Here are some things we have been doing in my preschool this week in our pumpkins and apples unit. I thought I'd share in case anyone is looking for a seasonal learning activity to do at home with your kids...
Color words - On Monday in group I wrote out my "Monday Morning Message" while the kids watched me. "Dear friends, Apples are red, yellow or green. Pumpkins are orange. Love, Mrs. Colleen" Then I asked them if they could help me find the color words in the message. I let a child find the word red (giving clues like it starts with a letter that says "rrr"), then the word green, then the word yellow, then word orange.
Arts and crafts - papier mache apples (balled up newspaper with papier mache (flour and water mixture) soaked paper towels, let dry for several days then paint desired color and hot glue a piece of stick on top for a stem. Warning - very messy!!), "stained glass" pumpkins (I drew out a pumpkin shape and cut out the middle so it was just an orange outline of a pumpkin. Then I cut a piece of clear contact paper to match my pumpkin shape and stuck it to the pumpkin outline. Kids stuck orange squares of tissue paper to the sticky contact paper and then I stuck them to the window for a Halloween decoration. This was easy - even Jackson could do this without assistance.)
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater - We discussed the rhyme, found the rhyming words (and played a rhyme game where I said a word and they had to make up a real word or a silly word that rhymes with my word.) then we found all the letter P words int he rhyme, sang our letter P song, acted out the rhyme with flannel board pieces. We talked about rhythm and how nursery rhymes and poems have rhythm, then we slapped our knees to a beat and read the rhyme to the beat. Later we did a story sequencing activity with the rhyme.
Using our 5 Senses and Prior Knowledge to Compare Apples and Pumpkins: What color is the apple? What color is the pumpkin? How do apples grow? (trees) How do pumpkins grow? (vine) Which is heavier? What does the apple smell like? What does the pumpkin feel like? What does the outside of the pumpkin feel like? What does the outside of the apple feel like? We opened up the pumpkin and the apple. What do the insides of the apple and pumpkin feel like? Are they the same? How are they different? Make a prediction: Which will have more seeds, the apple or the pumpkin? We scooped out all the seeds and put them in groups of ten. Then we counted by 10's to find out how many seeds were in our pumpkin. They got bored after we got to 270 seeds and so we quit counting. :)
Decorating mini pumpkins - Mummy - you can use sterile gauze or cheesecloth. I used sterile gauze because it was easier to find, but I cut it to be half the width. We wrapped it around the pumpkin and used to glue to keep it in place and added googly eyes. Spider - we painted the pumpkin with black acrylic paint and let it dry during naptime, then added black pipe cleaner legs and multiple googly eyes.
Next week when we learn about Spiders and Bats, we will use our cute spider as a story starter during group time when we make up our own story about a spider. We will also do various activities with the Anansi the Spider legends, The Very Busy Spider book by Eric Carle, the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet, and the song The Itsy Bitsy Spider. We will also learn the difference between fiction and non-fiction by reading several non-fiction books about bats and spiders to compile facts about each, then reading fiction books and discussing how the books were different. We will write our spider facts on a large newspaper stuffed spider and then display the spider in a fake web in the corner of the playroom. We will write our bat facts on a large newspaper stuffed bat and hang it from the playroom ceiling. We will also continue to focus on color words (black, brown) and the letters S and B, and the number 8. Our arts and crafts will be turning a black tagboard number 8 into a spider with 8 pipecleaner legs and 8 googly eyes.