Inspired by Monsters

This is a set of Halloween-related activities that involve… MONSTERS! Here, we experiment with light and shadows, create our own monster slime, and play some of our favorite homemade games.


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1. Make Monster Shadows

Grab a light source, cut out monster shapes, and have fun playing with shadows!  Experiment how moving the light source or object farther or closer affects the size of the shadow. See how different light sources–LEDs,  flashlights, different colored lights used one at a time or together–affect the shadows and the light around it.

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2. Discover Monsters' Origin Stories

We have been creating and collecting monster trading cards to learn a bit about other countries. We supplement this collection with related folktales from the different countries.

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3. Escape a Monster Maze

Using one of our games, A Maze with A Clue, we escaped from a zombie by solving the (math) clues along the way! In this particular exercise, we practiced adding and subracting two- to four- digit numbers.

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4. Make Slime

Sea Lemon has some fun ideas when making your own slime. For those of you concerned with using Borax, she also provides a way to make slime with liquid starch instead.

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5. Build a Toll Bridge

Building bridges is a classic way to do engineering projects with kids. Add a twist to this by pretending that the bridge your are creating is a troll bridge, and you need to make it strong enough to guarantee the safe transport of people (or billy goats gruff) across.

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6. Visit a Monster Museum

We are very fortunate that Chicago provides a wide variety of museums, and that the timing of Beetroot’s The Greek Monsters exhibit at the National Hellenic Museum worked perfectly with our week of monster-related activities. But even if you don’t have access to a museum with monster exhibits, you can probably still find monster art at your nearest art museums. Many artists, after all, have been inspired by these imaginary creatures…

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7. Draw Monsters

We draw almsot everyday, and monsters are a common theme (as are robots and battleships).

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8. Read Monster Literature

We read an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There is no shortage of monster-related literature for kids. Find them. Read them.

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9. Play Monster Gab

Monster Gab is one of our homemade card games, and we provide a free printable for you to use. It is a fun way to practice reading some sight words. There are three different ways we play with this deck of cards. Our personal favorite is the Fast Gab. It’s the fastest-paced, funniest, and potentially most painful since it involves a race to slap the cards. For the most part, though, when a hand is slapped instead of a card, laughter ensues!

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10. Play 'Not the Tickle Monster!'

This is another game we play. It is our variation of an indoor treasure hunt. One person hides the clues, while the other follows them. In this game, clues reveal where the next clues are hidden, and at some point during the game—anywhere from the beginning to the last spot before the final hiding place—two clues are revealed at the same time. The treasure hunter is forced to follow only one. One of the clues lead to the treasure (yes!), while the other to  the tickle monster!

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