I think I traumatized one of my kindergarteners with my lesson plan on how to make a leprechaun trap.
Even 10 years later, his mother and I recount how she had to convince him leprechauns were not real, but he swore that they came to school and messed up our classroom. I'm so sorry, Dude! Just trying to do some engaging hands-on learning with the kiddos.
So be warned, that it might be a good idea to tell your child that maybe after all, it was you who tripped the trap after all.
Before making the trap, you'll going to want to have a plan. What materials will you want to use? What object might lure a leprechaun into your trap?
This project involves so much learning from science to STEM to writing. In the first steps, kids will plan and prepare to build their leprechaun trap using my FREE How I'll Make My Leprechaun Trap printable.
How to make my leprechaun trap.pdfDownload PDF • 1.39MB
Download the printable and you're ready to make an easy leprechaun trap in minutes. If you don't have all the supplies listed on the left hand side, tell your child/students what you do have. You might want to show them the materials but not let them use them just yet.
Using the printable, have them draw a plan of what their trap will look like. What will they use to lure the leprechaun into the trap? Hopefully, something shiny!
For older kids who can already write, have them label their leprechaun trap plans so that the reader will know what materials they plan to use for which parts.
Ask your child/students, how will the leprechaun know to come to the trap. Will there be any signage to entice them to come inside?
Now let's build it!
While watching the kids build their leprechaun traps you might feel inclined to jump in and say, "Oh what about this? It would be cool if we..." but I encourage you to stop yourself and let this experiment be completely child led.
In the planning stages, we have provided the questions to provoke problem solving and the materials to inspire. This is the kids' part to be the engineers! Giving our children full creative freedom is hard, but it means that what they create is 100% their own.
Whenever I feel the urge to place value on my children's creation or make suggestions, I try to use the technique called "Say what you see." I just narrate what is happening. So instead of saying, "I love that little door you made," I might say, "You made a door out of paper." Sometimes I just try to step away and see what they'll come up with completely on their own!
These easy to make leprechaun traps will surely bring some excitement to your home or classroom. So now what do you do with them on St. Patrick's day?
The day before St. Patrick's day, I have the kids lay their traps wherever they think the leprechauns will be searching for gold and shiny goods. I make sure that they have their lure inside the trap.
Once I'm alone, I go and snag the gold coins/lures out of each trap.
This is the kicker, the piece de resistance, that probably really made my little student frightened: the footprints. Are you unsure of how to make little leprechaun footprints around your trap?
Easy! Get some green paint. Make a fist and paint the bottom side of your fist before gently stamping it across the surface of your choosing. Then dip your pointing finger in the green paint and create little toes over the foot print. Tada, adorable leprechaun footprints, and they couldn't have been made by an adults large feet!
So yeah, it's a good prank, but if your child or students are iffy on the subject, show them how you did it!!!
The kids will flip when they see the leprechauns have sprung their traps without being caught. This is usually when I leave a little note from the leprechauns saying something like, "You almost got me!" or "Try again next year!"
Is September too early to start doing all the hands on learning Halloween Activities? Trick or treating is cancelled this year in my neighborhood due to Covid-19. At first, I really didn't know how to break it to my girls. Halloween is our favorite holiday, but then I decided just because trick or treating was cancelled does NOT mean Halloween was cancelled.
Our regular hands on learning activities have been Halloween themed activities since mid-September. It's true, I just couldn't wait to bring on pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and skeletons and share how we are learning, creating, and discovering through our Halloween activities and crafts.
*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
I only recommend items that I absolutely love. If you click on a link to Amazon from my website, I may get a commission.
Candy Corn Coding: Halloween Activity for kids
Candy corn- It might be gross to some, but it definitely screams Halloween, and I decided it's perfectly shaped to teach coding to Big Sis (4.5 years old).
Using a muffin pan or even a simple hand drawn grid, create a pathway from one end to the other. This is the first coding I've ever done with my daughter, so the objective had to be something familiar... Get the baby pumpkin to its parent.
The skeletons block the road, and the baby pumpkin could get lost, so we need to put out candy corn that point him in the right direction. I explained to my one day coder that the candy corn can only go left, right, up or down and that the pumpkin would follow the directions she had selected for it.
The setup on the left minus the candy corn is what she started with, and from there Big Sis was told to code a way for the tiny eraser pumpkin to reach its parent pumpkin at the top.
Using the candy corn she created a pathway for the pumpkin. To make this spooky Halloween coding activity a bit more challenging, you could also have them remove the redundant codes (any candy corn that goes the same way twice). But since this was our first coding activity, I kept her design the way it was. The video shows an example of the redundant codes removed for more realistic coding.
For Lil Sis (age 2+) I set out 3 adorable pumpkin cutouts each with it's own number. Then I gave her a cup of candy corn and asked her to put the right number of candy corn on each pumpkin.
Counting Candy: Halloween Activity for Toddlers
Since Lil Sis doesn't know her numbers yet. To help expose her to them, I would tell her which one it was and then together count out the candy corn. This easy Halloween math activity teaches number identification, and counting with one to one correspondence.
To help your little one really master counting and number identification you want to make sure you check out one of our favorite activities: Punch Math.
Big sis (4.5 years) is all about addition, so I created the same set up for her, except I used 5 pumpkins and instead of numbers, I put simple addition equations for her Halloween activity. For older kids you could add 3 numbers together or add two bigger numbers.
Candy corn in hand -she did try to sneak one then spat it back out- she carefully counted and added the total number on each little pumpkin. Using candy corn for as a manipulative for our hands on learning lesson was super engaging for both kids.
For more fun beginning addition activities check out these hands-on domino games.
Addition Pumpkins: Halloween Activity
For some water play and counting get out those itsy bitsy pumpkins and write numbers 1-10 on the bottom of them in Sharpie. Fill up a container with water and stick them in so the numbers are hidden.
On a large piece of cardboard make ten circles and draw 1-10 dots in each one. You can arrange like dice or any other way.
Grab some scooping devices from the kitchen and have your children rescue the pumpkins and return them to the correct number. I told my kids that the pumpkins' Halloween magic is restored once all the pumpkins haven been rescued and returned safely to their numbers.
Magic Pumpkin Rescue: Halloween Counting Activity
Grab a pumpkin pie or sugar baby pumpkin for this literacy activity. You'll also need a hammer, golf tees, and a Sharpie. There are SO many ways to incorporate literacy into what is also a totally awesome fine motor game, and I'm going to be honest, I found this game to be a stress release.
For readers, have them hammer a golf tee into each word and read the word as they hammer it. I sprinkled in CVC words for some decoding practice and added sight words because those are all about exposure. The mix kept my little reader on her toes and she has asked to do this everyday since.
Want to know more about CVC words? I tell you what they are and how to teach them right HERE.
Halloween Reading Activity: Hammer the Pumpkin
Very much like the last Halloween reading activity but simpler. Children learning letters and sounds can say the names of the letters and their sounds while hammering each one.
For my two year old just beginning to understand letters, I narrated her actions, "You are hammering the letter D," to help give names to letters she didn't know.
Hammer the Letter Pumpkin Halloween Activity
We had so much fun with this activity building up fine motor skills while practicing literacy skills. Make sure you always use tools under adult supervision (like all our activities).
If your little one is struggling with hammering the tees into the pumpkin, we uncovered a new way to play. You can hammer them in for them, and they pretend to hammer in the rest or, if you have any pouch caps lying around, you can try this!
Abstract Pumpkin Tree!
Spiderweb Spin by Numbers Halloween Activity
Do you remember dot to dot activities where you'd start at one number and create a picture by following the numbers in order?
This is a Halloween hands on learning version of that classic activity. All you need is a paper plate, marker, yarn, scissors, and a fake plastic spider.
Write numbers all around the plate, making sure they're out of order. The more numbers you have the more spiderweb-like the craft will look. Cut a small slit next to each number and insert a long piece of yarn behind the number 1, secured with a small knot.
The rest is super simple, follow the numbers to spin your spiderweb, going under and over, under over. Once you reach the final number, add your creepy crawly arachnid.
So there you go, we just fused number recognition and Halloween crafts for a very cute finished product!
This easy Halloween craft is a classic, but it never seems to amaze the little ones that an apple cut in two makes the perfect pumpkin stamp. Squirt some WASHABLE orange paint onto a plate and you're ready to go. Make sure it's washable, because I messed that up the other day and I'm still paying for it.
I love to create a "buffet" of choices for decorating our pumpkins by putting out googly eyes, green leaves, maybe a little stem cut out, and even some shapes to make our pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns if they so choose.
My one tip for Halloween crafts for preschoolers (or really any craft/art) is to really be as hands-off as possible. If we help them, they begin to think it needs to look the way we made it in order to be considered "good." When we let them explore and create on their own, it might end up super wonky, but we are not assigning a value to their art being realistic.
Many kids get discouraged when it comes to creating art because their drawings/paintings don't look like what they wanted, but if we focus on effort and the process, kids are more likely to enjoy creating art.
Have you ever done this easy Halloween craft before? We love to do it each year and look back at old photos to see how they compare. For more colorful fun discover my ultimate mom hack for mess free painting!
Pumpkin Stamping Halloween Crafts for Preschoolers
One of my go-to's to give everyone free reign over their own pumpkin is this toddler friendly art activity. Let's face it, carving is a lot of work, and my kids want in on the fun. This is a SAFE way to get your kid pumpkin "carving."
Use blue painters tape to discuss shapes and your kid's vision for the Jack-o-lantern and tape a face onto their pumpkin (or better yet have them do it).
Halloween Activities for Toddler
Then kids get to paint over the tape and all around the pumpkin before waiting for it to dry.
Once it's dry, they can peel off the tape (which happens to be a wonderful fine motor skills activity) to reveal the face they made.
I recommend that however it comes out, you don't change or add anything to make it look more like your vision for the pumpkin. By leaving our kids' art as is, we show them that we trust in them as artists and that something they make doesn't need to "fixed" in order for others to value it.
Toddler Friendly Pumpkin Craft for Halloween
I was totally going to make my own, but then I found this FREE SCAVENGER HUNT and thought, "Why reinvent the wheel?" Hats off to this mama also making Halloween safe-at-home for her littles and sharing the fun with the rest of us. I'm thrilled to easily print, cut, and play along with my kiddos this Halloween!
I'm out to create simple, dazzling Hanukkah activities for preschoolers, because in our blended home, Christmas always outshines Hanukkah and to be honest, it kinda breaks my heart.
Growing up, I always felt left out of Christmas and it seemed for my family, Hanukkah was kind of an afterthought. Sometimes we would light the candles; sometimes we didn't. I wanted in on the festivities!
I'm hoping to build my children's excitement for the Festival of Lights while they're still young, so we can build family traditions for years to come. So to pump them up, we will be doing tons of Hanukkah preschool activities. Join us!
*As an Amazon affiliate, I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
Nervous about your child lighting the candles on Hanukkah? With this simple toilet paper roll craft, kids can add and remove lights without any fire.
Hanukkah Activities for Preschoolers
First collect and paint the toilet paper rolls with your preschoolers. Painting is always a sure-fire way to get my preschoolers excited!
Next grab a piece of cardboard long enough to fit 9 toilet paper rolls across. To make it simple to place them, I trace 9 circles in a row across the board.
Then have your preschooler squeeze some glue into a cup to contain the mess. They can dip the end of the toilet paper roll in the cup, without the glue going everywhere before placing the roll in a circle.
This was a great matching, fine motor planning activity for my little one, and a math opportunity with my older preschooler. We discussed symmetry on the menorah with the "Shamash" candle being in the middle.
The Star of David is generally recognized as a symbol of Judaism and is most often recognized from the Israeli flag.
We explored popsicle sticks and dough to make two triangles for this Hanukkah preschool activity.
The kids each made two popsicle triangles and then tried to create the star shape by placing them one on top of another.
How many sides does a triangle have?
How many triangles in the star?
How is this start different from a typical star shape you usually see?
Can you count the points on this star?
Hanukkah Preschool Activity: Math Integration
Do you already have a sticky wall? Just pull out your contact paper and place a dreidel shape on top using a little window then decorate to your heart's content. Preschoolers love this little Hanukkah activity and it hits some great fine motor skills and sensory needs!
Place the contact paper sticky side out on the wall or on the floor. Keep in place with some painters tape. (Want a tutorial on how to do that? See my video here.)
Then cut and shape a dreidel onto the paper.
Hanukkah Activity- Make a stained glass dreidel
Choose one of the Hebrew letters: נ (nun), ג (gimmel), ה (hey), ש (shin) to put on your dreidel stained glass craft! We read Spin the Dreidel by Alexandra Cooper to determine what each letter meant in the game.
The kids chose hei (ה) because it means you get to take half the tokens in the pot and gimmel (ג) because it means you get to take all the tokens in the pot!
Hanukkah Preschool Activity
When making the letter, decide...How will you display the art? If you plan to put it on a wall, you'll need to make your Hebrew letter reversed, so that it comes out properly when placed on the wall. If you plan to display it on the window, make the letter you choose, in its normal orientation so it can be seen properly on the other side of the window.
Kids can use tissue paper, glitter, or ripped paper scraps to place onto the dreidel shape. In our house, the more glitter the better.
As we crafted, we discussed the 4 letters on the dreidel and made predictions on what letters in English they were closest to based on their beginning sounds. We have been learning lots about letter and sounds, and this was a great way to discuss how other languages have different letters that also make sounds (and some languages are character based instead)!
Other learning benefits were sensory input from the sticky contact paper itself and fine motor building, placing piece by piece of tissue paper onto the sticky paper.
Got a dreidel and some washable paint? My favorite is either Crayola washable or Lakeshore washable, because they're only truly washable paints I've ever found!
Make sure to use my hack and keep the paint in a shoebox so you don't get paint splattered all over the floor.
Grab your dreidel and spin to create splatterfully, beautiful dreidel art.
Opportunities for learning are discussing color mixing and also identifying the Hebrew letters as you land on them.
A Classic Hanukkah Activity
The letters on the dreidel stand for a Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there.) In Israel, instead of using a Shin for Sham (there), the dreidels have a Pey(פ) for Po (here).
With one simple Hanukkah activity, preschoolers learn about taking turns, counting, and even the beginning of dividing as we learn to take "half" when landing on Hey. Will you be playing dreidel this year?