October 22, 2013

Trick or Treating Practice

I don't know about you, but I get asked by parents each October about how to practice the whole trick-or-treating sequence with their child.  Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for most kids, from toddler years through middle school, and every parent wants their kids to be able to participate to their fullest potential.

One place I like to start is with a toy house and figurines and a social story.  The house I have is from Melissa and Doug.  It's made of wood and has four separate doors with locks and keys and four figurines.  I usually read the social story I posted last year to introduce the activity.  It's a very simple story, shows the trick-or-treating sequence clearly and is easy to use.  After reading the social story, we move right to the house.



We take a figurine, have it ring a doorbell, and then open the door.  I will either have a picture of a child wearing a costume inside the house, or another figurine.  We practice saying "trick or treat!" after the door is opened, pretend to hand out candy, say thank you, and then close the door and say good-bye.  Then we turn the house and move to the next door.


This is a great opportunity for my non-verbal kiddos to practice using a voice output device.  I like these simple single-message devices which are easy to record and easy to carry.  You can find these or something similar at Mayer-Johnson's website.  I programmed mine so one says "trick or treat" and the other says "thank you".

The kids never seem to tire of this activity, so I've learned to extend it to work on other goals as well.  I keep a stack of cards of kids in costumes close by so we can change out who answers the door or rings the doorbell.  It's a great way to learn new vocabulary and work on articulation.  I got my cute set of trick or treaters from Carrie's Speech Corner last year and they continue to be a hit with the kids.



Another thing the kids love to do is to decorate the house for Halloween.  I keep a variety of cutouts that I made with Scrappin Doodles clipart close at hand.  The kids tell me which piece they would like to have and where they plan to put it, and then stick them to the house with tape or other removable adhesive.  They love to create silly Halloween houses, which often leads into them telling me how their own house is decorated.  It's the perfect opportunity to work on descriptors, vocabulary and comparisons.

I have also used the clipart cutouts for following auditory directions.   Here's a sample of some of my directions:




 You can email me if you'd like a copy.

Sometimes the kids like to hide something in the house and give me directions on where to look, such as "look in the house that has a red door with pumpkins next to it."  They love to be the teacher, too! There are SO MANY ways to use this set of materials for SO MANY goals!  If you don't have this exact house, I'm guessing any toy house would work.  All it has to have is a door that opens and closes.  You could even use a barn and pretend it's a house.  Whichever house you decide to use, I'm sure your kids will love practicing trick-or-treating as much as mine do.

Happy Halloween!

Pam



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