Halloween is almost here!
We had so much fun eating our spooky oranges, giving out our spooky eyeballs, and decorating our pumpkin last year, that I couldn’t wait to do another Halloween activity with the kids again this year.
I’ve been wanting to make a geoboard for JJ ever since she made herself a guitar, so I thought – hey, why not a geoboard made from a pumpkin for Halloween! And then I googled and found this awesome pumpkin spider web which JJ really wanted to make, and let inspiration take it’s course…
First up, JJ and I had lots of fun playing with the hammer and nails again. I didn’t get any photos of this step, because I was umm… busy helping a four year old hammer nails into a pumpkin! So you’ll just have to imagine me holding the nails, and JJ carefully tap-tap-tapping them with the hammer until there was about 1cm remaining. (This is actually much trickier than just hitting it all the way in, as she had to judge her strength.)
After hammering in half a dozen or so nails, we realised that the pumpkin was soft enough that I could push a nail in with the ball of my thumb. JJ’s little thumb is more sensitive than mine, and she wasn’t too keen on helping anymore, so she left me to finish, which of course meant that I could line up the nails into a neat spider web shape…
I then gave her a ball of fluffy white wool, and let her have a play.
(Please note that this activity requires active supervision at all times. The nails are easy for kids to remove with their fingers, and long pieces of wool could be a strangulation hazard. Please use your own judgement to decide if this activity is appropriate to do with your kids.)
I didn’t give any instructions at this point, I just let her explore this new medium. She wound the wool this way, and that way, and then unwound sections to alter her evolving design.
We moved the pumpkin up onto a little table which made it easier for her to work at eye-level. I popped on an audio book (we’re listening to The Faraway Tree triology at the moment), and the girls happily took turns tinkering with the geoboard for the next half an hour.
Two year old Bee went for a draping effect.
And four year old JJ came up with this yarn spiral – doesn’t it look cool!
The next day, I saw the pumpkin sitting there, and I couldn’t resist having a little play myself…
The spider is made from one of our garden rocks, with four silver pipe cleaner halves taped to the bottom, and googly eyes glued on top. I chose googly eyes with eyelashes, because somehow my kids find female spiders less scary. (I haven’t told them about black widows yet…)
JJ thought it was awesome. 🙂
And guess what’s super fun? Unwinding! There’s something therapeutic about feeling the wool pop over each nail as you gently tug it.
Later that afternoon, I put out some elastic bands next to the pumpkin as a provocation / invitation to play, and waited to see if the kids would take the bait. Look at what JJ made! He’s called Mr Pumpkin Head apparently. 🙂
They also used the geoboard to make fun shapes, take them off again, and then make some more. It’s like an evolving piece of abstract geometric art.
Whilst a grid shaped geoboard may be better suited to learning traditional shapes, I noticed JJ was making and naming triangles and (rough) rectangles and squares. All playful maths practise.
Bee was very good at taking the elastic bands off. She was also able to stretch the elastic between two nails to make a line, but was less inclined to incorporate a second dimension.
The next day I discovered that JJ had cut up all the elastic bands to make her own “spagetti bolognaise”, so our geoboard is waiting for the next provocation… I have a few different colours in my wool collection, so maybe I’ll see how red looks next??
EDIT: Just popping back in to mention that our geo-pumpkin made a super cute stop for Halloween night! DIY Halloween props for the win!
If you’re looking for more suggestions, you can find all our other Halloween ideas here. Or you could subscribe to receive all our latest activities via email.