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6 Engaging October Activities for The Primary Classroom

Spooky bats, creepy spiders, and bright orange pumpkins… You know what that means! It’s time to plan for October! October is such a fun month in the primary classroom. With plenty of fun themes to lean into, you can expect full engagement from your kiddos! If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to kick off your lesson planning this fall, come along and take a peek at the October activities I’ll be using in my room.

What to Focus on in October

As a kindergarten teacher, I love lesson planning in October because there are so many fun themes and topics. It doesn’t take much effort to get my kiddos to perk up and listen when we’re talking about all things bats, pumpkins, spiders, and Halloween! I absolutely use this to my advantage when it comes to planning.

During October, we take a deep dive into all of these engaging topics. We read lots of books, discuss life cycles, and learn lots and lots of facts. These themes also carry over into our math and literacy activities as well. I’m a huge fan of thematic teaching, so just about everything we work on throughout the month has a bit of Halloween flair.

Another reason October is a fun month in the primary classroom is that this is often when you start to see those lightbulbs going off. You’ve been working hard on mastering routines and laying the foundations and by this time of year, it’s finally beginning to pay off! I love watching as kiddos pick up new skills and concepts as we settle into our fall rhythm.

If you’re ready to dive into the specifics of exactly what I’ll be teaching my littles, you’re in luck… I’ve got TONS of fun resources and ideas to share to help you plan your own October activities in a snap!

1. October Lapbook Activities

First up, my absolute favorite thing month after month… lapbooks! If you’re new around here, lapbooks are a smaller version of an interactive notebook that can be used to collect information on any topic. We use them in kindergarten to lay the foundation for our themes and learn about new topics. In October we have a few different ones to choose from. If I’m being honest, I usually try to squeeze in all four, because they’re all SO fun!

The lapbooks are constructed with a manilla folder and then filled with a variety of cut-and-paste activities centered around the focus subject. The best part is that they keep a record of everything we’ve learned about specific topics so that students can look back at all that we’ve covered. Plus, they make a fantastic keepsake that parents always love to flip through!

Using Lapbooks in the Classroom

At the beginning of the month, I like to start with our Pumpkin Lapbook to kick off our October activities. This lapbook is a great way to introduce pumpkins, and it’s even more fun if you learned about apples last month and can open the discussion around comparing them! Some of the activities featured in our pumpkin lapbooks include:

  • Life Cycle of a Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Writing Prompts
  • Pumpkin Labeling
  • How to Carve a Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Data and MORE!

These activities are a huge crowd-pleaser and help set the tone for our October lessons. After all, there’s nothing that feels more festive and screams “fall” louder than pumpkins, right?!

After we’ve worked through our pumpkin lapbooks, I like to use the digital version with my whole group as a review activity. This also comes in handy to assign as homework to any kiddos who missed the in-person lesson!

As it gets a bit closer to Halloween, we repeat this process with our bat and spider lapbooks, which are always a huge favorite among the students as well. And we can’t forget our fire safety lapbooks either! This theme is typically covered in October and my kiddos love learning all about it. No matter which topic you choose, I know your kiddos will love them too! Check out the bundle if you want to see them all!

2. Snap Cube Centers for October

Raise your hand if you LOVE snap cubes… I know I do! Snap cube centers are among my favorite activities every single month. The first reason is that they’re super simple to prep – just print, laminate, and voila! You’re good to go! And the second is that they promote independence among my students. In my classroom, it’s a priority of mine to have as many opportunities as possible to work in small groups and one-on-one with students. This means that I need to teach independence during centers from day one.

The key to making this work with kindergarten or other young students is to choose activities that are appealing, easy to understand, and follow familiar instructions. Snap cube activities check all of these boxes and more. I have a snap cube center for every theme, so once students understand how to complete the activities, we’re off to the races! Another great thing about snap cubes is that you can target all kinds of skills with them too.

For example, our Halloween Math and Literacy Snap Cube Centers focus on letter identification, letter sound identification, number identification, and subitizing. Each skill is targeted as children build silly Halloween shapes by matching the correct color snap cubes to the spaces based on the code for each page. My students LOVE building fun shapes like candy and jack-o-lanterns, and I love how much practice they get with these skills!

Another fun option we use in our October activities is these Roll, Snap, & Graph Centers for Halloween. These activities have students use dice to roll a colored snap cube. Students will then find a matching snap cube and place it on the mat. Next, they color in one square on the graph recording sheet beside the matching color. Students will keep rolling, matching, and coloring their graph until the mat is full. This is a great way to practice graphing and representing data during October!

Last up, I also love to use these Roll, Snap, and Frame Snap Cubes Mats in October too. These use a similar method to play, but instead of filling in a graph, students will fill tens frames each time they roll. This is something we work on all year long, so I’m always happy to offer additional practice with this skill.

Another great thing about snap cube mats is that they can be prepped once and then used all month long. We use them in our morning bins, during center time, and in small groups, and they really come in handy if you find yourself putting together an emergency sub tub too!

3. October Activities for Your Writing Center

Does your writing center ever feel a little lackluster? Mine did too before I started using seasonal resources that I swapped out every month. Let’s be real – when given the choice, most kiddos will choose blocks, dramatic play, play dough, or STEM centers over writing. If we’re going to draw them into the writing center – we’ve got to keep things interesting!

This is where engaging October writing prompts will save the day! Thematic writing activities will not only draw students toward the writing center, but will also make them excited to write. Swapping out the materials in our writing center is one of my favorite ways to make the classroom, and our lessons, feel “new” each month.

In October, our writing activities align with the same themes we focus on in our lapbooks. The activities cover pumpkins, bats, spiders, fire safety, and Halloween. This makes it super simple to pull everything together for a cohesive lesson plan. Some of my favorite October writing activities include:

  • Vocabulary Cards – Great for learning new seasonal words and for students to refer to as they explore the monthly writing center activities.
  • Label and Write – This activity is great for students learning to label pictures and practice writing words.
  • Make a List – Perfect for teaching about writing lists using picture cards.
  • Write a Story – This activity is great for encouraging creative writing, with a bit of prompting.
  • Spin a Silly Story – This one is a student favorite and always produces some hilarious writing!

There are a total of 15 different activities in our October Writing Centers, so it makes differentiation by skill level quick and easy! Plus, you’ll have plenty of activities to carry you through the whole month.

4. Halloween Shape Games for October

Are you looking for fun, new ways to help your students master 2D shapes? If so, you’ll LOVE Halloween Shapes Galore – my all-in-one shapes resource that’s jam-packed with fun games. I love that these games help my kiddos get the practice they need, in a fun and engaging format. There are a total of 13 games in this resource that we use throughout the month. Some of my favorites include:

  • Dominoes – Students can play independently or with a partner to match the shapes and build a train with the pieces.
  • Roll & Cover – Students will roll dice and cover the matching shape on the mat.
  • Count the Shapes – Students will look at the collage of shapes and count and record the number of each shape.
  • Color by Code – Students will color each piece of the picture according to the shape code. Easy and advanced versions are included.
  • Clip Cards – Students will look at the picture and clip the matching shape with a clothespin.

All of these games use fun Halloween-themed shapes like candy corn, pumpkins, monsters, and mummies that students absolutely love! These activities are perfect for morning tubs, center time, small groups, and partner games!

5. October Pattern Blocks

Speaking of shapes, pattern blocks are another one of my favorite learning materials to use all year long in the classroom. They’re versatile, fun for kiddos, and easy to use with seasonal resources. Not to mention, there’s so much learning that takes place when using pattern blocks too!

Pattern blocks are perfect for fostering visual discrimination skills, learning shapes, and even counting. I love using easy-prep pattern block mats for morning tubs, center activities, small groups, and partner activities. When planning my October activities, I always pull out these Halloween Spin and Match Pattern Block Mats.

They’re focused on identifying and matching pattern block shapes to build a spooky Halloween picture. To play, students will use a paperclip spinner to spin for a shape. Then, they find a matching pattern block and place it on their mat in the correct spot. They continue this process until their picture is revealed. This game comes in a couple of options for differentiation, as well as a black and white coloring option, too!

Roll and Match Halloween Pattern Block Mats are another option I tend to use throughout October. This is another great way to continue working on identifying shapes. These activities are similar to the last activity, except students will use dice, so counting is practiced as well. This is a great way to introduce students to the concept of rolling dice and targeting subitizing skills.

6. Digital October Activities

Last, but definitely not least, I have some fun digital resources to share that would be the perfect addition to your October activities. If your workload is anything like mine, you’re probably looking for ways to lighten the load a tad when it comes to prep. If this sounds familiar, digital activities like Boom Cards are going to be a game-changer!

As a kindergarten teacher, I believe that hands-on learning is best, which is why so many of my resources involve manipulatives and other learning materials. There is truly no substitute for these things, but as we teach children living in a digital age, I believe it’s also important to give them opportunities to utilize technology. Not to mention, I have yet to meet a kindergartener who doesn’t think Boom Cards are just plain awesome! Here are a few of our favorites for October:

Boom Cards are a great way to continue to practice key skills in a new way that is exciting and fun for students. Plus, they are self-correcting and provide immediate feedback. Couple this with their no-prep merits and you’ve got plenty of reasons to incorporate them in your center rotation!

Get Started Planning Your October Activities

Can you see you and your kiddos diving into any of these engaging activities to spark learning and get in the spirit for Halloween? Hopefully, this post provided you with a good starting point when it comes time to plan your own October activities! You can check out all of the activities mentioned here in my TPT Store, and if you’re looking for more lesson-planning inspiration, be sure to take a peek at these posts:

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Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

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