Picnic at Mudsock Meadow Activity Ideas
This week's Faculty Lounge focuses on the Halloween story, "Picnic at Mudsock Meadow," and preparing a Halloween celebration for your students, similar to that of the book. Although Halloween is just around the corner, hopefully some of the following suggestions will still be useful. If the days' events are already planned, keep some of these ideas in mind for next year!
Obviously, the rules for Halloween activities vary from school to school, so be sure to
know what your school's limits are. Furthermore, if there are students in your classroom who do not celebrate Halloween, you may want to seek alternatives to some of the activity ideas presented below. It is easy to convert the following Halloween celebration activity ideas to an "Autumn Celebration." Just plan your event for early November, add an apple bobbing contest, and you're all set! If you do decide to hold a Halloween party in conjunction with "Picnic at Mudsock Meadow," don't forget to quiz your students on the book!
When planning a celebration such as this one, it is important to recruit the help of student teachers, teaching assistants, and parents, to have plenty of helpers on hand.
HAVE FUN & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Halloween Celebration Activity Ideas:
1. In “Picnic at Mudsock Meadow,” the first of the annual Halloween contests was pumpkin-carving! As opposed to a carving contest, hold a painting “contest” within your classroom. Either supply real miniature pumpkins for your students to paint or color, or have your students draw or paint their pumpkin design on paper. Depending on your classroom environment, either hold a contest and have your students vote for first, second, and third places, or award each student who participates with a ribbon, candy, or other prize. If you cannot supply some sort of reward than decorate your classroom with your students’ pumpkins!
2. Following the pumpkin carving contest, William was determined to win something nice at the fishing booth. Why not set up your own fishing booth for your Halloween celebration? It's easy! First of all, you'll need to construct a booth. Following the example of the story, hang a sheet in your classroom (either along a fishing wire or clothesline with clothespins, or draped over a large object such as a desk, that students cannot see behind). Then, take three long pieces of string (approximately three feet in length). Tie one end of each string to a long stick, pole, or fishing rod if available, and the other end, to a clothespin. Three rods, means three students can "fish" at a time. Like William and Hester in the story, have your students dangle the pinned end of the rod over the booth you've constructed. Have your Halloween helper(s) clip prizes onto the clothespins. Prizes could include: candy, miniature toys (dollar store items), and/or coupons* (see below).
3. The second contest in Mudsock Meadow on the day of the big Halloween picnic was the seed-spitting contest. An old favorite for everyone! Request permission to take your students outside for this contest, or clear plenty of room in the center of your classroom and cover the "spitting" area with paper. Be sure to have plenty of help standing by, to measure the distances of the seeds.
4. Another age-old favorite, is tug-o'-war of course! If you're Halloween celebration events follow the story of "Picnic at Mudsock Meadow," you can't leave this contest out! Talk to your school's gym instructors about borrowing the tug-o'-war rope, and again, request permission to take this activity outdoors. Divide your class into two teams and tug away!
5. The final event of the story, which William participated in, was the dress-up competition. Your school may hold an annual competition, but it's always fun to have one among your students! Have each child display his or her costume, and have each student vote on his/her top three favorites. Tally up the votes, and award the winners with a prize. Again, in some classroom environments, singling out specific winners may be hurtful to others, or seem inappropriate. If this is the case, have each student display his/her costume for the class and talk about how they arrived at the idea for the costume or where the costume came from, but leave out the judging all together. It's always fun just to admire the costumes, without turning the event into a competition.
6. Of course, when planning your Halloween celebration, you can't forget the picnic! Have students each bring one treat to share with the class, or recruit your classroom helpers to assist in preparing your holiday feast!
7. Have your students write their own spooky stories, similar to "Picnic at Mudsock Meadow." Hold a spooky-story contest, or just have your students read their stories aloud. Suggest your students draw or color pictures to accompany their stories.
*COUPONS: An inexpensive and fun way to reward the winners of your Halloween contests, is to create coupons to hand out. On slips of paper, write down one thing your student will "receive" as the winner. For example, you could write "As the third place recipient of this year's Halloween seed-spitting contest, you are entitled to one free late day for the homework assignment of your choice," or "For being such an outstanding fisherman this Halloween, you are exempt from the spelling test of your choice during the month of November." Base your coupons on the structure of your classroom. Usually the requirements and assignments your students groan the loudest about are the most fitting freebies to hand out.
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