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Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


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Pumpkins

Activities for toddlers and babies


AREA SETUP

Pumpkin exploration
Deposit several plastic pumpkins (used for collecting candy) on the floor. Fill each pumpkin with different objects: figurines, balls, blocks, pieces of fabric, laminated illustrations, etc. Let babies and toddlers explore the pumpkins' contents when they arrive in the morning. They will enjoy emptying the pumpkins and then filling them over and over again.

 

Decorate your daycare
Print several different pumpkin illustrations and display them on the walls of your daycare. Visit the educatall club to find many different printables. Simply type "pumpkin" in the search engine to find them.

 

ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS

Pumpkins at lunch time
Purchase a variety of pumpkin decorations at the dollar store. Some can be stuck on windows or mirrors and easily removed, without leaving any sticky residue behind. Select large pumpkin shapes that can safely be manipulated by little ones. Let children stick them on a plastic tablecloth or individual placemats during lunch time. Larger illustrations can even be stuck on children's drinking glasses or bottles and even to the bottom of their plate (or under clear plates). Variation: If the adhesive shapes are too small, print pumpkin illustrations and use adhesive paper to stick them on various items.

 

Edible pumpkins
Serve this nutritious fruit to the children in your group who have already tasted it at home. Prepare squash-based recipes or purchase pumpkin muffins, soup, cookies, purées, or jam.


SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)

Real pumpkin bin
Fill a large container with several real pumpkins (or different types of squash). For just a few dollars, you can find a variety of miniature squash at your local grocery store. They are available in several different colors (green, white, orange, etc.). You can even find some that offer different textures. They can safely be manipulated by your group as long as you choose firm, unvarnished ones.


SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)

Candle
Set a candle in a small pumpkin. A battery-operated candle is ideal. Your pumpkin will make the perfect centrepiece for your lunch table. At the end of the day, as it gets darker, arrange several lit pumpkins in your daycare or yard.


SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)

The inside of a pumpkin
Let toddlers explore the inside of a pumpkin. Watch them closely so they don't swallow the pumpkin seeds. Remove them if necessary. Children will enjoy discovering the texture of the pumpkin flesh with their senses.

 

SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)

Orange transformation
At snack time, transform oranges to make them look like pumpkins. Simply slice oranges and decorate them with fruit, vegetables, and candy pieces.

 

ARTS & CRAFTS

Exploring pumpkins and feathers
This activity does not require glue. The finished product is unimportant. After all, the feathers will not stick on the pumpkins for very long. You will need one or several pumpkins, many lightweight feathers, and a spray bottle filled with water. Sit on the floor with your group. Set a towel on the floor and arrange the pumpkins on top of it. Spray the pumpkins with water and show children how the feathers stick to the pumpkins. This activity requires very little preparation and can easily be repeated throughout the theme. Variation: Instead of using feathers, use pieces of transparent paper (like cellophane paper, sold in rolls).

 

Pumpkin plates
You will need orange poster paint and paper plates. Let babies and toddlers paint the plates to make them look like pumpkins. Using glue, encourage children to add feathers, pieces of yarn or felt, and glitter to their pumpkins. Have toddlers glue eyes, a nose, and a mouth on their pumpkin. Even if they do not place them in exactly the correct spots, they will have fun trying. Inform parents that their child completed his/her pumpkin alone at the end of the day, according to how he/she perceives a face. Hang the pumpkins from the ceiling, in the hallway, or in a window.

 

Pumpkins and washable markers
Use real pumpkins as if they were dry-erase boards. Leave children's drawings on display and admire them with your group. After a while, simply use a wet towel to wipe the pumpkins' surface and wash the drawings away, making it possible for children to start all over again once they are dry. Let children wash the pumpkins on their own by leaving small facecloths out for them to use.

 

MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Special pumpkin texture
To present an activity for your group as a whole or for two small groups, empty one large or two medium pumpkins. In a bowl, combine cornstarch with water until you have a "gooey" texture. Pour the mixture inside the pumpkin(s). Let children manipulate the contents of the pumpkin(s). Cleaner variation: Use one large plastic pumpkin and fill it with objects that offer different textures (feathers and cotton balls for example). Let children manipulate the objects.

 

Orange clothing items and large pumpkin stickers
Orange clothing items are quite rare. Instead of asking parents to have their child wear an orange sweater, purchase large pumpkin stickers and stick them directly on each child's sweater. Apply adhesive paper on top to make sure children don't remove the stickers and supervise them closely.


COGNITIVE ACTIVITIES

Playing with colors and Smarties
This activity will be a treat for toddlers. Pour Smarties in a large plate. Have fun admiring the colors with your group. Encourage children to identify all the candy pieces that are orange like a pumpkin.

 

Introduction to color combinations
Choose two primary colors and let babies and toddlers use them to paint a pumpkin. They will mix the colors and quickly see a new color appear. For example, if you provide yellow and red paint, they will see orange appear. Try using other colors too.

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS

Out for a walk
If possible, visit a farmer's market with your group. At this time of the year, there are pumpkins everywhere! Let children observe and touch them. Admire the Halloween decorations and the pumpkins set in front of houses along the way.

 

LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES

Face parts
Use the many jack-o-lanterns that are present in your neighbourhood or part of your Halloween decor to discuss face parts with your group. Use pictures to identify and name each pumpkin's nose, mouth, and eyes. Point to each child's nose, mouth, and eyes and to your own nose, mouth, and eyes as well.

 

Chantal Millette
Early childhood educator


Educatall.com is not responsible for the content of this article. The information mentioned in this article is the responsibility of the author. Educatall.com shall not be held responsible for any litigation or issues resulting from this article.


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