Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preschool Fall Activities - Part 3

Okay, I know I should have started with these two activities at the very beginning. Call it Autumn brain or something like that. Anyway, we been having so much fun with activities, it is hard to keep track. We finally got ourselves some pumpkins late in the month. Until we had them we made our very own out of paper plates. Just think no gooey inners or decay and you can put them in places you normally couldn't decorate with a pumpkin.

Activity 3 - So, here is how we did it. We took those cheapy paper plates that you really should never serve food on. Turned them either direction it didn't matter. We colored it orange and drew our faces. (We use paper plates for lots of arts and crafts around. They make great lion masks as well and African style necklaces.) You can attach a craft stick to the other side if you want to make like a sign or punch holes in them to hang, etc. You get the idea. It really is all about lots of fun family time.

But, once we got the pumpkins we had a fun time painting them. We didn't go for the basic faces on many of them, but our bookworm girl painted hers in some very artistic creative styles. A tip though, those washable paints do not work well. We used acrylic and covered everything well. If you aren't into painting, try permanent markers in various colors. Again, those washable markers do not do well either. If you are working with older kids you could try dressing up the pumpkin. Hot glue guns are great for adding decorations. One year I did a simple dog and cat by using a marker for the faces and gluing on ears and cat whiskers. Have fun and enjoy the seasonal treats it has to offer. Oh, and there are a number of books out there with pumpkin decorating ideas. Visit your local library or bookstore for ideas that or the latest family magazines.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Preschool Fall Activities - Part 2

Well, this one is probably a little late to do in many areas, but can be done in some areas all year long.

Activity 2 - Leaf Rubbings! Yeah! One of those all time favorites of mine and many, many others I know. The trick to this activity is you need either still on the tree leaves or ones that have just fallen. We picked a variety earlier this past week, but by the next day and especially the day after the leaves were a bit too crunch to work with. Luckily, we still have some available in the neighborhood and parks to choose from.

Some like to put the leaves between two pieces of everyday usage white paper, while others like to tape them down (which I recommend for smaller participants) to keep from moving around too much. We have so many crayons with the paper peeled that there were lots of colors to choose from. We did find the triangle crayons not as good for rubbings as the basic big ole' fat washable ones. The skinny ones work well too, but these are not as easily washable, so beware of the surface being worked on.

One of the things we do with this activity is talk about the leaf life cycle and reasons behind the color changes. In some areas, like where my sister lives in California they don't lose their leaves, but rather go through at least two "blooming" seasons like her lemon and orange trees. Again, lots of age appropriate books at the library can be used to supplement the activity or not. Just doing the rubbings is fun enough and provides lots of great memories.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Preschool Fall Activities

Ah, Fall or Autumn as some would say has been upon us for a while now. However, it is never too late to do some fun fall activities. There are so many that we have tried these past few weeks I think I'll post them in a ultra mini series here. There are a number of books at the library that can give you ideas on fun activities for all ages, good luck though on finding any at this time. We have found even limited fiction books with a fall theme available.

(Seems libraries are seeing quite an increase in usage with disposable incomes being down these days. Unfortunately, our library system will take its first cut in decades in its collection budget this next year. They have cut the salaries, operating hours, and the staff so much there is literally nothing left to cut other than the collection now.)

But, back to fall activities. I named it preschool as that is the age I'm working with on these projects.

Activity 1 - My daughter calls these activities nature explorations and I agree. She loves doing little "science" experiments. A week ago she discovered a number of "nuts" and wanted to open them up. This is a great time to grab a tree book and/or animal book to use afterwards to extend the fun and bit of lesson. I'm still not sure what acorn type nut we had, but I did know what it wasn't, so we started there. We talked about how nuts can be cracked, what is inside, how it is edible for animals and at times for people. We compared them to spring tree seeds you find on maples and such versus walnut and oak trees have nuts as their seeds.

We discussed terms and of course she was free to completely dismantle the nut. We kept one whole to do comparison. The funny part was trying to crack the nut. It took so much strength that we all agreed squirrels must have extraordinary teeth and techniques to open these things. There are lots of books suitable for all ages about trees, leaves, animals, etc. at the library. Check it out and find a nut for a little fun.

Later, we did something similar with the crabapples found on various trees in these parts.

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