I love holidays and celebrating them in the classroom, but there are many completely valid reasons for not incorporating these into your lesson plans. When it comes to Halloween there can be religious considerations, cultural implications, and economic concerns. Every school has it’s own policy, but if you don’t celebrate holidays in the classroom it can be a real challenge to look for new lesson plan ideas and only find the ubiquitous Halloween ideas. I have a list of 35 fall themes that can be a great starting point for your planning, but these few October themes fit closely enough to Halloween that you can use many of the Halloween materials that are available in the store, without going all into the holiday. Here are 10 Non-Halloween themes for October:
Pumpkins are a natural fit for the month of October. They tie in well with agricultural exploration and plant science.
Spiders are fascinating! You can give children the opportunity to look at these up close, find spiderwebs, and identify different types of spiders that live in your area.
Neon colors and things that glow is just fun. Learn a little about how those glow sticks work and why they look different in the light than in the dark. This can also be a great way to work through any fears of darkness.
Bats can do so many amazing things. Echolocation and nocturnal lifestyles are super interesting for young children. The idea of sleeping while hanging upside down, and being able to fly without feathers both give children so much to be curious about.
Owls continue the nocturnal animal theme. There are a wide variety of different types of owls, so the children can listen to recordings of their calls and learn how they see at night.
Gourds are similar to pumpkins, but offer so many different textures and colors. Cut them open to find the similarities inside and them use them to practice descriptive words.
Black cats are synonymous with Halloween, but so many other cats are in this family. Look at house cats, tigers, lions, cheetahs… The children can truly take this topic in any direction.
The color orange is a no-brainer for October. Have an orange-themed show and tell, try orange foods, and draw with only shades of orange!
Nighttime can be scary for young children because they don’t typically get to stay up late enough to learn much about it. Explore the peacefulness and beauty or night together.
The moon captivates all ages. Take time to talk about the phases and why it seems to change shape, then investigate what it was like for astronauts to journey to the moon.