If you’ve been following us here or on facebook, you know that we are in full pumpkin mode at Twodaloo central. We have been having a great time introducing the twins to fall concepts and activities, and I think they have been enjoying it, too!
Last week’s tot school focused on the color orange, which naturally lent itself to pumpkin play. After our typical circle time with our welcome song and weather check using our new felt board, the twins and Tex jumped right into our activities.
1. Mess-free Color Blending
To introduce the color orange, I took some red and yellow washable paint and squirted a healthy amount of each color into three gallon-sized Ziplock baggies (one for each child). Then I simply took a strip of duct tape and taped each baggie to a window in our dining room/playroom. We encouraged the little ones to smush the paint around using their fingers, toy cars, or whatever else their little imaginations could dream up. As the two colors mixed, they created orange, giving us a fun opportunity to talk about our newest color.
I believe I first saw this activity at Sweet Happy Life, and am really glad we tried it. My kids are still playing with one of the baggies over a week later!
2. “Five Little Pumpkins” Finger Puppets
Next, we read the classic Halloween poem “Five Little Pumpkins” using some fun felt finger puppets to act out the story. You can read more about the puppets and see the complete poem here.
3. Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
Pumpkin pie play dough also made an appearance during our tot school session. There are a ton of versions of this recipe out there in blog land; we used this one. I love this stuff…using pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon makes it smell amazing!
4. Five Little Pumpkins Dramatic Play (and Prepositions)
Another “Five Little Pumpkins” activity that we did involved round pumpkins, toilet paper rolls, and lots of imagination. Before tot school, I had my husband pick up five small round pumpkins at the grocery store. I wanted them to roll easily and match the round pumpkins in our book. Next I drew faces on the pumpkins with a Sharpie, again matching the illustrations in the story. I grabbed a white basket for the “gate,” a witch cookie cutter, and some white ribbon wands from another project to act as the wind.
First, we practiced following directions with the prepositions “on,” “under,” and “beside” using the pumpkins and the basket. *Note: Although our little ones are old enough to understand object permanence, this is an easy and cheap way to work on this concept with younger babies. Then we acted out the rest of the poem using our props (find the complete poem here). When it came time for the pumpkins to “roll out of sight,” I set up some cardboard toilet paper tubes and let the kids do some pumpkin bowling.
We have continued to bring out this activity all week long-here is Sydney stacking the tubes after nap a few days go.
5. Pumpkin “Fishing”
As usual, we saved the best/messiest activity for last-it was a nice morning, so we decided to do some fishing…for pumpkins!
This activity was a fan favorite and was very simple to set up. I just filled a large plastic container with water and threw in a few bags of pumpkins and other gourds that I found in the produce section of our grocery store. Somehow, a fire engine made its way in, too ! We gave the little ones some strainers with handles to use as “nets,” and let them scoop away for the pumpkins.
There was almost as much splashing as there was scooping!
Rub-a-dub, dub! Three babies in a tub!
6. Pumpkin Picnic and Hunt
Our pumpkin school day was so much fun that we decided to have a “pumpkin picnic” a few days later. We spread a blanket on the ground under a big tree at a local park and shared a fun lunch. I don’t have pictures of this part, but in addition to our usual lunch food we shared some orange- and pumpkin-themed snacks. Mama Tex brought some yummy sweet potato fries, and I shared some pumpkin mini-muffins (recipe here) and oranges. After the picnic, I took our stash of little pumpkins and hid them (in plain sight) around the playground.
Of course, there happened to be some oh-so-”helpful” boys at the park who wanted to bury the pumpkins in the wood chips to make it harder for our tots to find them. Since our kids seemed to like digging up the pumpkins, I spent my time following the boys around and partially uncovering the pumpkins so they would be easily spotted. The things we do, right?
To reinforce letter recognition, I have started marking materials with the twins’ initials. Here is Syd with her pumpkin bag, which happens to have her first initial drawn on it with a Sharpie. These cute bags were left over from a project I did about four years ago when I was working in the schools. I remember having a large jack-o-lantern sponge and stamping about 60 gift bags with orange tempera paint. Cute, huh?
We also enjoyed filling our bags with wood chips
7. Pumpkins in the Sandbox!
On another afternoon, we had fun simply playing with our pumpkins in the small sandbox in our back yard.
We took turns burying them in the sand, digging them out, and stacking them.
And then we (and the pumpkins) took a nice, long bubble bath