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5 Engaging October Activities for the Primary Classroom

October is such a fun month in the classroom! Halloween is just around the corner, and there are so many fun fall themes to explore with young learners. If you’re hoping to freshen up your lesson plans this fall, come along to check out some of my favorite, engaging October activities for the primary classroom!

Use these fun October activities to enhance and freshen up your lesson plans this fall.

Making a Plan for October

I love October in the primary classroom. With Halloween and fall as great themes at our disposal, we have an opportunity for an extra fun-filled month of learning!

Incorporating fall and Halloween themes in your October activities will keep your lessons feeling fresh and fun during the month.

Young students love creepy, spooky, Halloween-themed centers and lessons, so I always recommend using this to your advantage during the month!

By strategically choosing thematic resources that go along with Halloween and fall, you’re bound to have instant engagement.

When I was still in the classroom, I loved sprinkling a bit of spooky Halloween magic throughout the month. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve gotcha covered! Today I’m sharing 5 time-saving October activities to streamline your planning.

1. October Morning Work

Morning work is an absolute MUST in the primary classroom. If you’re not already using it, let’s chat about how this will totally change your day!

Morning work like this is great to use every day as part of your October activities to help your students practice ELA and math concepts they have been learning.

If you’re dealing with morning chaos, lack of opportunities to review essential concepts, and/or feeling a bit flustered with your own to-do’s, morning work will be a total game-changer for you. I know it was for me!

Implementing a solid morning routine that includes daily review work means your students will jump right into learning as soon as they walk through the door.

Imagine what you could accomplish if students knew exactly where to be and what to work on for the first half hour of the day?!

In my classroom, we used seasonal morning work pages to complement themes and holidays for each month. During October, our morning work pages are filled with cute fall clipart and focus on a variety of review activities including:

  • addition & subtraction to 20
  • math word problems 
  • word families
  • phonics skills
  • sentence writing and more!

There are 23 printable pages in all, so you’ll have enough for every school day in October. Each page features a mix of 3 math and 3 ELA activities that reflect a spiral review of common first-grade skills taught in October. We used the printable pages first thing in the morning to kick off the day and then I projected the digital version up on the board to go over the pages as a class. You will love the rhythm and routine that daily morning work pages bring to your classroom. No more scary mornings in October for you!

2. October Activities for Center Time

Center time is everyone’s favorite time of the day in first grade, and a Halloween twist on center activities makes it even better! In October, try switching things up with these fun math and literacy centers. These easy-prep center activities focus on grammar, math, phonics, and writing with spooky games your students will love! Some of the fun activities included are:

  • Halloween Flip Book & Story Map
  • Spooky Phonics Sorting Games
  • Scary Sentences Center
  • Addition & Subtraction Scoot Game

Using themed center activities like these was one of my favorite ways to keep students engaged in learning all year long. Since much of what we do in the classroom involves repetition and continued practice, it’s very helpful to switch things up with holiday themes.

Best of all though, these center activities are aligned to first-grade standards. This means you can count on meaningful lessons, not fluff! These spooky math and literacy centers are a fun way to spend the last few days leading up to Halloween.

3. No-Prep October Activities

Do you ever need some quick, low-prep worksheets to fill pockets of time in your day? If so, you’re not alone! One of my biggest struggles as a classroom teacher was to find low-prep activities that weren’t just “filler” and helped my students practice the things we were focusing on. This dilemma inspired me to make monthly no-prep printables that use a spiral review of important first-grade standards.

Each set is jam-packed with practice activities to reinforce the skills we’ve been learning. Firsties often need some extra practice. These October no-prep pages are perfect for reviewing those important skills in a fun way throughout the month.

I liked to use these for my fast-finisher kiddos, as center activities, for independent practice, as homework assignments, or anytime we needed to fill just a few more minutes in a meaningful way.

Printing a stack of these out at the beginning of the month is a great way to ensure you’re prepared for anything that comes your way. Not to mention, they’re a great addition to your emergency sub tub too!

4. October Color by Code Activities

In first grade, students are working hard to master addition and subtraction facts. The more practice they get with these, the more quickly they’ll be able to progress in other areas of math. For this reason, I encouraged LOTS of practice on this topic. The key to keeping students engaged is to choose practice activities that are appealing to them. Flashcards… not so much. But color by code? That’s a win!

Color by code is even more fun when you use seasonal themes like this set of Halloween pages for numbers up to 20. Students will love the spooky pictures, and you’ll love the effortless practice of addition and subtraction facts! Another great thing about color by code is how versatile it is and how easily it can be differentiated. Some pages feature only addition facts, while others have only subtraction, and a third option has a mix of both. Assign the pages as you see fit to challenge your students and meet them where they are.

Another fun option for your October activities are these fall-themed color by code pages. As always, the more variety, the better! As a bonus, these can be used well into November too. These come in handy for homework, fast finishers, independent practice, and center activities.

5. October BINGO Games

I saved a student favorite for last – BINGO! I love BINGO games and used them all the time in my classroom. BINGO is great for practicing a variety of skills, but it’s especially fun for learning new, seasonal vocabulary words. In October, we play this fall BINGO game and this Halloween BINGO game throughout the month.

Included in both of these resources are options for color and black and white cards. Use the black and white version with BINGO daubers or use the color version with mini erasers to best suit your class needs.

Personally, I liked to laminate the full-color version and use it as a special activity on Fun Fridays in October. I’d provide students with fall or Halloween-themed mini erasers to use as BINGO markers and spend the last 30 minutes of the day playing as a whole group.

The black and white version is also the perfect center activity for your Halloween party! Simply have students use dauber markers or color in each picture as it’s called.

Make Planning October Activities Easy

Hopefully, you found something fun you’d like to try with your students this October. Over the years, I’ve found that using plenty of variety is key to keeping things interesting in your lessons. You can take a closer look at all of these activities in my TPT Shop, along with lots of other fun activities for the primary classroom.

To help you get started, I’ve put together some No Prep October Printables that you can grab for free. Click the picture below to grab your FREE October Activities.

Free October Activities for first grade

And if you’re looking for even more resources and ideas to use in your classroom, be sure to check out these posts!

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