These fun and free preschool and kindergarten lesson plans for Halloween are centered around the beloved “Spookley” from one of our favorite Halloween books, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Triano and illustrated by Susan Banta.
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is available in hardcover with a listening CD and bonus songs. Inexpensive soft cover copies are also available from Scholastic and other sources. It is also likely to be available at your local public library but this is definitely a book worthy of the bookshelves in your classroom or home library.
A quick overview of The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin:
Spookley is a square pumpkin among a pumpkin patch of round pumpkins. He’s odd for sure. But when a storm starts blowing the round pumpkins threw a hole in the fence and out into the bay, Spookley the square pumpkin plugs the hole and saves the day. With a greater appreciation of differences, the subsequent pumpkin gardens feature pumpkins of all sizes and colors and even with designs.
Lesson plans and activities related to The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin:
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin has an excellent lesson about appreciating differences.
This is an excellent bridge for exploring “how we are the same” and “how am I different.”
Stand Up Game to Explore Likenesses and Differences:
This “stand up” game is perfect for exploring these concepts with preschoolers and kindergarteners. It is a great listening activity and it lets them get some wiggles out too.
To play ask kids to sit and stand up if (_______). Make choices that will mean sometimes one, sometimes a few and sometimes all students will stand up which will illustrate both likenesses and differences.
Here are some examples:
Stand up if….
You have brown hair.
You have two arms.
You are wearing red.
Your name is Ashley.
You have curly hair.
You are five years old.
Your favorite color is green.
You like pizza.
You like lima beans.
Of course beyond this message of self-acceptance, Spookley is also very centered around shapes and colors, which is another reason this is an excellent book to use with preschoolers and kindergarteners.
For those teachers and parents who want to work on recognizing or writing letter S, here’s an activity.
Letter “S” writing and art activity:
Introduce the vocabulary word “vine.” Use non-fiction books, or a field trip to a pumpkin patch would great too, to illustrate a vine.
Review the name “Spookley” and that it begins with the letter S. Does anyone else’s name begin with S?
Now have kids to the best of their ability, write the letter S on paper. Model it, hold their hand, make dots they can connect or whatever works for each child.
Reinforce that they are creating a letter S and also a pumpkin vine.
Now have them follow the letter S with glue and add on green yarn.
At this point you can use pumpkin stickers, orange thumb print pumpkins or even markers to add pumpkins on the letter S vine.
You’ve accomplished an art activity, phonics activity and writing activity in one.
If I could be any shape and color, I would be…
Review the last pages of Spookley and the various colors and shapes of the pumpkins. Encourage kids to name all of the shapes and colors but then to choose their own favorites. This again, reviews how we are different.
With paper, markers (or paints or colored construction paper) allow each child to create their own favorite shape in their own favorite color. Now if they are able, and of course they won’t learn to be until someone lets them try, allow kids to cut out their shapes with safety scissors. Kids can also add faces like Spookley’s with a few simple marks.
Now you can…
Turn them into a bulletin board you can use to review shapes and colors.
Have kids add crafts sticks to turn them into puppets.
Either way, encourage kids to give their new colorful, shapely pumpkins a name and write it across the bottom if they are able.
(Of course you can help by making their chosen name in dots that they can connect to be successful emerging writers!)