Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Big Pumpkin

I have to share the neatest felt board that I think I've ever seen:
It's the whole crew from Erica Silverman's Big Pumpkin!  This fantastic story time prop was created by Ms. Sandra at my local library - brilliant!

This felt set would be amazing to me under any circumstances, but it's especially so since Big Pumpkin is one of my favorite Halloween books - and has been a hit with my students for about 20 years.  (It was published in 1992, and I believe I got the book and tape for it in about 1994.)  The very best part of it, to me, is the tape recording of the story.  While you may not ever find (or want!) a cassette recording of the story, you and your students can still enjoy the music by checking out the book on YouTube.


So how might you extend the story, and have some hands on fun with your children?  How about letting the children mix some red and yellow paint to make a big orange pumpkin?

I had my kiddos cut out a pumpkin shape and use black paper scraps to make their own jack-o-lanterns.

You could paint their knuckles orange, and help them make a fist print pumpkin....
We added torn tissue paper grass for our pumpkins to sit in, and when everything was dry the children drew on the faces with a black marker.

Of course, the very BEST thing to do with a big pumpkin, is just what the witch did in the story - make it into pumpkin pie!
I bet you know what to do with the pie!  Delicious!

I wrote a short poem and book about pumpkins for young readers, you can see it in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Want even more pumpkin ideas?  I've blogged about our pumpkin adventures before, check those posts out here.

Wishing you a lovely fall, full of pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scents, and great big pumpkins!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Halloween Fairy

We all know about the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus, but not everyone knows about the Halloween fairy!  I was introduced to her by my oldest son's preschool teacher, Ms. Michelle, about 18 years ago.

The Halloween fairy comes late at night on October 31st, after all the candy has been collected, the costumes removed, and excited but exhausted children are in bed.  If you want her to stop at your house, you need to choose some candy to keep, and some to put out for her.  Just as the tooth fairy exchanges a lost tooth for a special treat, the Halloween fairy leaves healthy alternatives when she takes away the excess candy.  Our fairy was great about leaving us mangoes, kiwi fruit, pineapple... she knew just exactly what our favorite fruits were!  My boys weren't too impressed with the hard candies- or for that matter the non-chocolate candies - in their Halloween loot stashes, so those always went out for the fairy.  When they were very little, they chose 10 pieces of candy to keep, and put the rest out.  (We also only went to a few houses.)  Later we kept more, and eventually, just like the tooth fairy, the boys outgrew the Halloween fairy.

I should tell you right now, my sons have very different opinions about the Halloween fairy now!  At almost 20 (how can that be?!) my oldest thinks the Halloween fairy was an injustice and scam that I perpetrated upon him, albeit with good intention.  His younger brother prefers to remember the mango and pineapple, and thinks it was a pretty good deal.  They are both very healthy eaters, and prefer fresh fruits and veggies over junk (most of the time), so no matter what they think, I have to believe the Halloween fairy did her work well. 

On a cautionary note, a friend once asked me what the Halloween fairy does with the candy she collects.  The sad truth, as I told my friend, is that mostly she stores it on her thighs.  :-)  Some got shared in various ways, but... well... butt.

So how does this work?  For our family, it meant taking out the candy the kids were keeping, then putting the rest back in their sack and leaving it outside the back door, or in the garage.  I've heard she's a pretty resourceful fairy, so she'll probably cooperate with whatever set up works best for your family.  She has also been know to bring small toys, like the spider web shaped bubble blower wand she had one year.  I think her main mission is to promote healthier choices than hoarding a stash of Halloween candy and gorging on it for most of November.

Wishing you a delicious, but also healthy, Halloween!
Paula


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!


Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
I often talk about hands-on activities... this week we're going for a feet-on project instead!  Going through some old photos, I found this cute art and writing activity, which is super fun for a classbook or a bulletin board.
 Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten


Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
We used Halloween colored paper and helped each child make a white ghosty footprint on it.  While the footprint dried, each child simply wrote one thing they'd like to eat.
 Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten



When everything was dry, the kiddos added ghostly details and glued it all together.
 Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!  Halloween writing activity from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Happy Halloween!