Pumpkin p !
You had to know this was coming! I waited to do this activity until this week because we had a special day out at the pumpkin patch with close friends today. Piggy backing learning on special events like a trip to the pumpkin patch is a wonderful way to peak interest and make multiple connections, from art to book to real life!
- Gather your materials. You will need a neutral colored piece of construction paper, a green piece of construction paper, orange paint, a paint brush,glue, scissors , green and brown markers and a pumpkin stencil ( cookie cutter) if needed.
- Start by drawing or tracing a handful of pumpkins with the brown marker.
- Write a large lowercase p on the green paper.
- Have your child paint the pumpkins, today we used a tiny fine brush, I like to mix it up for my son but you can use anything, fingers, sponges… it’s your choice! Let dry.
- Hand them the P and draw the vines, this is when going to the pumpkin patch came in handy. At the pumpkin patch today the vines were everywhere, and so my son was able to connect that to art time!
- When the pumpkins are dry cut out.
- Cut out the p.
- Add the glue . Glue stick or white glue , we have made the move to glue stick because my son is finally not eating everything. I was worried he’d bite off a huge chunk and choke before now.
- Add the pumpkins and let dry.
Jeoffry’s Halloween by Mary Bryant Bailey is written in verse that is beautiful and the rhymes are impressive but I could not bribe my son to sit and read it. It was too sophisticated for him and I think probably too sophisticated for most children young enough to enjoy a picture book. I hate admitting that because I think the words coupled with the foggy dreamlike illustrations by Elizabeth Sayles are worth a look. I hope I am wrong , but I would not suggest this book for a preschool circle time , or even to be read one on one with the under 4 crowd.
In The Haunted House by Eve Bunting is the type of story that you aren’t sure if you should or shouldn’t read to your 3 year old. Well maybe it’s just me. I am easily frightened, I can’t even watch commercials for scary movies , so I was leary about reading this book to my son. He opened it and scanned it himself and then brought it over to me so I gave it a try. He loved it. The book takes the reader through a haunted house, and each scary thing it houses. While reading it my son would stop look at me and ask ” Is that just pretend?” ” Is that just a costume?” which made me feel better about reading it since he will see some scary costumes and if the idea that they aren’t real is concrete in his mind hopefully come Halloween his resilience will be a little stronger. At the end of the book you see the little girl and her dad coming out of the haunted house, she is exhilarated, but he looks terrified! My son loved that detail, great message about it being ok to be scared!
The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting is a much cheerier look at Halloween than the last two selections. In this book the reader follows a little girl to the pumpkin fair where all sorts of fun things are going on. Pumpkin bowling, pumpkin basket ball and even pumpkin seed spiting contests! There are pumpkins of all sizes to buy but the little girl has brought her own that she grew herself. When awards are given out she is sure that her little bumpy p won’t win a thing but …. will it? I really liked this book, I liked the celebration it contained and the message about not having to be the biggest or most beautiful to be worthy and recognized. This was a big hit at our house too.
Get Thee To A Pumpkin Patch!
This time of year pumpkin patches spring up all over the place, in our area they are farms, in many places church parking lots are converted and even many supermarkets have a large enough selection to work in a pinch. Explore the pumpkins, notice the differences, the different colors, textures… My son took a liking to this one small shape of pumpkin and picked as many as could fit in our wagon. We were luck enough to also see some green ones on the vines, which opened up a little lesson about a pumpkins as plants not just Halloween decorations.
Make some pumpkin pancakes!
I made these for dinner the other night and we had the left overs for breakfast today to start off our pumpkin themed day !Check out the recipe over at my other blog don’t eat the paint.
Monster m !
Monsters have kinda taken over here at No Time For Flash Cards, first Saturday’s awesome book post by Carrie Anne now this monster craft ! I can’t take credit for this though, I again asked my son what letter he wanted to do and after shooting down his P for .. well let’s just say he is potty training and I am sure you can guess. We settled on m for monster! Scroll down for more fun alphabet activities !
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper , some colored foam ( or more paper would be a ok), some fun paints ( we busted out the art daubers because they dry fast), scissors, glue and a marker.
- Start by writing a lowercase m on one piece of construction paper.
- Have your child color / paint the m.
- While they do that cut the paper or foam into horns, teeth and eyes.
- I made the eyes because nap time was already overdue when we realized we needed to do our letter of the week, and I didn’t want to push the specifics. Normally I would have had my son do this with help instead of doing it for him. Always adjust activities to your child’s specific needs/ abilities.
- When they are done painting the m cut out.
- Add glue to back of the m
- Slam ( or gently pat) the m on the 2nd piece of paper.
- Add the teeth
- Add the eyes
- Add the horns, and let dry.
More Alphabet Activities To Try
A great way to introduce a letter of the week to your child is to fill a box with items starting with that letter.The best part about this activity is that you use things around your house, and you can use it for letters, colors and shapes!
Letter of the Week Stories
This is a fun activity for older preschoolers, I had fun doing this with my PreK class a few years ago! What you do is write a short story leaving blanks for your child to fill in with words starting with the letter of the week. The results will make both of you giggle, and your child will be learning too!
Here is an example :
Yesterday I went walking down the street and I found a _________ , I couldn’t believe it! My mom said I couldn’t keep it . Instead she let me go to the store and buy a _________ but there were none left! The man at the store sold me a ________ instead! I thought it smelled funny , so I went home and on the way home I found three ______. what a funny day!
Our backyard is chock a block packed with spiders! I knew we had to do something with spiders. Also Halloween isn’t far away so today’s letter of the week can be done for a Halloween craft by changing up the red paper for orange or simply a spider. We chose to keep is simple since my son had preschool today and I didn’t want to overload him. But if your child is keen you could use glitter glue to make a spider web on the back page for extra bling!
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, scissors, crayons, glue and or a glue stick, and googly eyes.
- Start by writing a chunky lowercase s on the lower half of the black paper. Cut off the top.
- Have your child color it- my goal here was for him to use silver and gold ( they really show up on black) but he chose yellow and green which was a ok because he was happy.
- While they color fan fold some of the extra black paper. If your child is able to do this have them, it’s awesome fine motor work!
- Cut into 8 legs.
- When your child is done beautifying their spider, cut it out.
- Add glue to the back with the glue stick.
- Add the 8 legs.
- Slam the S down on the red paper.
- Add glue for the eyes – yes he really made both the globs himself, he was so proud of himself.
- Add the googly eyes and let dry ( if the glue is as plentiful as ours it will take hours).
Halloween Book Preview
” Inside a House That Is Haunted” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli was the hands down favorite Halloween book for my 3 year old class in 2005. I must have read this 200 times and even after Christmas had come and gone it was still requested all the time. The story is a rebus read along, so it is repetitive and it builds upon itself. This is great for children who are eager to “read along” before they are able to read words. The repetitiveness allows them to anticipate what is next and feel included. Very cute even after reading it hundreds of times.
“CinderHazel : The Cinderella of Halloween “ by Deborah Nourse Lattimore is a spin on the classical favorite fairytale Cinderella . The book was too long for my son, which didn’t surprise me at all. He said the witch was scary and walked away. I don’t think he meant it I just don’t think he was into it. The story is about Hazel who is a dirt loving witch who doesn’t mind dirty fireplaces at all, in fact she loves them . When she is told she can’t go to the ball it’s not the love of a prince that motivates her to go but rather the 15 dirty fireplaces at the castle and the very fact that her stepmother told her no. As it would turn out the prince is pretty filthy himself and they are a match made in heaven. Similar to it’s inspiration but clever in it’s twists , I especially love that she rides a magic vacuum cleaner to the ball , no pumpkin turning into a coach in this book!
” 10 Trick – or Treaters“ by Janet Schulman was the book I bought to try and eclipse ” Inside a House That Is Haunted” and while my class loved this one two my plan didn’t quite work out. This book has the most adorable pictures and in every page there is an owl hidden somewhere, which is a great trick to keep reluctant readers involved. The story counts down from 10 to no trick or treaters with fun rhyming text and a fun array of trick or treaters in cute costumes.
** Update for 2009** I wrote the above review last year. This book has since become my son’s favorite counting book, we read it at least once a day and have for weeks and weeks. We each choose favorite costumes, we act out the kids getting frightened and generally really enjoy it. So it may not have beat out “Inside A House That Is Haunted” in my class a few years back but it has in my home this year!
Door d !
Sometime a craft really makes you proud, I know this isn’t rocket science but I was pretty excited when I thought of this , it reminds me of the lift the flap books that my son still loves and has since he was a baby. Inside the door we hid a dinosaur! Even with it’s novelty the craft is fast and easy .
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, some crayons, scissors, a marker, glue and a sticker or two.
- Start by writing a lowercase d on one piece of paper.
- Have your child color the d. My son discovered he can hold multiple crayons in one hand for maximum coverage!
- Cut out the d and cut the inner circle on 3 sides. Leave one side attached and fold carefully back.
- Glue the d back on. My son was insistent that he do the gluing , I wanted to do it so it didn’t get on the flap but conceded to writing x where he needed to put it. He did great and I was reminded yet again to chill out.
- Place it on the 2nd piece of paper.
- Add the sticker, you could also add a door knob, my wee one declared ” No door knobs mama, you’re silly” a hole punch dot would be perfect if you want one.
- Let dry!
” Dogabet” by Dianna Bonder is a fun playful alphabet book, perfect for animal lovers. We love dogs in our house so this was a sure fire hit, but even if you can’t tell a foxhound from a poodle you will like the busy pages and cute alliterative text. Each page is devoted to one letter and a corresponding breed of dog, our favorites were the Otterhounds with their oboes and the purple Pugs. Also at the back of the book there is a guide to hidden images on each page that all begin with the proper letter, as well as a cat and bone. My son loved this book and playing “detective” with it.
“Sleepy ABC” by Margaret Wise Brown . I had never read this book before, and although I have a legendary hatred of Runaway Bunny I generally love this author, I can’t get enough of The Big Red Barn right now. I like this book, and the illustrations will zip you back in time for sure. Unlike many alphabet books it has a great rhythm for reading it all without breaks. My one complaint is that the child is tucked into bed then a few letters later is out listening to a story from another woman not their mom. I am not sure perhaps those are different children, didn’t bug my son one bit, but left me wondering. Like it’s title suggests it’s a good alphabet book for a bedtime read, it even ends with something I say often ” Go To Sleep!”.
“ABeCedarios : Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish” by Cynthia Weill and K.B.Basseches , wood sculptures by Moises and Armando Jimenez. This is a simple but amazing book. The text is simply labels in both English and Spanish for the bright and wonderful photographs of the matching sculptures. I loved that for X the sculpture is of a mythical animal and the book asks the reader to make up a name begining with X, very clever!