Blood-sucking vampires, moaning mummies, and Frankenstein’s green monster are all classic and creepy Halloween characters. The good news for wary children is they’re all just the stuff of stories. Somehow, though, black cats, spiders, bats, and other darkly hued animals have also become ominous symbols of the season, which isn’t fair, because these peaceful, living beings want to stay safe, just like you and me. As a result of folklore, superstition, and reinforcement from popular culture, many of these animals face threats, especially around Halloween. For example, black cats are less likely to be adopted from shelters than cats of other colors. In fact, many shelters refuse to adopt them out at all during the month of October, fearful that they’ll be used as costume props or in cruel pranks.
Teach your students that all animals—even those who are unfamiliar to them—should be treated with respect and kindness every day of the year with TeachKind’s “Amazing Animals” activity sheets.
Each worksheet highlights a group of animals who some people wrongfully perceive to be scary or evil. Interesting facts about these animals’ true natures quickly dispel any myths about them. Along with adorable pictures to color in, engaging puzzles to solve, and suggestions for ways to help the animals, each activity sheet covers a different set of elementary-level skills in reading, writing, and math.
Fun and educational, these activity sheets can be used in a variety of ways, including the following:
🎃 Centers: Place a stack of activity sheets at stations throughout the room along with coloring supplies. Have students rotate every 10 to 15 minutes until they’ve completed each one.
🎃 Whole-group activity: Display an activity sheet on your smart board or projection screen, and complete it as a class, asking higher-order questions as you go through it.
🎃 Homework: Issue a different activity sheet for students to take home each night leading up to Halloween
🎃 Review: Staple one of each activity sheet together, and have students work on them during your class’s Halloween celebration. Reward completed packets with a piece of vegan candy.
Be sure to discuss with students the problem of judging someone—whether human or nonhuman—simply based on his or her appearance. Ask students, “Would you choose not to be friends with someone because he or she has brown hair? Or wears glasses? Or has freckles?” When students respond with a resounding “no,” remind them that we should extend this same kindness to animals. Talk about the ways students can be kind to the particular animals featured on the activity sheets all year long, but especially on Halloween, when well-intentioned trick-or-treaters and not so well-intentioned pranksters can make All Hallows’ Eve a living nightmare.