This activity went through many different varieties before finally solidifying into this version due to its effectiveness, cooperative nature, and the fact that it just never gets old.
Students (and/or teacher) stand or sit in a very small circle, close enough to touch each other practically.
Pass a ball, stuffed animal, or whatever suits you around the circle from 1 (or 0) to 5.
If the ball is not dropped between 1-5, expand the circle one step, or one small amount (if sitting).
Continue 6-10, but if the ball drops, keep the same position but start back at 6, until you reach 10.
Proceed outwards every unit of 5 until its too hard to continue or students aren’t taking it seriously.
This game increases in intensity as you progress, which is lovely due to numbers getting harder as one progresses, so the focus level increases with difficulty (especially helpful for 11-20).
Can use a tennis ball and ball must bounce 1 time before being caught. (a safer option with harder balls)
Can use intervals of 10 before expanding.
Can count down from a given number, instead of up.
Can count in 2s, 3s, 7s, etc. instead of 1 by 1. In this case, perhaps the teacher can simply command when to expand instead of a set number of successful passes.
This activity works very well to solidify 1-30, as students get many chances to work out the order/pronunciation of these tricky numbers, through engaging practice, failure, and eventual success. 11-19 just don’t make logical sense in English, every discover that?
“Teaching” in the title is in quotes because there really is no need to teach numbers in the traditional sense of the word. Mere exposure to correct examples, and a focused and engaging activity to practice is all that is needed!
How do you teach numbers? How did you learn in a foreign language?
Leave a comment or question below, and I will be happy to reply.
Apple Bobbing- Put apple(s) in a large bowl or basin filled with water. Kids/adults try to get the apples out by using only their mouths = good clean (but wet) fun
Spider Web Challenge: My students don’t trick-or-treat, as they come to my party instead, so I place the personalized bags of candy (names written in Halloween font) on something tall, and wrap paper ribbon around things to make a web, as well as put electrical tape on floor in shape of a web. I also hang various Halloween-items from ceiling- a mini-skeleton, spiders etc. Kids must navigate through the web without touching anything, otherwise another child hits a buzzer- boo boo, and they continue until they get their candy and make it back through the web.
Candy Spoon Race (No picture, sorry!)- Kids race in teams or try and race against the clock (record time, vs. teacher, etc.) to fill a container of choice (in my case a plastic skull, or mini jack-o-lantern.) with various candy with the use of a spoon, fork, or chopsticks. I use foil to line all of the containers to keep the candy clean, and then one could use the same candy before or after with BINGO, Tic Tac Toe, or simply as a snack at the end or during the party. I use one large tin container as the master bowl, and smaller containers for the targets. Best not to be too competitive, and let everyone eat or take some home at the end. Competition can ruin any night of fun! I only include this one as a time filler, use as needed.
Monster Throw :Kids aim at a particular monster on the wall that is hanging from tape on the wall or ceiling, and throw a chosen ball/Frisbee, etc. Good to do at end once vocabulary has been learned, so kids can practice saying the words as well as having fun throwing stuff at monsters!
Bouncing Eyeballs :I use trays from an old chocolate truffle case, but anything egg-crate like can work too, or anything with a hole. Ping-pong balls, or any balls can be transformed into eyeballs with a little ink, and then you just need a flat surface. This was a favorite! Practice round, One round of keeping score, and then a dinosaur/monster interference round, where some small things are put between balls and the tray, making it really funny when you hit the monsters!
Spider Cookies on your Face!: Oreo Cookies and Pocky (long stick like snack) can be arranged to form a spider cookie. Take off one side of Oreo, gently push down the legs (Pocky, pretzel pieces, etc.) and add a drop of syrup or peanut butter to the side with no cream. spread out syrup/peanut butter, and place back on cookie. Players put cookie on forehead, and attempt to transfer to mouth without use of hands. Quite challenging, and a great photo opportunity.
Jack-o-Lantern Shootout:Quite simple to make your own Jack-o-Lantern; simply make two, add 2 water guns, and you have a shoot-out! Careful not to do when it is too cold outside, potential to get wet!
Candy BingoI use candy as the markers, and separate cards for the call out, so students can do it too. Halloween vocabulary is so specific, I don’t expect students to remember too much from year to year, so I provide a lot of input early in the class. Bingo works well for this phase of the class/party- it gets everyone on the same page. There are good number bingo cards too with Halloween themes. I prefer Halloween vocabulary, and if time at the end, we can play Tic-Tac-Toe with the Bingo cards too! The Stack Tower Game is another option, I will save that for another post. (Also pictured is AGO Halloween, which I use for Go-Fish, a shout-out to the creator for that)
Pictionary/Charades: Drawing/Gesture Game
This is a great way to finish a class, I use a timer, for one minute. I start by drawing a Halloween-related item from a picture prompt, and going through as many cards as possible in the given time frame. I make sure not to make teams, it is simply a fun activity that kids and adults enjoy without any need for competition. I make sure everyone that wants to has a turn, while not pushing anyone to do anything they don’t want to do! Gestures are a great follow-up if time allows, using the same items from the drawing round.
All-in-all, Halloween can be a lengthy party event if desired. Haunted houses/rooms tend to be high-maintenance and time-consuming, but excellent for junior high/high school ages. (particularly when both genders are present!) ; )
I hope this can be useful for anyone looking to spice up their own event. I have been doing these activities for years, and my students look forward to them year after year. For your information, I teach English in rural Japan, yet I believe these activities to be appropriate for any country and any age above 5. For very young ones, I would avoid any dark imagery and characters altogether, but many of the above activities could be altered to make more toddler-friendly.
This is a great children’s book, especially right before sleeping. Here is the YouTube video with actress Susan Sarandon as narrarator:グッドナイトムーンはすばらしいこどもの絵本です、とくに寝る前によむのはすごいです。これはYouTubeのビデオです。アメリカの女優スーザン・サランドンの声です。アメリカでこの絵本は人気があります。おすすめです。