Tot School Pumpkins & Halloween

Well Halloween has come and gone and I can't believe it is already November 1st! That means in less than a month my big girl turns 3! 
As she continues to grow and learn I am going to be trying to find new skills for her to practice in Tot School while continuing to mix in lots of fun play ideas for the rest of this school year.  I have big plans this summer to transistion to a home preschool curriculum with Madelynn since she will not be old enough to start traditional 4 year old pre-kindergarten for another whole year! But until then we will continue with our current Tot School routine.

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Here were our plans for Pumpkins & Halloween Week:

And here is what we actually did:

I tried to chose a variety of books on pumpkins and Hallween  
Here were our favorite Pumpkin & Halloween books for the week:

Pumpkin Pumpkin By Jeanne Titerington
I Like Pumpkins By Jerry Smath
TheLegend of Spookley By Joe Troiano
Skeleton Meets the Mummy By Steve Metzger
Room on the Broom By Julia Donaldson
Big Scary Monster By Thomas Docherty

 Pumpkin Building:
Madelynn loved stacking, poking (and eating) these little jelly pumpkins. I encouraged her to see how tall she could make her towers.
Pumpkin Play Dough:
I found these pumpkin ice cube trays at the dollar tree and wasn't sure what I was going to use them for, but them I thought they'd be fun to use as play dough molds.  Madelynn ended up only using them a few times before deciding to just roll and squish her own pumpkins, but it was a nice invitation to play.
Pumpkin Letters:
I've been working with madelynn more on lowercase letters and she isnt quite ready for writing some of them yet so I am focusing on building letters in lots of different ways.  This week we used pumpkin erasers to fill in the inside of each letter to make her name.
Halloween Letter Writing:
 For this letter writing activity I spread out fall sprinkles on a tray. So this activity didnt last long because after a few tries writing letters Madelynn discovered she could eat them, haha. But we have been working on writing the first 2 letters in her name and looking at the shapes in the letters.  She is doing a great job with M, and sometimes a if I show her a model to look at.
Monster Play Dough:
Play dough alone is fun and engaging but along with lots of interesting materials it can transform into a totally new activity.  To build our monsters we used colored play dough, cut up pipe cleaners and straws, pony bead, and googly eyes.  But you could definitely add any fun things you have laying around for this activity. This was such a fun activity for the whole family! Since Madelynn loved this activity during our normal Tot School time, I pulled it out again after dinner for some more creative fun.  Even Aubrey got to squish her hands in the play dough for a few minutes (until she tried to eat it).
 Glowing Ring Toss:
This game was really hard to photograph because we literally did it in our pitch black basement playroom.  All I used was a pumpkin with a good sized stem and several glow necklaces.  I had Madelynn stand back a foot or so and try to toss them onto the stem. Lots of great throwing practice!  
 Pumpkin Hunt:
This pumpkin hunt was all about getting some exercise! I printed out some actions and hid them inside placstic pumpkins.  Them Madelyn had to both hunt for the pumpkins, getting her to run around the house, and then do the action inside.  Tiring out this toddler is tough work!
 Ghost Knock Down:
For this gross motor activity I drew ghost faces on clear cups and staccked them in a pyramid.  Then I gave Madelynn 3 of the plastic pumpkins from the previous activity and had her throw them to try to know down the pyramid.  After she did that for a while and watched me stack up the ghosts she decided she wanted to try that too and was happy to stack and knock down independently for a while. I love when she is able to entertain herself!
Jack O' Lantern Quesadilla:
This cute little snack was so easy to make! I can't believe I havent made shape quesadilla's before.  I used a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out 2 matching pumpkin shapes first. Then I used a knife to cut out the face on one tortilla.  Then I sprinkled a little cheese on one side, stacked them up and microwaved it for a few seconds, easy peasy!
 Pumpkin Krispie Treats:
I don't think its a secret that I LOVE rice krispie treats since we make them for snack every other week, but these ones just turned out SO cute! We added a little orange food coloring to the cereal and marshmallow mixture, then molded them into balls with our hands.  After that we added a mini reese's peanut butter cup to the top and a little green leaf with frosting.
 Ghost String Cheese:
I call this my tired mom snack. All you need is prepackaged string cheese and a sharpie. And DONE! ;) 
 Clementine Pumpkins:
This one is pretty easy too. I just peeled a cutie for Madelynn and added a green Mike and Ike for the stem.  You could use celery, kiwi or anything else healthy and green too, but we didnt have any of those so I had to improvise from our trick or treat stash!
Goldfish Jack O' Lantern:
This jack o' lantern was a fun way to play with our snack. I made a pumpkin and face and showed it to Madelynn then pushed them all into a pile and had her make it again herself.
Pumpkin Theme Bin:
I filled this bin with orange and black paper shreds, orange pom poms and little plastic pumkins.  Then I gave Madelynn a pair of plastic tongs and had her search through the bin to find all the "baby" pumpkins as she called them.
 Glowing Pumpkins:
I found these little LED lights that are waterproof back in the spring and they are perfect for sensory bins. I love how they make waterbeads even more exciting.  In this bin I also added plastic pumpkins and scoops for Madelynn to use.
 Pumpkin Scooping:
I love how simple this bin is. I just used black beans and mini candy pumpkins for Madelynn to scoop and play with. Sometimes simple sensory bins are the best!
 Monster Soup:
This was another simple bin, To set it up I just used purple food coloring, water, and googly eyes. Madelynn is always taking out the measuring spoons and cups from the kitchen to play with so I gave her a set to use for this sensory bin to pretend she was cooking her monster soup!
Halloween Eraser Sort:
And for our last bin, I used the dyed orange pasta from last week and changed out the "bat" pasta for Halloween erasers. Then I gave Madelynn a variety of scoops and tools along with a sorting tray to explore.

That's it for this week. Here is what we have planned for next week:

And the themes that will be coming soon:
And if you want to catch up on our past Tot School Plans, you can find them all here:





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