(A book I read to my preschooler before Sandy hit NYC)
I realize that I haven’t posted weekly themes for the past 2 weeks, but I felt that I needed to write this one before the others because of everything that has happened in the past few days. On Monday, Hurricane Sandy hit NYC and the surrounding area. I was really lucky–we never lost power, our neighborhood never flooded, and local businesses opened soon after the storm. But other areas aren’t so lucky, and I hope that with a lot of help and time, New York & New Jersey will be as vibrant and busy as it once was. It’s amazing to see grass root organizations such as Occupy Sandy, and the numerous volunteers (especially the marathon runners who pitched in after the NYC Marathon cancellation) provide food and other necessities to those hardest hit.
Needless to say, I really didn’t adhere to my planned weekly curriculum; my husband was home for a few days and family-time-in-the-apartment took precedence. Since Halloween was last Wednesday, we focused on ghosts and gourds, two words that begin with the weekly letter, G. Naturally, our color of the week was orange, and our number of the week was 7. We really didn’t have a vocabulary word, although I think it ended up being make-believe, because I had to explain to my preschooler that the scary decorations and costumes were just that.
One of the (many) perks of living in NYC is that Halloween-themed activities begin 1-2 weekends before the actual day. Two weeks prior, a local elementary school held their yearly Fall Fair, with pumpkin decorating, Halloween-themed cupcake decorating and the obligatory bouncy castle:
A week before Halloween, we went to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park to see Hansel & Gretel’s Halloween Show:
The marionette show was less than hour, had a lot of dancing, and my kids loved it; although my preschooler was scared of a few of the puppets. Afterwards, one of the puppeteers came out to demonstrate how a marionette worked:
The weekend before Halloween, we went to an inaugural Halloween Fair held by the Fourth Universalist Society, which had crafts and games geared towards younger kids (and yes, had an indoor bouncy castle):
To occupy our time before and during the storm, my husband helped the kids decorate the pumpkins. We read National Geographic Kids’ Halloween (by Laura Marsh), and my preschooler picked a jack-o-lantern face to carve on one pumpkin and a design to paint on the other pumpkin:
Aside from that Halloween book, this week we read “Halloween” (by Gail Gibbons), which explored the historical significance of the holiday; and “What Will You Be for Halloween” (by Mark Todd), which used fun rhyming prose to look at various costumes.
I also picked up a Sticker Encyclopedia of Baby Animals from our local bookstore, which my preschooler really enjoyed and tied into the animal themes from previous weeks.
We were extremely fortunate that our neighborhood had electricity and heat during Halloween; we invited some of my preschooler’s friends to trick-or-treat in our building, and they had a fun time learning the timeless Halloween equation: (young kids) + (cute costumes) = (lots of candy).