Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall: Pumpkin Patch, Scarecrow + Fire Station

{Note from the editor. We're having a few challenges in blog-land. MaryJo has a gazillion ideas to share, but the photos are having an issue being uploaded. They are well worth your returning to see them and will be inserted at our earliest convenience. In the mean time: use your IMAGINATIONS!}

photo of: Fall Season Activities at PreK+K Sharing from Mary Jo Huff
Fall Leaves Begin to Herald Season's Change

The beauty of our world is peeking through my windows.  The leaves are so many different colors, the fall flowers are in full bloom and the air is crisp.  This is a favorite time of the year as I drive back roads from Southern Indiana to Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis and down to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I pack my orange suitcases, grab the puppets and away we go.  Children are so receptive to learning about the changes, the seasons and different types of songs, finger plays and food.

One of the best ways to get parents involved with the children is to create books that travel from school to home and back again.  These books are kept in the classroom so children can read and reread during the year and reference what time of the year the book was made.The pumpkin pattern is from Jonesborough, Arkansas.  It laminated with 5 mil. Laminate and attached with a metal ring.  The holes on the white pages are reinforced with circle reinforcements.

The children visited the local pumpkin patch and took their own pumpkin home after designing a face on the pumpkin.

PARENT DIRECTIONS:  Share your favorite pumpkin picking adventures.  Your child will illustrate and dictate and return the book the following day.
Pickin’ Pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch is a song by Jim Coffey and can be found on the CD Peeper Pizzaazzz along with the story of the Orange Ghost on Storytelling for Kids.

A visit to the local fire department is always a highlight for children and attending parents. After the trip this book was sent home so the children could dictate their favorite thing at the fire station.  If you cannot visit the fire station call your local volunteers and ask if someone can bring the fire truck to your school or center. 

Take It To Your Seat activities are designed by Evan Moor a great publishing company.  The pictures are in color and all you need to do is cut them out and attach to a bag.  The best idea is to purchase or ask for donations of bags and attach the SCARECROW to the outside with Velcro.  

The directions are attached to the back with Velcro also.  This way when the bag is worn all you have to do is replace the bag.
Inside the bag are the interactive TAKE-IT-TO-YOUR-SEAT activities.   This idea was used the entire year and was set up as a center.  When the children understood the directions it became a favorite center and they always anticipated the changes in the bags.  The items attached to the bags were laminated with 5 mil. Laminate as were the activity cards.

Product DetailsThe Scarecrow's Dance

Two of my favorite books to read along with others listed on my website.  
Yes I read!!!  Someone asked me if I always told stories and I said “Of Course I do!”  then I realized that they were referring to reading to children.  I read all the time as tI still do with my grandchildren but when  a good story begs to be told and retold I am on it right away.
I will insert a few pages from a parent/child, class book.  These ideas worked to connect our families and to get the children ready to become the best readers.

Each child had a page in the book and as you can see some parents spent lots of time and others just had a cup of coffee.  No matter what the seeds were planted for parent involvement.  This book was recopied and each child took a book home.  We did this several times during the year.  Budget restraints kept us from sending home a copy of every book.

photo of: English Muffin Jack-o-Lanterns via MaryJo Huff at PreK+K Sharing

Enjoy a healthy food activity to accompany this time of the year.
INGREDIENTS:  Volunteers to help so each child can create their own edible pumpkin.
  • Raisins
  • Cheez Wiz
  • English Muffins
  • Spreading knife
  • Toaster

DIRECTIONS:  Invite the children to choose a toasted English muffin half.  Place the muffin on a paper plate and direct the children as to spreading the Cheez Wiz on the muffin.  Tell them to cover the top of the muffin.  After they are finished spreading the cheese on the muffin tell them to use the raisins to make a face on the muffin.  They can then eat the muffin for their snack.

Each year at this time we talked about and explored spiders and how they spin a web.  The following picture is of a paint reverse.  Be generous with Elmer’s Glue to make the pattern of a spider web and paint it white and place a piece of black paper over the painted web, and rub it with your hand.  The children spend many minutes rubbing the paper because they can feel the web under the paper.  Pull the paper off and hang to dry.  Children are always amazed at this process and it can be repeated throughout the year with different shapes.
This web is black and was reversed on orange paper.

Have a great rest of the month and keep the children’s minds wondering what you will come up with next.  Some call this intentional teaching (a new buzz word) but at our center we have always taught with the intention of the children learning while having fun.

Check out my web site at to find the CDs with music and stories, and sign up for my newsletter.  
Mary Jo Huff, Author, Storyteller, Puppeteer and Song Writer.


1 comment:

  1. How child centered and wonderful! The book ideas are great, you shared perfect titles and nice activities! Thank you for inspiring us to share more of the season wiyth the children and to think about how they see it.


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