October started with beautiful, sparking sunny days and cool, crisp weather. This was just the right weather for lots of nature walks, and the children loved searching for colorful leaves as we rambled around the neighborhood and over familiar paths.
The red leaves were the most popular, but the children collected a variety to wave around, watch blow in the wind, or to show to parents.
Our nature walks include a stretch of flat tarmac, and the children love to run races and challenge each other.
The heavy crop of walnuts that dropped from the trees this year continue to be a hit with the children, and they loved letting the nuts roll down hills, collecting them, pretending with them, and of course they enjoyed tossing them back into the woods for the squirrels and birds to enjoy.
I wouldn't be surprised if many of the folks who use the same path were wondering who kept clearing the walnuts off the path, and they had the busy Blue Sky Daycare children to thank. There were no joggers stumbling over walnuts on this path!
We kicked off our Halloween crafts by making some black handprints, which we then turned into crows to decorate the daycare. You can see the crows in the background of the picture below. The second craft the children worked on was made by reusing egg cartons. The children painted the cartons black, then added black pipe cleaner legs and eight small googly eyes to make silly spiders!
We discussed what we knew about spiders, with the children noting that they were "scary," "little," that they "have legs," and that "mom doesn't like them." We talked about how spiders help eat many bugs that people don't like, and how spiders can actually be quite helpful.
The next Halloween craft that the children made also used some recycled materials. In this case, we reused a variety of glass jars and some leftover yarn in addition to some small figures and hand-drawn ping pong ball "eyeballs."
The children helped pull apart the yarn into tiny pieces to make "guts," then chose which other fillings they wanted to add to their jars. Picking up the small items and putting them into the jars was great for developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
The last part of the craft was squeezing baby oil into the jars. This takes quite a bit of hand strength and since the hole the oil comes out of is so small and the oil comes out slowly, it also requires endurance.
The spooky celebration continued during circle time, music time, and story time as we recited spooky fingerplays about bats and witches, sang tunes such as "Bones of John" and a wonderful sing-along tune that has the children making the noises of Halloween creatures like cackling witches, howling werewolves, angry black cats, and eerily moaning ghosts. Storytime included Jack Prelutsky's perennial "It's Halloween" as well as more recent Halloween books including a scratch-and-sniff book.
Our Halloween celebration culminated in an all-day Halloween party. Activities included:
Trying "Beanboozled," a game where jellybeans might taste yummy or very, very yucky
A fine-motor skill game of extracting spiders from a "web" with clothespins
A bat racing game where kids blow paper bats down a racetrack with using straws to guide their breath
A costume parade (sorry for the overexposed picture-my bad!)
The Halloween party was a wonderful way to end the month, and all the children were very excited to go trick-or-treating later that night. I wonder what November will bring?