As an adult, the years fly by these days but for kids 365 days is a very long time and the Halloween party for them remains a very popular event. Hopefully, during that gap the majority of the annual attendees forgot all about the games and activities of previous years as this year I didn’t bring anything too original to the table!
For the first session, Lai-Keun and I decided to co-teach the 15 Playgroup and Kindergarten level kids of which five of them belonged to my regular Tuesday class. As well as all the standard Halloween flashcard based activities (hide and reveal, Yes/No stations, race & find etc) we also did some reinforcement of colours via some vaguely related Halloween activity where the kids collected the necessary colour strips of paper and posted them through the mouth of a giant cardboard pumpkin face.
Yet again Lai-Keun came up with another top idea for the craft activity; making a giant hanging spider. The first part simply involved colouring one side of a paper plate with a black marker pen. They were then given some eyes (complete with double-sided sticky tape) to add. I handed out each student eight strips of paper (representing the legs!) each and they then folded and stapled them on to the plate before adding a piece of string to the centre of the plate. All sound so simple eh! Thankfully the school manager, receptionist and a load of parents were on hand to assist with the more tricky parts but overall this probably took a bit longer than expected not that it really mattered!
As ever there was not much time to do everything in our arsenal but I did manage to incorporate something into the break which caught the attention of many. The break time is usually 10-15 minutes of having a drink (with someone inevitably spilling one every single time!) and some cheap snacks but this time I looped a Halloween video on my iPad called ‘Spooky‘ (watch it here) over and over again which reinforced some of the vocabulary they’d learned so far that morning. It was intended just as background music but quite a few were intrigued by it.
The break came much later than ever and after that there was only time for the regular finale to any party which is ‘Hit the piñata’ and this time I was in charge of holding up the giant star full of candy which they take it in turns to bash it with the baseball bat a couple of times. These hits are nowhere near strong enough to destroy the piñata, which is kind of the objective, so after everyone has had a go the piñata is emptied of its contents for the kids to collect as many as they can get their hands on!
The afternoon group consisted of the Lower and Higher Elementary students but with a whopping 24 students in attendance we had no choice but to separate them into two groups. Lai-Keun had mostly higher level and I had the lower ones which consisted mainly of boys. I did feel a bit sorry for the two girls in the class that they were surrounded by so many guys but in the other class there was just one boy with all those girls!
A constant stream of late-comers meant that it took a while for this lesson to get going. Knowing that Lai-Keun needed the broomsticks and pumpkins later on I started off with a double dose of sweeping action; broomstick penalty kicks followed by a more competitive round of broomstick football. Of course I ran through the flashcard lexical items and practiced that in much the same manner as earlier on albeit with the addition of a chain drill and a three-team race and circle/erase activity which for the main part worked well.
The kids’ chopstick talents were then utilised via a feed the pumpkin game and I then thankfully managed to squeeze in a game of Halloween ten-pin bowling. Having worked my way through litres and litres of water in the run up to this party I was determined to make sure we did a round of this simple fun activity. As ever, each 2 litre bottle had a Halloween-related picture attached to it and then a heavy pumpkin was thrown down at pace smashing them out of the way. Only one kid managed to get a strike though!
The craft activity followed on after that and yet again took longer than expected. Some parents were already in the school whilst this activity was taking part and we hadn’t even had the break yet alone climaxed with hit the piñata! The idea here was for the kids to make their own spider web and thankfully the school manager Junko and receptionist Yasuko were on hand to assist and help me out with this one.
Click on the years below to see my ‘Spook-tacular Halloween’ blog entry for each one