I started my career as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. There are still days when I see something that either brings back memories of an activity or makes me think "Hmmm...THAT would be fun to do!" Now that I have grandchildren, those ideas seem to come more often. Here's a few that keep coming to mind as I notice the Fall season in nature and Halloween-themed items in stores:
COUNTING CARDS: Using any kind of paper or even blank index cards, make circles with a number next to them. Go on a nature hunt, giving your child a basket or paper bag, and encourage them to pick up items that catch their attention. Use those items to place on the counting cards, i.e. 1 acorn, 2 pine cones, 3 red leaves, etc.
CREATE A PATTERN: Show your child a pattern, using the nature items again. For example: acorn, acorn, pine cone, leaf. Ask your child to duplicate the pattern you made. Challenge them to create a pattern for you to copy.
SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE: Using all or some of your nature finds, work with your child to line items up ranging in size from small to large.
CANDY CORN SHAPES: A bag of candy corn is probably the cheapest candy there is. On a piece of paper, create a shape using five pieces of candy corn. Ask your child to copy that shape with their own candies. Increase the number of candies and the complexity of the shapes as your child masters this skill. Eat them when you're done!
LEAF RUBBING: On your nature hunt, be sure to grab different size leaves. To create a rubbing, simply place one leaf under a piece of thin paper, such as newsprint or copy paper. Holding a crayon on its side, rub it over the leaf, gently rubbing until the shape of the leaf shows through. Use several leaves and color crayons to create beautiful Fall masterpieces!
PINE NEEDLE PAINTING: Gather pine needles to use as paint brushes. Using any kind of kid-friendly paint, let your child experiment with one, two or a fistful of pine needles. How does it change the look of the painting?
HAND PRINT GHOSTS: Using white child-safe paint, gather dark colored paper and paint your child's hand white. Make the hand print on the dark paper. When the paint is dry, add eyes to that spooky spectre!
Parents are always on the look-out for fun things to do. Be sure to pay attention to the great outdoors and even rarely used items around your house to make learning fun!