Make a Pumpkin
I couldn’t decide what exactly I wanted this one to be, so I have a couple variations to choose from. Either offers great opportunities for play for your child!
Variation 1: Cut out a plain white construction paper pumpkin. Then, cut up orange tissue paper into 1-inch squares. Your child can glue on the orange tissue paper pieces and fill in the pumpkin. If they crumple up the pieces it would give their pumpkin a cute puffy quality too.
Variation 2: Child’s choice. Let your child choose how they want to fill in their pumpkin. Paint, crayons, markers, or maybe they just want to draw their own pumpkin creation.
Stuff to Have
White construction paper
Orange tissue paper, optional
Art supplies: Paint, markers, crayons, etc., optional
Shapes, colors, gluing, fine motor
Pour 1 or 2 bags of dry beans into a large container. Provide spoons, bowls, cups, tongs, or anything else your child would enjoy digging through beans.
*Variation: Provide a separate bowl to scoop beans into with the utensils. Or for older children provide a muffin tin or ice tray to sort beans by shape and color.
*Variation: Add a problem solving element by putting small toys or objects in the bean container for children to find.
Stuff to Have
-1 or 2 bags of dry beans
-Large open container
-Cups, bowls, spoons, strainers, etc. (Be creative and change it up each time you do this!)
Fine motor, sensory
Darken a room that is familiar to your child and has familiar objects in it. Sit down somewhere comfortable and let your child use the flashlight to find various objects. Older children will love having you name some of their favorite toys or special objects and using the flashlight to find them. While younger children might not grasp the concept of finding things with the flashlight you can demonstrate and begin that problem solving concept. If they are only interested in playing with the flashlight that is fine too- they are still always learning and building new concepts. Just take care to help them avoid looking directly at the light.
Stuff to Have
-Darkened, familiar room
Problem Solving, follow through
Early Science & Math
Since this season is one of constant changes I like to include 2 or 3 nature walks just to take in all the changes. It is such a simple way to talk about change, observe colors, feel different temperatures, and compare what is different from the last nature walk. So, head outside and enjoy the changing weather, trees, flowers, grass, etc. Talk a lot about colors and the changes you see- even with the youngest children. Walks are simple but great opportunities to enhance vocabulary and learning about the environment around us.
Science (observation), colors, temperatures, large motor
Cooking & Baking
Pumpkin Pie Poptarts
Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Allow to chill while you prepare the crust. Roll out one half of the pie crust. Trim edges to make a rectangle. Cut out smaller rectangles that are about 3 in. by 4 in. Repeat with second half of dough. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of filling into each of the bottom halves of your pop-tarts. Brush edges with water and place the pop-tart “tops” on. Press the edges all the way around with a fork to seal shut. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until golden.
Stuff to Have
1/2 c pumpkin
2 T brown sugar
½ t pumpkin pie spice
1 package refrigerated pie crust
Cooking and baking, fine motor, science, math
Large Motor: One of the most important things we can do for our kids is getting them to use their large muscles! Running, jumping, climbing, throwing & kicking a ball, tossing leaves that have fallen, going for a walk, riding a trike… Large muscle movement is beneficial for muscle and brain development!
Music and Rhymes: I like to find different Fall themed music and rhymes online. There are a lot of fun resources with great familiar rhymes and tunes to incorporate in your day. But keep in mind it isn’t necessary to have a sit down and sing time (this isn’t preschool or kindergarten!) Just incorporate singing, music, and dancing throughout your day!
Books: I find it is easiest to head to the library and pick out some fall themed books. Find your child’s favorite character as they experience fall, find books about fall in your area, but mostly just read! With toddlers especially it isn’t about necessarily reading all of the words, it’s more about letting them experience the book, point out what you see in pictures, connect it to their life, ask questions, and let them take the lead!
Come visit on Facebook! For more tips about play, these activities, large motor, music and rhymes, and book ideas check out the Real. Meaningful. Family. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/realmeaningfulfamily/
Mostly enjoy your child and happy playing!