Pumpkins are one of the items you will see during harvest time. The playdough at the sensory table has the smell of pumpkin pie. Students make their own pumpkins and pies or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. I add alphabet shapes because everyone knows P is for pumpkin! The recipe is easy and uses ingredients found in most every kitchen.
½ cup salt
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil works great)
What you do
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
Add food coloring to the water to get a pumpkin color.
Add colored water and coconut oil to dry ingredients.
Stir over heat until dough is pliable.
Once playdough is cool enough, kneed in:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
Allow to cool and store in a well sealed plastic bag or container.
The best way to teach preschoolers is to use a hands on curriculum. In the science field that can get messy. Autumn leaves are colorful, but fragile and make it hard to view them first hand in the classroom. I use Discovery Bottles to keep them from crumbling and yet, allow students to get a close up view of the leaves.
I added a few glittery leaves to the bottles to make them more intriguing.. Magnifying glasses are nearby for an even closer look.
Explaining seasons is often a difficult thing to do with preschoolers. Adults sometimes teach misconception that the seasons on the Earth are caused by varying distances of the Earth from the Sun. It is important to note that when it is Summer in the Northern hemisphere it is Winter in the Southern. Our seasons can be more correctly determined by the earth’s equinox and Solstice. This is easier to study with young students if you simply point out the changes that happen around them during each change. Weather helpers, charts and local traditions often help point the way.
Although Autumn started at the end of September this year in the Northern hemisphere, it is easier to SEE the season now. Harvest time has ended and the produce is all around us. Most of us are wearing long sleeves and coats. I start by changing the sticky board to go with the fingerplay Five Little Pumpkins:
Five little pumpkins sitting by the gate
The first one said, “Oh my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “There are leaves in the air.”
The third one said. “We don’t care.”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run, run, run!”
The fifth one said, “This is so much fun!”
Then ooo went the wind and out went the light
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
The students can later build their own fences and arrange the leaves and pumpkins as a center activity.