Helping with your elementary school aged child’s class Halloween Party? A popular activity for the Halloween parties at our school are the gross-them-out tactile station. Basically the idea is to have the kids feel something that you suggest is brains (one of our parents actually has a brain Jell-o mold), or eye-balls (peeled grapes or meatballs), or guts (cooked spaghetti), etc. Obviously, it helps a lot if the kids don’t see what they are feeling.
When I got the assignment to create the tactile station one year, I decided I might as well make something that I could use more than once (which I have–in fact after the first year I had parents requesting it). I got a tri-fold illustration board and decorated the outside of it, so the dishes of gross things could be hidden behind it. I cut four holes in the bottom of it at a height and size that would allow a hand to reach through and into the dish behind it. I taped a little curtain of black cloth behind each opening to help hide the dishes but allow hands through. I spray painted the board black and got out my set of paint pens.
I purchased a carboard cutout of Frankenstein from U.S. Toy/Constructive Playthings. (We had read Frankenstein that October and were inspired by the story, which is so much more than the little bit most people are familiar with.) I took the poor thing apart and covered a cut out “bowl” with foil to hold the appendages (which still can be arranged as they are hinged). I wanted to promote thinking in whatever grade I might use it for, so I incorporated shapes, colors, plot, language, and literature–whatever I could think of to pack on to it. When my son was in 5th grade, we hunted until we could get a real cow heart, a liver if I remember right, a bone, and then the jell-o brain. At that age they were past spaghetti and meatballs, and they enjoyed (EEWWW!) the realization afterwards that they were real body parts. (We used plastic gloves from the school kitchen and kept my trusty pack of baby wipes close because I was afraid of spreading real blood around.) But this year Frankenstein is going back to kindergarten. Any great ideas of what I should bring for them to feel?