity give your child a piece of paper and have them draw the members of their family as turkeys. Then write things like ____ turkeys, ____ eyes, ____ noses, ____ feet, etc. and have them do the math and fill in the numbers.
Rotation Day Subject: Social Studies: Today vs. The Past Sorting. For this activity you can print out a worksheet with pictures from today and the past that your child can cut and glue and sort that way, or you can do what we decided to do and use a dry erase board or a piece of paper to make a venn diagram. This is a good opportunity to talk about venn diagrams if your child isn't already familiar with them. Then proceed to have a discussion with your child about things they can think of about the first Thanksgiving compared to now, such as they didn't have appliances to cook the Thanksgiving meal and we do, the first Thanksgiving lasted 3 days and ours is one day, etc. Also some similarities of course like being thankful, feasting, etc.
Music: Intro to Frederic Chopin. When we do an introduction to a new musician I print out a picture of the musician and put in the frame on my desk, along with an index card with the musicians name on it. We listen to music by that musician, and sometimes I am able to get worksheets to print out. For Frederic Chopin I printed out a crossword puzzle and a copy writing practice sheet with one of his quotes from this pack.
Sensory: Paint pumpkin as prep for globe pumpkin. Get some use out of your pumpkins you probably still have around the house as Thanksgiving decoration and paint it like a globe. You can have your child paint a pie pumpkin blue all over so you can paint the continents on it and things after it dries and then use it as a teaching tool.
Craft: Name Turkey Craft. + famous artwork of the day (Girl with a Pearl Earring)
Literacy: Turkey in the Bag Game. This is such a cute and fun idea for a literacy game. For a more advanced version we decided to say the letter, the sound, and a word that starts with that letter.
Nature Study: Start leaf exploration and record findings in SJ (science journal). Either let your child go outside into nature themselves and gather some leaves and explore them anyway they would like, or bring some inside for them and set up your own activities. I prefer to let my daughter lead the way for our nature studies. The first day in a new nature study is all about exploration and the science journal. I like for the science journal to be earthy tones and materials, with plain white pages inside. I let my daughter record her findings and then I will write the date and a summary of what we were doing.
Anything Else: Turkey themed worksheets. I ended up not printing the pack of turkey themed worksheets I was going to because the work would have been really easy for my daughter. But, they are still super cute for a lot of toddlers/pre-k kids.

Science: Hopping corn experiment. I decided to change this up a bit and do pieces of indian corn instead of popping corn.
Math: Turkey Addition Game. We've been having so much fun with this! It's a great printable to help your kids have fun learning their addition skill.
Rotation Day Subject: Geography: Land formations vocab. + globe pumpkin. For the land formation vocabulary we're going to discuss each of the following: canyon, island, plains, desert, mountain, plateau, volcano, hill, and valley. I will want her to be able to identify these at a later date. The globe pumpkin I talked about in yesterdays plans, today we would be painting on the continents and labeling them.
Music: Further study of Frederic Chopin. This means more listening to his music, reading biographies about him, watching educational videos about him, etc. whatever we can find to study our musician of the week further.
Sensory: Turkey playdough mat.  Make some homemade playdough with your child in some fun fall colors and then let them use it with the playdough mat after you've laminated it.
Craft: Turkey color by number & turkey hand prints. Color by number isn't much of a craft but it's fun and helps kids work on their coloring skills and number recognition if they are still needing help with that. For the turkey hand prints let your little one trace their hand on a piece of brown paper or cardboard and cut it out, then give them some fun things like feathers, fake jewels, glitter, googly eyes, etc. to glue on and make it their own. Providing a marker or crayon if they want to draw a face or any other details is a good idea too. + famous artwork of the day (No. 5, 1948)
Literacy: Label the turkey writing.  This is the same link as before with what we started out turkey themed week with.
Nature Study: Further study leaves. Check out books from the library about leaves, do leaf rubbings, etc.
Anything Else: Feather tot tray. For this activity give your child a little colander on a tray and a stack of feathers and have them stick them into the holes. This is a good activity to give you some time in between other subjects to prep what you may need or whatever, it's just a fun little brain break that still requires focus and hones fine motor skills.

Science: What happens when you eat without washing your hands experiment. For this experiment you need pieces of bread and ziploc bags. Put one piece of bread into a bag that hasn't been touched by somebodies hands (use tongs, or gloves or something to get it in there), then let your child touch a piece of bread and put it into a ziploc bag without washing their hands, then have them wash their hands and do the same with the next piece of bread. Zip the Ziploc bags and then come back and look at them to see the results and discuss the importance of hand washing.
Math: Turkey numbers & tallying matching cards.  This will be the first time my daughter works with tally marks so I thought she would enjoy the introduction if it went along with the turkey theme, and these cards have cute little turkeys on them that will get kids eager to make the matches. I printed out turkey number cards and tally matches 0-5.
Rotation Day Subject: Foreign Language: French Little Pim Video. The foreign language we study is French, and we often watch Little Pim videos that we own or rent from the library.
Music: Further study of Frederic Chopin.
Sensory: Invitation to create playdough turkeys. Set out playdough, cut up pipe cleaners, googly eyes, feathers, orange craft foam triangles, and some playdough tools. I also put out a turkey stuffed animal we have as inspiration, but you could use a picture from a book, a different turkey decoration, etc.

Craft: Paper plate & tissue paper turkey. The third idea on this website. + famous artwork of the day (Dora Maar au Chat)
Literacy: Turkey in the bag game, same game from Monday's lesson plans.
Nature Study: Further study of leaves and continue recording in nature study.
Anything Else: Turkey pokey

Science: Pine cone learning & experiments. Gather some pine cones from outside and conduct some experiments with them. There are so many options, see what direction your child wants to go and follow their lead (sink vs float, looking up information, etc.) Make sure they observe the structure of the pine cones and you talk about why they open and close up.
Math: Five Little Turkeys emergent reader. 
Rotation Day Subject: Cooking: Make a pizza turkey. So much fun to do a themed cooking lesson where kids can create a masterpiece out of food and then gobble up all the healthiness!
Music: Further study of Frederic Chopin, continuing to listen to his music during music time. And music theory with a mirror. This is one of our absolute favorite music activities, we use a small dry erase board, but I also love the small mirror idea. Here is where I got the idea, and how to do it.
Sensory: Pumpkin guts mess free exploration. Open up a pumpkin and put some of the guts and seeds into a Ziploc bag so your little one can explore these things and how they work with no mess. I always have my daughter actually dig into a pumpkin herself as well so she gets both types of experiences with the pumpkin guts with this activity.
Craft: Coffee filter turkey.  + famous artwork of the day (Cafe Terrace at Night)
Literacy: Thanksgiving writing prompts. You can find some on the internet or even make up your own. Here's a few examples: "pretend you are a turkey, and you don't want to be eaten. How will you escape?" "Our Thanksgiving turkey jumped out of the oven and told us.." "Every year on Thanksgiving our family..." There are various printables for these out there, or you can just give your child a piece of paper and write the prompt on their yourself. I like to just tell my daughter the prompt and let her come up with her story.
Nature Study: Further leaf study.
Anything Else: Turkey Pokey & turkey worksheets.

Science: Erupting pumpkin. Take a little pie pumpkin, carve a face into it, put some colored baking soda inside, and then pour in some vinegar to the top with your child and watch it erupt, over and over again!
Math: Roll a turkey game. I love this because it works on die skills and drawing skills.
Rotation Day Subject: Family Newspaper: Family Newspaper. This is great for literacy as well, but we just do it every Friday. It also helps us to record and remember events in our family. We just write down some events that happened in our family in a newspaper style.
Music: Further/end of Frederic Chopin study. On Friday at the end of our music study we always make an instrument. This week we will be making a kazoo. There are a few different ways out there to do this but I suggest following this post.
Sensory: Cranberry dough.  Fun sensory dough for close to Thanksgiving time, my daughter loves making this kind of stuff together and this won't be the first year we've made this, we also love the cranberry oobleck that you can make from this dough.
Craft: Bubble Wrap Turkey.  Adorable craft to end a turkey theme with! + famous artwork of the day (Arnolfini Portrait)
Literacy: Color by sight word turkey.  Great for helping with coloring skills and reading skills.
Nature Study: Open leaf press. In the beginning of our leaf study we took some leaves and put them in our leaf press, so we will be opening that and seeing how they turned out and crafting with them.
Anything Else: Turkey baster relay race. I like to play a fun game on Fridays, a good gross motor one like this is never a bad idea.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Healthy Blackberry Popsicle

Isn't this popsicle a beauty? And it's a healthy beauty at that! We got this fabulous color naturally with no food coloring or anything.

Healthy Blackberry Popsicle Recipe:

- blackberries
- organic plain yogurt
- organic multi-floral and clover honey
- pure vanilla flavor no alcohol

I didn't measure any of my ingredients, I just tossed some of each all into the blender in amounts I thought would make 3 popsicles and taste yummy, so it varies on how many you are making and your personal preferences.

I did make these popsicles with my daughter though, I always like to include her for lessons in the kitchen! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Best Thanksgiving Books

Here's our list of our favorite Thanksgiving books! All of these are great for kids, some are nonfiction and some are fun fictional stories with favorite characters. Both can be used to help kids understand Thanksgiving and learn about the first Thanksgiving.

1. Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday by Mike Allegra

2. What Was the First Thanksgiving? by Joan Holub

3. Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet by Jane O'Connor

4. Pinkalicious: Thanksgiving Helper by Victoria Kann

5. The Firefighter's Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts

6. 1, 2, 3 Thanksgiving by W. Nikola-Lisa

7. Thanksgiving Sweets and Treats (Holiday Cooking for Kids!) by Ronne Randall

8. The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward

9. Beauty and the Beaks: A Turkey's Cautionary Tale by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

10. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schulz

11. Thanksgiving Day Alphabet by Beverly Barras Vidrine

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thankful Tree

I'd like to share our Thankful Tree we made for remembering what we are thankful for this year. Each year since my daughter was born we've done something like this. The first year we just as her parents wrote down what we were thankful for because she wasn't even one year old yet. When she was one year old I made one of those "thankful turkey" crafts for her with the things she said she was thankful for. When she was two I re-purposed a tissue box to look like a turkey (my daughter colored the feathers) and then we put slips of paper in every day with what we were thankful for. This year it is the Thankful Tree! We like to do this for a few reasons, the most important reason being getting our daughter and ourselves thinking about what we are thankful for. One of the other main reasons is for a family keepsake we can always cherish every year on Thanksgiving, looking back at what our children were thankful for. 

To make our Thankful Tree I got a white poster board from Dollar Tree and drew the outline of a tree on it, we then colored the tree brown with crayon and then I outlined it with a brown Sharpie. After that I used an orange Sharpie to write "Our Thankful Tree 2015" on one side and a quote about thankfulness I really like. "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessing." - William Arthur Ward. The last step in making it was making the leaves we will need for the month of November (when we do our thankful tree). I used green, yellow, orange, and red sheets of construction paper and cut little leaf shapes from them. I wanted some on the bottom to make it look cuter like a real fall tree so I arranged some and glued them on how I wanted.

To use the Thankful Tree you let your child grab a leaf that you've cut out for the month in any color they want and then they'll tell you what they are thankful for. You can write it for them or help them/let them write it themselves. After that you can put some glue on the back of the leaf and give it to your child to stick on the tree wherever they would like. Then you do the same with what you are thankful for, as well as your child's other parent or whoever else you would like to participate (grandparents, siblings, etc.) To keep each others thankful leaves separate I'd encourage writing an initial in the bottom corner of each leaf saying whose it was.

Pumpkin Pie Popsicle

My daughter loves homemade popsicles so I made a special pumpkin pie version for the fall. 

 Pumpkin Pie Popsicles Recipe:
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 5oz vanilla bean yogurt
- 1 and 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. These ingredients blended together also makes a great smoothie, like most of my popsicle recipes do. So you can give your kiddo some to drink with some whipped cream on top and use the rest for popsicles, or just pour it all straight into popsicle molds.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Party Ideas for Kids

We had my daughters Halloween party a couple weekends ago and I feel really bad that I'm just now getting around to making the post about it but here it is! I hope you're able to get some good ideas for your child's next Halloween party from it.

This one is my favorite picture from the whole party. It's got all the kids together and they are all showing personality and it's just adorable with them all in their costumes!

So I spent a lot of time getting things ready for this party, I decorated a lot and made sure everything looked Halloweeny and prepared  a craft, games, and food. 

For the Decor:
I like to drape those black cloth things over some of our furniture to give it an extra creepy Halloween look, you can find these at Dollar Stores and probably anywhere that is selling Halloween decorations. We've also got a skeleton bride hanging there and a "Haunted House" sign. On the hutch I put 3 sparkly tinsel witches hats that we got a few years ago, a ghost candle, pumpkin candle, paper mache skeleton face my daughter painted and a picture that looks like a man and a dog when you look at it one way and a skeleton and a dog when you look at it the other way. Those pictures are really cool and kids always like them, you can find them at dollar stores.

Here's more of that cloth covering another piece of our furniture. This is where I put the goodie bags on display (will talk about/show those more later). I also had sitting there some Halloween crafts my daughter had made, our craft, and one of our games sitting there.

There's also a ghost craft my daughter made with a cup and some crepe paper on display, and some of our pumpkins in the corner there.

Here we had another one of those cool pictures hanging and then put some of our littler pumpkins on display along with some Halloween decorations.
 We have all sorts of these things hanging around the house and on the windows in the front of the house. We like to put them on the doors inside too. There always at the dollar store this time of year and we have quite a few characters, they definitely add to the Halloween look in your home.

Then we just had some more simple Halloween decor like these pumpkin lights and this stuff.

More decor, we had some Halloween/spooky movies out in a stack during the party next to these cute ghost decorations. I did that to just give the house more of a Halloween feel, it's the little touches like these that look great in the backgrounds of pictures, in lieu of a messy array of movies you have watched that month or whatever. And of course Halloween stuffed animals were out on the couch.

 Let your kids help with the decorating too since you are throwing the party for them. My daughter was very proud of "her display" she made. And we hung that orange and black door thing for her because she really wanted to have that at the party.


Specifically for the party of course I printed out these super cute place cards from a blog called Deck The Halls.

I let my daughter set them out where she wanted at the table and it worked out really well. Our table had an orange plastic table cloth on it and then a black lace Halloween table cloth. I also had our big spell book on the center of the table.

For the Food:

Really quick I have one more thing to add about decorating! You can see in the photo below how on the fridge there is just a Halloween artwork of my daughters with some Halloween magnets keeping it up. I also had a few pictures of her still up on it higher but I took off all the extra magnets and things. This way when taking pictures at the party the background didn't look cluttered. I tried to make it look as Halloweeny every as possible!

So this was our food display!

I cut a Halloween plastic table cloth down to size for our counter and I put out Halloween paper plates, cups, and napkins. I printed the "Eat, Drink and Be Scary" thing out from this blog. I think it added the absolute perfect touch to the food display! I also set out a few little decorative items like pretend jars that said things like "spooky spider cider" and "skin of toad."
 So for food/drinks we had:
- Vampire Swirl Cake (which I'll share how to make soon)
- Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins, I made these even more Halloweeny by putting them in spider cupcake liners and putting witch hat food picks in them.
- tortilla chips
- pretzels
- guacamole spider web dip. I didn't take pictures of that up close but all you need to do is get a container of guacamole, put some sour cream in a ziploc bag, cut a hole and squirt it on top of the guacamole in a spider web design.
- water bottles
- apple cider

Vampire Swirl Cake Recipe:
- box of red cake mix and what it calls for (water, oil, eggs)
- whipped vanilla icing
- tube of red icing
- plastic vampire fangs

As you can see my daughter had fun with the icing. This is another part that is great to involve your kids in. Since it is your child's party after all it's nice to make them as big of a part of the planning, decorating, and getting things ready as they can.

So bake the cake according to the directions on the package and you'll end up with a red bunt cake. Once it is cooled you can spread on the icing with a spatula making it as smooth as you can. Then take the tube of red icing and squirt some on it lines. After you have some red on there you need to wash your hands thoroughly and then use your finger to swirl the red icing around until it looks really cool like a "vampire swirl". Stick the fangs in the back and you're good to go!

Eating their cake. Yum!

For Activities:
We played two games, read some Halloween books and had a special dramatic play area set up for the younger guest at our party.

The first thing we did was play Halloween bingo. I printed out the adorable sheets from here. We played it with candy corn and the winner got a sheet of Halloween window clings for a prize.
The second game we played was our version of "pin the boo on the ghost"

We got a white poster board and cut it into the shape of a ghost and used a black Sharpie to give it a pretty ghost face, complete with eyelashes. But the important part was that it had a decent sized mouth since that's where the kids were going to be pinning the boo. I taped the ghost to the wall underneath our "BOO" sign which I thought was really cute. For the boos I cut out speech bubbles from black paper and wrote "BOO!" on them. I had a Halloween bandanna for the kids to put over their eyes but we ended up just letting them close their eyes and giving them a spin before letting them try to pin the boo on the ghosts mouth. For the pinning I just folded some tape and put it on the back of the black speech bubbles before I gave them to the kids so they would adhere to wherever they stuck it. The winner of this game won a child's vampire mask.

For our next activity we had reading. I was going to read a Halloween book to the kids but I ended up letting one of our older guests do it instead. She read Goodnight Goon (which is the book I had picked) and Five Black Cats.
Here's our Halloween book display I had set out. I had most of them in a stack and then a few favorites put up, along with two I specifically thought would be good for our younger guest. If you have young toddlers/babies coming to your party because they are siblings of your child's friends you need to make sure you set up some activities for them too. So I had Biscuit's Pet & Play Halloween sitting out since it's a touch and feel book, as well as Can You Make The Monster Giggle? because it too is a touch and feel and makes noise.

We had one more activity for our younger guest (she is one by the way). 

I called it "The Princess Patch" and it was just a Little People vehicle we had that could be used as a hayride, some Disney princess Little People, and some toy pumpkins. One of them lit up.

For Our Craft:
I printed out a "draw the details" Frankenstein face from this website .

So I had the sheets and then a little purple Halloween bucket to put the supplies everyone could use in them. I put out facial feature stickers, bottles of glue, googly eyes, green glitter, and black crayons. This way everyone got to do their own thing and be creative, and there was a variety of supplies so everyone's looked different.

For The Goodie Bags:

 I let my daughter make the goodie bags for each kid. We used paper goodie bags that had ghosts on them which is where I wrote the kids names. Every goodie bag was the same except for the
one for our youngest guest, but I like to label them and put them on display. We gave each guest three skeleton rings, 2 boxes of Halloween stickers, a couple pieces of candy, and a pack of fruit snacks. Our younger guest got stickers, Plum Organics pouch and a piece of chocolate.

There's the display I had for the goodie bags, just put them all out with some Halloween/Fall crafts my daughter had made and two little cute rubber duckies, a witch and Frankenstein.

Photo Ops:
We bought this mummy to tape on the wall and take each kids picture next too all dressed up. Not everyone wanted to do it and that was fine, but the ones that did turned out super adorable and it's a great keepsake. Also great for when you go to make a photo book of this Fall and you want to include cute stuff from the Halloween party.

Other good photo opportunities are when parents are dressed up with their children like I did for my daughter! Also having a Halloween decoration that stands on it's own like this witch is great for the kids to take their pictures next too. The first picture on this post was all the kids and the witch.