Here's a Mystery Cauldron Halloween center activity idea that can be easily differentiated from toddler to elementary school student! It may also be a fun theme to add to your classroom's calming corner if you have one.
This post will first outline the set up, and then list some adaptation suggestions to suit kids from toddler to fifth-grader!
Mix the rice and green food coloring in a bowl until all of the rice turns green.
Warning: Touching it with your hands does make them turn a bit green. It will wash off eventually.
Let the green rice dry in the sun. Then pour into the cauldron. Layer the plastic creepy crawly items as the rice goes in.
Then let the kids explore to see what they can find in the cauldron.
Depending what items you put in, you could make a list for what your kids need to find.
. . . and so on.
I made a list of creepy crawlies for my preschooler to spy and find in the cauldron. Our learning goal was to practice number recognition and counting skills. He loved the activity so much that I made an I spy cauldron worksheet for him to keep practicing in a mystery picture search.
ADAPTATIONS FOR DIFFERENTIATION
After being in a position of teaching multiple grade levels throughout the week, I now always like to stop and think about how the same activity could be adapted and differentiated across the levels. Below I've listed some ways that I would adapt this same activity for different age groups:
Sensory play and learning names.
Counting, number recognition, and creepy crawly categories.
Kindergarten & first-grade
Counting, and addition and subtraction talks e.g. If there are four spiders in the cauldron and I've found one, how many more spiders do I need to find?
Instead of listing 'find four spiders', make addition and subtraction sentences for them to solve and figure out how many of each item they must find.
Find in the Mystery Cauldron
2 + 2 spiders
3 + 6 snakes
1 + 4 snails
Same concept as the 2nd-grade idea, except increase the math difficulty to multiplication skills, or mix the problems with a variety of + - X problems.
Increase the difficulty to the approaches outlined above by introducing some division questions to solve and find.
Set a timer for kids to find as many creepy crawly items as possible inside the mystery cauldron. After the timer is up, instruct students to write each type of creepy crawly types that they found as a fraction. Example,
How many did you find in total? 20
How many of those were spiders (write as a fraction)? 3/20
How many of those were snakes (write as a fraction)? 17/20
This Mystery Cauldron center activity can get a bit messy, but I hope it will bring some fun to your learning stations this week. If you have any of your own ways to adapt this activity to your class, please share in the comments section below; I'd love to hear them.
A 21st century School Teacher, Mother, and Wife.
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