Fall Theme for #Preschool: 50+ Pumpkin Playful Learning Activities {+ $2000 Total Cash #Giveaway} #KBN

Fall Theme for Preschool:  PUMPKIN Activities for Playful Learning Round-up!

Fall Pumpkins Theme for PreschoolToday, we are honored to join bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network  to bring YOU the largest collection of FALL THEME ACTIVITIES for Preschool ever in one event!   This round-up includes over 50 PUMPKIN ACTIVITIES for playful learning!  The other activity round-ups will be linked below to provide great resources centered around a fall theme.  In addition to all the round-ups, we are offering a MEGA CASH GIVEAWAY with FOUR $500 CASH PRIZES!   We hope you’ll find a wealth of inspiration to use at home or in the classroom (and take a chance to win some CASH along the way)!

The following post consists of 3 main sections:

  • Pumpkins Playful Learning Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Pumpkin Books, Pumpkin Literacy, Pumpkin Math, Pumpkin Science, Pumpkin Sensory and Play, Pumpkin Large Motor Games, and Pumpkin Treats to make with kids!
  • Links to all participating FALL THEME round-ups from the Kid Blogger Network.
Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  To see full disclosures, visit the ABOUT US section at the top of the page.

Pumpkin Books for PreschoolPUMPKIN BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer

5 Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon

Pumpkin Literacy Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN LITERACY ACTIVITIES for PRESCHOOL

5 Little Pumpkin Sitting on a Vine – a created storyboard for Preschool

Pumpkin Patch Letter Hunt (Literacy and Gross Motor Game)by Mamas Like Me

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything – sequencing cards to accompany the book

10 Little Pumpkins – a created felt storyboard to accompany the poem by Love Play and Learn

Pumpkin and Harvest Word Cards – a Montessori-inspired Clothespin Literacy Tray 

5 Little Pumpkins – an original poem for use with Pumpkin Stick Puppets (Wikki Stix)

Pumpkin Activities for Playful Learning in EVERY subject –Literacy, Writing, and MORE

Pumpkin Math Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN MATH ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

Pumpkin Patch Candy Math Game by Toddler Approved

Pumpkin “MISSING NUMBER” game with Miniature Pumpkins

Playing with Number Combinations #’s 1-10 – Free Printables for Decomposing numbers with Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Numbers Busy Bag by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin-Themed TEEN Numbers (Wikki Stix)

Pumpkin Estimation Book for Preschool and Kindergarten – free lesson plan – (Wikki Stix)

Printable Pumpkin and Fall Theme Playdough and Counting Mats

Hands-on Geoboard Explorations with Real Pumpkins by Fun-A-Day

Fall and Pumpkin Inspired Montessori Counting Activities by Preschool Inspirations

Pumpkin Roll and Cover Math Game

Pumpkin Science Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN SCIENCE ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

What Happens to a Rotting Pumpkin? – Science and Discovery from Kids Activities Blog

Paper Plate Pumpkin Life Cycle and Printable Sequencing Cards

Pumpkin Math and Science by Stay at Home Educator

Dissolving Pumpkins – Forming Predictions and Making Observations with Pumpkin Science by Lemon Lime Adventures

Pumpkin Science Investigations by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin Science and Cinnamon GOOP! by Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Fall and Halloween Tasting Experiment and Printable Recording Sheets

Pumpkin Unit Study (including the Life Cycle) by Natural Beach Living

Exploring a Pumpkin Life Cycle with Real Pumpkin Parts! by Teach Preschool

Pumpkin Guts and Seeds by Mama Papa Bubba

Fall Sensory Science Tasting Investigations

Pumpkin Sensory and Play Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN SENSORY and PLAY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

Pumpkin Pie Clean Mud Sensory Play – Recipe by Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Pumpkin-Themed Invitation to Sensory Play by My Nearest and Dearest

Egg Carton Pumpkin Fall Sensory Bin by Sugar Aunts

Pumpkin Pie Playdough by Your Modern Family

Pumpkin Sensory Play by Sugar Aunts

Mr. Pumpkin Head Play by B-inspired Mama

Pumpkin Window Crafts for Book Play by 3 Dinosaurs

Pumpkin Themed Play Date – lots of pumpkin play ideas by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin and Apple Small World Sensory Play by Little Bins for Little Hands


Handprint and Thumbprint Pumpkin Crafts

Pour Painted Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Pumpkin Mosaic Craft with Beans and Candy

Marbled Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Pumpkins on a Vine Paper Plate Craft

Thumbtack Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Jack-O-Lantern (and Frankenstein) Cereal Box Crafts

Paper Clip Pumpkin Art


Pumpkin Gross Motor Games for PreschoolPUMPKIN and FALL GROSS MOTOR GAMES for PRESCHOOL

Large Motor PUMPKIN Relay

PUMPKIN CHUCKIN’ by B-inspired Mama

AUTUMN YOGA POSES for KIDS by Kids Yoga Stories

Pumpkin Bowling by P is for Preschooler

Fall and Pumpkin Foods to Make with PreschoolersPUMPKIN and FALL TREATS to MAKE with PRESCHOOLERS

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Buttermilk Glaze

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Crystals Tiny Treasures

Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Fall (Sweet Potato or Pumpkin) Cake

Fall Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

The Fall Theme for Preschool contains 3 different themes in one (100+ page) unit:  Trees and Leaves, Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns, and Non-scary Halloween.   The suggested activities are designed for children ages 3-6, but extension activities are given where possible for slightly younger or older children.  It contains:  a 49 page instructional manual with songs/fingerplays, literacy activities, math, science, dramatic play, crafts, foods and food crafts, and an extensive book list for hands-on exploration and playful learning.  The theme will download as a zipped file. Once the contents are extracted, there will be a main folder that contains the instructional manual, all 49 pdf files for activities within the theme, and 5  Power Points. The RED links in the main theme are not live, but are there to serve as a guide to tell which file to print for each activity. The GREEN links are for any Power Points.

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Posted in Fall Recipes, Fall Theme Activities, PreK, Preschool Themes, Pumpkin Theme Activities, Reviews and Giveaways, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corn Life Cycle & Sequencing Cards for #Preschool! #PlayfulPreschool


This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around a FARM THEME!  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:



Corn Life Cycle Paper Plate Craft

Corn Life Cycle Paper Plate Craft & Sequencing CardsCORN LIFE CYCLE SEQUENCING CARDS_LABELS

The first corn farmers in the United States were the American Indians.  Approximately 75% of the food we eat everyday contains corn in one form or another.   Teaching young kids about the growing cycle of a corn stalk is not only interesting, but it will help “plant the seeds” (pun intended) for future studies on life cycles and how plants develop.

Please note:  the paper plate corn life cycle above uses Wikki Stix.  Wikki Stix are the original wax-coated yarn sticks made here in the U.S.A.  While I do write for Omnicor, Inc. (better known as the Wikki Stix Co.), this post is NOT a sponsored post.  I’ve have used Wikki Stix for 25+ years with preschoolers and it is, by FAR, the best sensory material for creating life cycles.  In the extra resources section below, you’ll find links to many other life cycle crafts our own students have created.  Wikki Stix can be stored and used over and over again for future projects and learning activities.  Check out the Wikki Stix website, free lessons plans, or the Wikki Stix blog for creative ways to encourage playful learning!

Explain and discuss with the children the growth of a corn stalk from the corn kernels planted in the ground (seeds) to a corn plant that produces more kernels.

  • The corn kernels (seeds) are planted in the soil.
  • With water and sunlight the seed sprouts
  • The sprouts grows and form the corn stalk with leaves and then tassels/silks
  • The silks (inside the corn husks) grab pollen from the tassels to grow the corn kernels.

Remind the children that a life cycle repeats itself over and over again. Have the children divide the paper plate into four sections using Wikki Stix (as shown in photo above).

Materials needed to make the paper plate corn life cycle craft:   Green/Yellow/Orange Wikki Stix, one paper plate (per craft), scissors, and the printable labels (linked at the top of this section).

  1. The life cycle begins in the upper left corner. Have the children cut small pieces of Wikki Stix with scissors and place real corn kernels (or print the photo of corn kernels below and have the children cut out the corn) CORN KERNELS on top of the Wikki Stix inside that section. No glue is necessary as the corn kernels (or paper corn) will adhere to the Wikki Stix.
  2. In the upper right corner of the paper plate, the children can make a small sprout using the green Wikki Stix.
  3. The lower right corner of the plate should contain a corn stalk with silks/tassels (the silks grab pollen to make the corn). Have the children create a larger green stem and leaves to resemble the corn stalk and cut small pieces of yellow Wikki Stix for the silk/tassels.
  4. To complete the life cycle, the children can make the corn lower left hand corner of the plate.

The children can use markers to label their CORN LIFE CYCLE or they can cut the labels from the printable provided above. The labels will adhere directly to the Wikki Stix without the need for glue.

Corn Life Cycle Sequencing Cards

EXTENSION ACTIVITY:  Print the Corn Life Cycle Sequencing Cards in the file linked above, laminate for durability, and cut them out.  Invite the children to place the cards in the correct life cycle order from the planting of the corn seed to the actual corn.  If desired, the cards can also be used for a matching game:  print several copies of the sequencing cards and cut out.  Have the children place all of the cards face down on the floor.  The game begins by choosing two cards at a time.  If the cards match, then the children keep the cards.  If the two cards do not match, then the cards are turned over and play continues.  The game is over when all matching pairs have been located.


Books about Corn for PreschoolDisclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  To see full disclosures, see the ABOUT section at the top of this blog.

CORN IS MAIZE – The Gift of the Indians by ALIKI

CORN by Gail Gibbons

Corn Up Close by Katie Franks

I Like Corn by Robin Pickering

Three Stalks of Corn by Leo Politi

The Life and Times of Corn by Charles Micucci

Life Cycle Crafts for Preschool





WIKKI STIX PARTS OF A PLANT (free lesson plan)







 Playful Preschool BloggersPlan Your Learning Week with Preschool Activities for the Farm Theme

From the ‪#‎PLAYful‬ Preschool Education Team!

Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Art, Sensory, Songs and MORE!!!!

Farm Animal Letter Sounds by Mom Inspired Life
Learning to Write: Labeling the Farm by Growing Book by Book
Make a Who Am I Farm Animal Book by The Educators’ Spin On It
Corn Life Cycle & Sequencing Cards for Preschool by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
While at the Farm:  Children’s Farm Song by Capri + 3
Farm Animal Counting and Sorting Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s
Farm Themed Count and Add Activity for Preschool by Rainy Day Mum
Corn Painting – An Art Activity for a Preschool Farm Theme by Fun-A-Day!
Preschoolers DIY Farm by Tiny Tots Adventure
Preschool Science: Duck Feather Experiment by Raising Lifelong Learners
Farm Animal Sort by Powerful Mothering
Wash the Farm: Fruits and Vegetable Sensory Play for Preschoolers by The Kennedy Adventures

Preschool Farm Activities and Sensory Play for Math, Science, and Literacy by Little Bins for Little Hands


We would like to extend an invitation to join us tonight 9/17/2014 at 9:00 P.M. EST for a live Google Hangout talking about the activities we are doing with our preschoolers for the farm theme. This hangout will be recorded and able to be viewed at a future date.

Posted in Fruits and Vegetables Theme Activities, PreK, Science, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

My Funny Family: Family Tree Stick Crafts for Preschool! #Playfulpreschool

Family Theme Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Theme Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

MY FUNNY FAMILY – #PlayfulPreschool Family and Heritage Theme for Preschool

This week’s playful preschool theme is:  FAMILY and HERITAGE.  If you’d like to view last week’s APPLES ACTIVITIES, you can view them here.  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, see the ABOUT page at the top of this blog.

My Funny Family is a wonderful book to use for a family preschool theme at home or in the classroom.  The book has “lift the flap” surprises as the children read about different members of this family.  It is a fun and interactive book with rhyming clues that keep the children guessing as they try to determine what family member comes next.  It is definitely worth the $.01 (yes, $.01) to have in your library at school or at home!

Family Tree Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten

 My Family Tree Craft for Preschool

After reading My Funny Family, discuss with the children all the different types of families there are!  Some children live with mom and dad and other children might live with just one parent, an aunt or uncle, or grandparents.  There are many different types of families to celebrate in our world.  Allow time for the children to discuss the members of their own family.  Children LOVE sharing and learning about their own family as well as the families of other children.   It is a great way to connect with preschoolers, create opportunities for language and literacy, and to celebrate differences within families.  After discussions, invite the children to create their own family tree craft to display at home or to make a class book!

Materials needed for the Family Tree Craft:  sticks from outside (or craft sticks), one cardboard tube, poster putty, paint smocks (or old T-Shirts), paint trays (or paper plate), white paper, and any color of tempera paint desired to make your family tree craft.

Prior to painting:  Cut the cardboard tubes (across the tube) to make several ovals.  Pinch the oval shapes at the top and bottom to form a “leaf” (see photo below).  Invite the children to create by placing all supplies out on a table or a large tray.

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

On the white paper, invite the children to use the sticks to create any kind of tree desired.  For convenience, our kids used small pieces of poster putty to adhere the sticks to the paper instead of glue.  The children can then use the cardboard tube leaves to make paint prints on their paper for each member of their family.  Allow the leaf prints to thoroughly dry before labeling the leaves with each family member.

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Some children may wish to add photos to their family tree craft, too!  It is fun to use each child’s family tree to make a book.  Children love looking through the books to find pictures of themselves and of their family members.  It is a great way to encourage early literacy for young kids!


Stick Family Craft for PreschoolWe are FAMILY – We always STICK Together! – We are FAMILY

Discuss with the children how family makes them feel.  Family and home should be a safe-haven for all of its members.   It is a place where we are loved by the members in our family and where we work together as a team for common and individual goals.   Our kids loved creating the stick family craft; it is a nice reminder for young kids that they will have other adults (or older family members) to depend on when the going gets rough!

  Materials needed:   sticks, googly eyes (adhesive backed), ribbon, hole punch, and the printable label (linked above).

Invite the children to gather sticks from outside.  Have the children put two googly eyes on sticks for each member in their immediate family.  The children can tie the sticks up in a bundle with ribbon or yarn.  Invite the children to cut out the label and hole punch the brown dot on the printable above.  The label can then be strung from the ribbon or yarn for a cute craft to accompany your readings and discussions about FAMILY!

MORE Great Books about FAMILY for Preschool:

Books about FAMILY for Preschool and Kindergarten

Books about FAMILY for Preschool and Kindergarten

The Family Book by Todd Parr

Who’s In My Family by Robie H. Harris

Me and My Family Tree by Joan Sweeney

Who’s in a Family by Robert Skutch

All Families Are Special by Norma Simon

Playful Preschool Bloggers

Plan your Family Theme Preschool Activities with these ideas from the Playful Preschool Education Team!

Family Theme Learning Activities: Reading – Writing – Cooking – Sensory – Art – Math

Bookmaking for a Preschool Family Theme from Fun A Day

Finding My Family on a Map from Powerful Mothering

Preschool Writing Activity: Letters to Family from Mom Inspired Life

Cooking with Kids: Family Recipe Books from Growing Book By Book

Our Family Tree: Sorting Family Members from Still Playing School

Family Themed Sensory Bin from Little Bins for Little Hands

Tips for Using Skype to Connect with Family from The Educators’ Spin On It

Family Portraits from Rainy Day Mum

Family Counting from Tiny Tots Adventures

Jamaican Games for Fine and Gross Motor Skills from Learning 2 Walk

Family Footprints from Capri +3

Posted in Literacy, PreK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Apple Theme for #Preschool: Scented Playdough Pre-Writing Activity #PlayfulPreschool

Apple Playdough Pre-Writing Activity

 Apples Theme for #PlayfulPreschool

Fall offers many opportunities for playful learning in preschool.  This fall (and throughout the school year) we will be combining forces with some of the best preschool bloggers to provide hands-on and playful activities designed JUST for YOUR kids!  The #PlayfulPreschool blogging team is working diligently on a variety of learning experiences centered around a weekly theme.  This week’s activities are designed around an APPLES THEME.  Be sure to visit this blog each Wednesday throughout the school year for creative and playful learning suggestions that can be used in the childcare classroom, at home, or at school!

Apple Theme Playdough Writing


Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  Please see our ABOUT page for full disclosures.

Using apple-scented playdough for pre-writing is a fun way to combine fine motor development with sensory learning!  The sense of smell is powerful for children (and adults)!  The fall scents of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon used in the playdough will provide lasting memories for the children.  By inviting preschoolers to use as many of The 5 Senses as possible, parents and educators can offer learning opportunities that will last long after the activity has ended!

OBJECTIVE:   The creation of the apple-scented playdough line paths will encourage the fine motor development necessary for writing through hands-on playful learning.

Materials needed:  Homemade apple playdough (or red commercial playdough and apple pie spice),  large wooden craft sticks, and a permanent marker.  If desired, the children can create the line paths on the APPLE TREE PLAYDOUGH MAT (linked above). Laminate the playdough line path mat for durability or to re-use later.  Note – if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work, too. **If using the commercial playdough, invite the children to press the playdough into a large circle.  Sprinkle the circle with 2 tsp. of apple pie spice.  The children can then fold the circle over (in half) and then knead the dough to distribute the spices.  When the children are finished kneading the playdough, demonstrate for the children how to roll the dough with the palm of their hand to make long playdough worms.  Experiment and practice rolling worms with the scented dough.  The playdough worms will be used to form the line paths when the children are ready for a more challenging task. Line Paths for Preschool 001 Prior to the activity:  Make different line paths with a permanent marker on wooden craft sticks.   Note: the line paths in the photo above are suggestions, but any line path can be used. Invite the children to choose one craft stick at a time and try to copy the pattern (re-create the line path) shown on the craft stick to the apple printable using the spiced playdough worms. Apple scented playdough line paths for preschool


APPLES THEMATIC UNIT – literacy, math, science, large motor, dramatic play, songs/fingerplays, foods and food crafts.  This is an entire preschool theme for apples and includes over 80+ pages of playful learning and activity suggestions.




APPLES ALPHABET MATCHING CARDS – free printable alphabet and numbers



Meet the #PlayfulPreschool Blogging Team:

Playful Preschool Bloggers

Plan your learning week with Preschool Apple Theme Activities from the Playful Preschool Education Team:

SOCIAL STUDIES  From Orchard to Table. Watch and Make  at The Educators’ Spin On It SCIENCE  Examining Apple Parts, How Does It Grow, Sink/Float at Little Bins For Little Hands MUSIC & MOVEMENT Apple Hop at Learning 2 Walk MATH Counting Apples with Preschoolers: Real-Life Math at Life Over C’s Apple Math Fun in Preschool – Tasting and Graphing Apples at Fun-A-Day LITERACY Alphabet Activity: Apple Tree Letter Matching at Mom Inspired Life Alphabet Learning: Apple Stamping at Growing Book by Book Apple-Bet Match : Matching Lowercase with Upper Case Letters at Tiny Tots Adventures SENSORY  Applesauce Dough for Sensory Play at Still Playing School COOKING  How to Make Homemade Apple Pie – Cooking with Preschoolers at Powerful Mothering SCIENCE  Apple Oxidation Experiment at Raising Lifelong Learners CRAFT Paper Plate Apple Craft at The Kennedy Adventures

We would also like to extend an invitation to join in and watch our APPLE THEME Google+ On Air Hangout tonight, September 2 at 9:00 EST. Hope to see you there!
Posted in Apples Theme Activities, Fine Motor Skills for Tiny Fingers, Fruits and Vegetables Theme Activities, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Apple Prints Pinwheel Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft

(Disclaimer:  this post and others within the blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, visit ABOUT US!)

Every fall our Pre-Kindergarten children practice apple coring in the practical life center.  The children core the apples, place the apple slices on a serving tray, and carry the slices around the room serving other children who would like to taste them.  It is a great activity for practicing life skills, tasting a variety of apples, and using good manners.  The children ask their peers, “Excuse me, would you like an apple slice?”  The peers respond with, “Yes, please” or “No, but thank you for offering.”  Apple coring and serving is always one of our favorite fall centers!

Our kids stumbled upon printing with apple slices (instead of printing with apple halves) quite by accident.  One of the children chose to press their apple slice into an ink pad and make a circular pattern with the apple slice instead of eating it.  It was a great print, but we refined the process by making the prints with paint instead.  What you’ll find below is our preschool rendition of an APPLE PRINTED PINWHEEL!

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 003

 Materials needed:  Apples to core, an apple corer – for a good apple corer for young kids, see the bottom of this post (or apples can be cut in slices prior to the activity), paper to make the prints on, red/green/yellow paint, paint trays (or paper plates), old T-shirts (or paint smocks), red, green, and yellow pompoms, poster putty, and seasonal paper straws (for the pinwheel stems).

Invite the children to create by assembling all the supplies at a table.  If the children are coring the apples, demonstrate how to safely hold the corer and how to press down to make the apple slices – NOTE:  remind the children to never put their fingers under the corer, but to hold the HANDLES of the corer ONLY.  Young kids are very proficient at coring apples with guidance, supervision, and a good apple corer!  It is a challenging task for 3’s, but most 4 year olds can safely handle an apple corer to make their own slices.

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 004

To make the apple prints:  Have the children lay the apple slice flat to cover one side of the slice with paint.  For those children who do not like messy painting, a fork can be used to hold the apple slice.  The children should make apple prints in a circular fashion to form the pinwheel shape (see photo below).

apple printing in preschool and kindergarten


Allow the prints to thoroughly dry before adding a paper straw straw for the pinwheel’s stem and a colored pompom for the center (poster putty pieces work better than glue for holding the straws and pompoms in place).

The finished pinwheels are not only fun to make, but they are great fall displays at home or in the classroom!

Note:  We have the Calphalon Apple Corer in our classroom and the grips help keep fingers away from the corer –  Calphalon Easy Grip Apple Slicer.

For more fun crafts and an entire unit designed around an APPLE THEME, please see the APPLES THEMATIC UNIT here on the blog!

Posted in Apples Theme Activities, Fall Theme Activities, Trees and Leaves Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Weather Theme for Preschool – Stained Glass Umbrellas & Sunshine Math

We’ve had over 49 inches of snow so far this winter!  Our preschoolers (and teachers) are anxiously awaiting spring’s arrival!  Just in the last month, we’ve gone from -23 degrees to a stormy 50 degrees outside today!  Our kids can finally see the grass peeking out from beneath all of the melting snow!   To celebrate the warmer temperatures, we made stained glass umbrellas and played with sunshine math.  We hope your children enjoy crafting and learning with us this spring!

Stained Glass Umbrella CraftStained Glass Umbrella Craft – Stained Glass Umbrella Template

Materials needed:  One umbrella template per child or craft (linked above), blue and yellow tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and clear contact paper.

Prior to the craft:  Cut out the umbrella from the template including the hole in the center.  The blue and yellow tissue paper should be cut into squares (see photo above).   Younger children will need assistance with cutting.

When the template and opening is cut, place the umbrella onto a piece of clear contact paper (sticky side up).   Invite the children to use the tissue paper squares to cover the opening in the umbrella.  Once the children are finished, cover the entire umbrella with another sheet of clear contact paper.  Older children can cut the umbrella shape out, but younger children will need assistance.

The stained glass umbrellas make wonderful spring weather crafts to display at home or in the classroom!

SUNSHINE MATH – a roll, count, and cover activity- Sunshine Roll_Count_Cover

Sunshine MathMaterials needed:  One sunshine math printable (linked above) per child, two dice, and bingo dot markers (or small items/manipulatives to cover the numbers).

Invite the children to roll 2 dice, count the number of dots, and cover the corresponding numbered sun with the chosen manipulative (or mark with a bingo dot marker).  When the children have rolled all of the numbers except for the number 1, have the children roll just ONE die until the number 1 is rolled.

For younger children:  Have the children roll only one die to begin the game; it will allow the children to concentrate solely on the numbers 1-6.  As the children gain confidence with counting and number recognition skills, add the second die to work with the numbers 1-12.

Spring Weather ThemeFor more Spring Weather activities for learning and play, see the SPRING WEATHER THEME for Preschool and Kindergarten now available via this blog.

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Fishbowl Counting Mats and Fishy Letters – Ocean Theme for Preschool & Kindergarten!

While we are in the midst of the remnants of our latest snowstorm, some of our preschool friends around the world are enjoying summer weather! Regardless of the weather outside, young children can enjoy playing and learning with Ocean-Themed activities!

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Counting Mats – Fishbowl Math Mats

Materials needed:  Fishbowl Math Mats – linked above (as many as desired for your group of students), blue tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and goldfish crackers.

Print off the Fishbowl Math Mats for any numbers the children are working on or have had introduced.  There are templates for numbers 1-20 (plus one blank one to label with any number desired).

Invite the children to glue blue tissue paper squares to the bottom of the fishbowl to resemble water in the bowl.  If desired, the children can color the fishbowl or use blue watercolors to paint the fishbowl.

Give each child a small container of fish-shaped crackers.   The children should count out the number of crackers that correspond to the fishbowl’s number and place them on the mat.  For younger children, introduce smaller numbers first (such as 1-5). For older children who are ready for more challenging numbers, 11-20 may be more appropriate. Older children can also use the mats to practice basic addition and subtraction skills.

Note:  If you do not have fish-shaped crackers, any ocean-shaped manipulatives or available counters can be used.

Fishy Letter Writing

Fishy Letter Writing

FISHY LETTERS – Fishy Letter Writing

Materials needed: Fishy Letter Writing.pdf – linked above (1 or 2 per child), crayons, alphabet stamps/stamp pads, or markers.

There are various ways to use the Fishy Letters file.  In each case, students can write or copy letters into the blue oxygen bubble next to each fish. Below are different ways students can do this activity:

1. Students can try to write the corresponding lower case letter next to each fish.

2. Students can copy the letter on the fish and write the matching upper case letter

3. Students can use a letter stamp to stamp the corresponding lower case or upper case  letter.

4. Students can trace the appropriate letters.

5. There are two completed worksheets for students to use. The third page of the pdf file is left intentionally blank to use with any letters the children are working on.

The activities above are just two activities offered in our Ocean Theme!  There are 7 PowerPoints, a 42 page manual with suggested literacy, math, science, art, large motor, and all accompanying pdf files to print for the activities. 

For alphabet stamps, stamp pads, and other supplies to use with the Ocean Theme Activities, see RESOURCES and SUPPLIES here on the blog!

Disclosure:  The Preschool Toolbox is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.





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Patriotic Activities for Kids to Celebrate the 4th of July!

Children adore special celebrations!  It is a time for family and friends to come together and create special memories.  In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July each year!  

Our children love learning with Patriotic Theme Activities in anticipation of the 4th of July! Below you will find suggestions to help make your celebrations special, too!

Sensory Firecracker Craft

Download and print the Firecracker Template here.   Have the children cut out the firecrackers (assist younger children or cut out prior to the activity).  Set out a variety of textured items that the children can use to decorate the firecracker.  Some suggestions:  colored sand/rice/pasta, felt, pompoms, cornmeal, oatmeal, feathers, tissue paper, or paper scraps.

In the photo above, our kids used Patriotic colors of Wikki Stix to make the firecrackers.  The child who made the featured firecracker choose to add the “sparks” coming out of the tail!

Extension idea:  Create the firecrackers by making each one with a different texture. Place the firecrackers under a large blanket or towel and have students feel each fire cracker one at a time and try to guess what material(s) are on the firecracker.  Children should only use their sense of touch for this activity and try not to peek under the cover. For younger children, you may want to have samples of each of the materials that were used so the children can point to the material(s) they are feeling.

The firecracker crafts make great displays at home or in the classroom!

PATRIOTIC PRE-WRITING – Patriotic Pre-Writing

Download and print one Patriotic Pre-Writing Mat (linked above) for each child.  Tell the children the goal is to make a path for the star to get to the flag.  Allow the children to experiment making any paths desired.   In the photo above, our children used Wikki Stix to make the various paths.  The children can also use markers/crayons to make the paths, but the Wikki Stix will add a layer of sensory/fine motor depth to the activity.


Materials needed:  Assorted colors of  Wikki Stix and red/white/blue pony beads.

Set out trays of Wikki Stix and the 3 colors of pony beads.  Demonstrate for the children how to make a simple ABC pattern with the pony beads by placing the 3 colors of beads onto the Wikki Stix.  Say the colors out loud as they are placed on the Wikki Stix.   Remind the children that a pattern repeats itself; ask the children if they know what color of bead should be placed on the sample pattern stick next?  Build an ABC pattern row on the sample Wikki Stix together with your children.  Ask the children to say the names of the colors as they are placed on the sample pattern stick.

Extension idea:  have the children make Patriotic bracelets/bands to wear after patterning!

Children will be delighted when they grasp the idea of patterning!  Soon the children will begin pointing out patterns that exist in their world.  If you have a chance to view a fireworks display, ask the children if they can find any patterns in the fireworks they see!

Extra Patriotic Resources:

Check out other Fabulous Patriotic Activities, Crafts, and Play Ideas for Kids:

Wikki Stix “No Candy” Treat Bags for Kids

Patriotic Salt Dough Ornament Craft by Early Childhood News

Patriotic Colored Ice Sensory Play by Fun-a-Day

Patriotic Montessori Ball Transfers with Ping Pong Balls and Golf Balls by Living Montessori Now

DIY Personalized Family Picture Bingo Cards – great fun to play with family and friends by eighteen25


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Stop the “Summer Slide” with Fun Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Beach Theme Counting Practice (Instructions Below)

Children love to visit the BEACH! The activities offered below are wonderful extension lessons to do after a trip to the beach (or the chance to explore a beach theme if a visit to the beach is not possible.) The beach theme suggestions below are designed for children in Preschool or Kindergarten, but are adaptable for children of differing skill levels.

Road Trip FUN with Wikki Stix

Shara at Mommy Perks has some great ROAD TRIP suggestions for families!  Check out her post if you are taking a trip to the beach (or anywhere!) this summer!

FUN items to look for at the BEACH!

Beach Scavenger Hunt – Beach Items

Print the beach items and laminate for each of the children.  At the beach, have the children look to find each of the items.  The scavenger hunt is a fun game to reinforce letters/words at the beach.  How many of the items can your child find?   If it is not possible to go to the beach, let the children look through books/magazines to locate each of the beach items in the file.  There is a great list of beach-themed books located in the EXTRA RESOURCES section at the end of this post.

Extension Games to Play:  for older children, cut the word and picture cards apart.  Have the children work to match the word with the corresponding picture.  For younger children, print two copies of the beach items file above.  Cut the strips apart and place each strip face down on a table or the floor.  Have the children play a memory game by turning two strips over at a time to see if they match.  If the strips do not match, both strips are tuned face down and play continues to the next child.  The game is over when all strips have been matched.

Beach Theme Counting (pictured above)

Materials needed:  Small beach-themed counters/shells, beach-themed plastic cupcake flags, homemade or commercial playdough, and a dry erase marker (to label the cupcake flags).

Label several plastic cupcake flags with any number the children have had introduced.  Have the children roll large balls from playdough and then flatten to a “pancake-shape” on a table or playdough mat.  Have the children place one labeled cupcake flag on each of the playdough shapes.  The children must then press the corresponding number of beach-themed counters into the playdough shape.  The children will love playing with the playdough and beach-themed objects!  It is a great way to PLAY with one-to-one correspondence and retain basic counting skills over the summer.

Beach-themed Patterning

Beach Patterning – Blank Pattern Strips

Materials needed:  Small Beach-themed items/seashells and the blank pattern strips (linked above).

Print the blank pattern strips above for each child.  Set out an assortment of beach-themed items or seashells for the children to use.  For very young children, start an AB pattern on the blank pattern strips and see if they can finish the row. Young children might also copy a complete pattern row that has been done for them. For older children, have them make more complex patterns without using the pattern strips.

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten – Sunshine Math

Materials needed:  Sunshine Math file (linked above), permanent or dry erase marker to label the flags, Wikki Stix, and 1-4 dice.

Print the Sunshine Math file for each child and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work).   Cut out each of the suns in the file and label with a number the children have had introduced.   Place each labeled sun on top of a Wikki Stix to make a numbered flag.   Arrange the flags in a random order on a mat or a table top.  Have the children roll 1-4 dice.  As the children roll the dice, they must count the dots and remove the corresponding numbered sun flag,  The game is over when all sun flags have been removed.

Flip Flop Craft for Kids

Wikki Stix Flip Flop Zipper Pull Craft for Kids

Materials needed:  Two colors of Wikki Stix and scissors (safety scissors will work).

Have the children make a spiral shape from two strands of the same color of Wikki Stix (this shape becomes the bottom of the flip flop).  The children can cut two small pieces of Wikki Stix from the second color to make top portion of the flip flop (^).   Our kids made zipper pulls for their backpacks by attaching a small craft circle to the back of the Wikki Stix flip flops.  It’s a fun summer craft for the kids to make!

Oyster and Pearl Cookie Craft

For MORE Beach Activities including food crafts and Seashell games, visit EXPLORING THE BEACH at Squidoo!   

Extra BEACH Resources to check out!

13 Books about the Beach 

Scented Homemade Playdough with Jello

Recipe for Play Sand

20 Nature Related Beach Activities for the Whole Family

Beach-themed Sensory Table

Sandy Handprint Keepsake Beach Craft

Seashell Crab Craft for Kids

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Wet Chalk Kite Crafts and Learning Games for Young Kids!

The wet chalk kite crafts are a fun activity to do indoors or outside this spring.  The kites make a great craft to display, but the bow activities will also enhance early math and literacy skills.   

Wet Chalk Kites

Materials needed:  One square piece of paper for each child, chalk (drawing chalk works best for this activity, but sidewalk chalk can be used), any color of Wikki Stix, and small cups (for water).

Have the children use the Wikki Stix to make any design desired on the white paper (see photo above).  The children should choose several colors of chalk to use on each of the sections of the kite.

The children can then dip the chalk into the cups of water (the water will make the colors brilliant).   The children can color each of the sections as desired.  The Wikki Stix will keep each colored section of the kites separated.

When finished coloring each section, the children can remove the Wikki Stix and allow the kites to thoroughly dry.

When the chalk kites have dried, the children can make kite strings by attaching a long strand of Wikki Stix to the bottom of the kite.

Learning Activities to Accompany the Kite Crafts

Bows Template – Kite Bow Template

The Kite Bows file (linked above) can be used in many ways to enhance learning with young children when combined with the wet chalk kite crafts above.

HINT:  Laminate the kites after drying and use a dry erase marker for some of the learning game suggestions below.  The bows can also be laminated for use with the different games, too.

CVC Words – print the bows file and label each bow with  different vowels.  Label one of the kites with two letters (for ex:  C _ t).  The children must then find a bow that could be used to make a word.  In this example, the children would find a bow labeled with the letter “a” to make the word Cat.  **The bows will adhere to the Wikki Stix kite “string” so no glue will be necessary.

Sight Words – label the kites and bows with any sight words the children have had introduced.  Place all the bows face down on a table or the floor and have the children find the bows that match the words on each of the kites.  We have also used the kites for word families (see -ar word family kite pictured below).

Names – have the children write or stamp the bows with the letters that make up their names.

Patterning – label each of the kites with a pattern the children have had introduced:  AB, ABC, AABB, etc.  The children can then use the different colors of bows to create patterns on the Wikki Stix kite strings.

Numbers – label the kites with different numbers the children are working on.  The children must place the number of bows on the kite string that corresponds to the number on the kite.  Addition/Subtraction:  label the kites with a simple addition or subtraction problem.  The bows should be labeled with the sum to the problem.

Letter Recognition:  label the kites with an uppercase letter(s) and the bows with a lowercase letter(s).  The children must find the matching letters and place them on the kite string.

Color Recognition:  print two copies of the bows and place 2 or 3 colored bows on one of the kites.  The children must find the matching colored bows and place them on the kite string.  For older children, label the kites with a color WORD and have the children place the corresponding bow on the kite string.

Additional Crafting – the kite bow file also contains an additional paper bow template.  Our older kids used the template with Wikki Stix to make paper bows.

We hope your kids enjoy the kite craft and the kite bow extension games this spring!  If you have additional suggestions for games, please leave us a comment below to share with others!

For MORE Spring Theme Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten, we have ready- made theme activities to download and print here on the blog!






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Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Do you plan on visiting the beach with your preschoolers this summer?  The beach offers a wide variety of fun and learning experiences for kids!  Even if you don’t live near one, the beach theme activities below will help your children explore, play, and learn!

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Math Activities – Blank Sand Pails

Materials needed:  One Blank Sand Pails Template (linked above) and assorted shells or other beach-themed counters (suggestions:  miniature umbrellas, rocks, or beach-themed stickers).

Print the sand pail template to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse (when laminated, the numbers can be made with a dry erase marker and changed as often as necessary.)   Write any numbers on the sand pails that have been introduced to your children.  Have the children practice one-to-one correspondence by placing the same number of shells (or other suggested counters) on the sand pails.

Extensions for older children:  Use larger numbers on the sand pails or have the children practice basic addition and subtraction.  For elementary children, the sand pails can be used for multiplication and division facts, too.

Literacy Extension:  Write letters on the sand pails and have the children find real beach-related objects or pictures from magazines that correspond to the letters on the sand pails. For example:  Write the letters F and G on the sand pails.  The children must then look for a picture or an object that begins with the letters F and S (flip flops, fish, fishing pole or starfish, sand dollar, and sun).

Describing Sea Shells – Describing Seashells

Materials needed:  One Describing Sea Shells Game Board pdf file (linked above)
Assorted sea shells, counters or plastic counting chips

Print the game boards for each of the children and laminate for durability. Give each child a game board and 9 counters or shells to use as markers on the squares. An adult begins by physically describing one of the shells on the game board. For example: I am round, white, and have a star in the middle (Sand Dollar). The children then find that shell on the game board and cover that square with one of their counters or shells. Continue the game until all the squares on the game board are covered.

Extension for older children: Have the older children take turns describing the shells for their peers or for the younger children.

“Shark” Cookie Food Craft for Kids – Shark Cookie Food Craft

Materials needed:  Any butter or sugar cookie, craft sticks or plastic knives, scissors, blue tube cookie frosting (or white frosting tinted blue with food coloring, and the Shark fin template linked above.

Print the shark fins to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse them.   Have the children spread the blue frosting on the cookie with a craft stick or plastic knife (supervise younger children if using knifes for safety.)   Have the children cut out one shark fin per cookie and place the triangle on top of the cookie to resemble a shark.  These are simple and FUN treats to make with the children during your beach theme lessons.

For more FREE Resources for your Beach Theme, visit us on Squidoo!


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Spring and the 5 Senses: Activities for Preschool!

Spring is a magical time for kids!  After the winter, everything begins anew!  Take your kids outside and watch for signs of Spring’s arrival.  Observations over the course of only a week can provide the children with great fun and many learning experiences about Spring and the 5 senses!

Spring Nature Walks – Nature Walk Record Sheet 

Materials needed: 1 nature walk record sheet.pdf per child, 1 clipboard per child, crayons or markers. Take your students outside on a nature walk so they can use their sense of sight to find and record the items listed on the worksheet. As each child finds one of the items, they can circle or cross off the item from their list. When you return back home or to the classroom, discuss the things the children found (compare and contrast the items that each of the children found.) One child may not have seen a tree, but others may have.  See if the children can recall what kind of items they found. For example, one child may have crossed off the vehicle after seeing a blue car. Another child may have seen a red van. This activity can lead to a large follow-up discussion.

Extension: Depending on the season and your location, your students might be able to find different items or objects. Use the blank record sheet to write, draw, or glue pictures from magazines of things you want your students to find.

What can your children HEAR?  Have the children close their eyes and try to determine what they hear when outside on nature walks!  Turn up your speakers and close your eyes…listen carefully, what do you hear in the video clip below?

Rain Sticks

Set out an assortment of beans, rice, and small items in containers. Ask parents for assistance in gathering enough toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for each child to make a rain stick. Have the children decorate the tubes with markers, crayons, fabric strips, collage materials, etc. (seal one end of the toilet paper roll with wax paper (doubled-over for strength) and a rubber band prior to setting out for the children.) Have the children fill or spoon beans, rice, and/or small items (beads, shells, etc.) into the tubes until they are approximately two-thirds full. When done filling the tubes, help the children seal the final end of the tube with wax paper (again, doubled-over) and a rubber band.

Extension idea: Have the children bring the rain sticks to circle/carpet time and listen for the different sounds they make. Is one rain stick softer or louder than the others? Do they really sound like rain or something else?

Have the children gather several items in a bag.  Bring the items inside to help the children explore the items with their sense of touch.  What do the items FEEL like?  Help the children brainstorm words that describe what they are feeling.  Are the items rough, smooth, bumpy, scratchy, itchy, soft, hard, scaly, etc.?  Glue the different items on a poster board and write the descriptive words underneath each of the items found.

What do your children SMELL on the nature walks?  Again, have the children close their eyes and use their sense of smell to find things in nature.  Collect a variety of items to have the children smell (some suggestions:  tree bark, grass, flowers, berries).  Go outside after a spring rain and ask the children to describe what they smell.  Brainstorm words that describe different smells – fresh, musty, moldy, woodsy, etc.

Make a Spring Senses Sensory Bin where the children can explore items from your nature walks.  Set out magnifying glasses, tweezers, rocks, twigs, paper or real flowers, dirt, different textured ribbons, and grasses in a large bin or drawer.  Let the children explore different items using their senses of touch, smell, sight, and hearing.  *Watch for children with seasonal or other allergies as tree bark, flowers, and grasses (among other items in nature) can make allergies worsen.

Umbrella Snacks for Spring

Set out apple slices, banana slices, chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows, and cheese sticks for the children.  Post a picture of an umbrella and have the children try to use the snack materials to make an umbrella.  Have the children describe the TASTE of their umbrellas (are they crunchy, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.)  It is a fun activity for snack time and the children will amaze you with their creations!

For More Activities for Spring and Spring Weather, see the Spring Weather Theme here on the blog!


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The 5 Senses Activities in Preschool: Exploring Spring Weather!

Children love to learn about the weather!  When exploring Spring weather, children have many opportunities to explore with these 5 senses activities!

Sight – Whats_the_Weather_Like

Observe the weather outside each day!

What is the weather outside TODAY?  Look in the newspaper each day and at the weather map in the paper (the children can also visit http://www.weather.com.)  Show the children how to tell where it will rain, snow, storm, or be sunny.  Save the week’s forecast from the newspaper for your city and compare it with the actual weather each day. Was the weather prediction in the paper correct? Have the children predict what the weather will be like tomorrow? Write down or graph what the children predict? See if they are right!

Smell  – RainbowPrintingPaper

Ask your children if they can SMELL the weather?  Take your children outside for a walk to experience the smells in nature after different types of weather (suggestions for things to smell:  tree bark, leaves, rain collecting in different areas, flowers, rocks, grasses, weeds, etc.)  *Note:  children with seasonal allergies should avoid smelling different weeds/flowers especially during the Spring*  Discuss with your children different ways to describe what they smell.  Have the children copy, stamp, or write a descriptive word (or words) onto the rainbow paper (linked above) after each of your  walks.

Scented Word Suggestions:

Bad Good Fruity
Stinky Sweet Woodsy
Yucky Yummy Perfumed
Earthy Sharp Musty
Spicy Fresh Sour

Hearing – Weather Sounds

Set out different items that could be used to make the sounds that nature makes. Set out a cookie sheet, pots, utensils, &/or storage containers and have the children make thunder with their hands.  Set out a pie tin and a cup with rice.  Have the children pour the rice into the pie plate making rain sound.  Have the children make sounds for each other. You might also have the children close their eyes while sounds are being made. What type of weather does it sound like? Make up some weather sounds of your own. You might also use shoes, paper towel tubes to blow through, beans for hail, etc.


Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Materials needed:  Blue, black, and yellow construction paper and blue tempera paint.

Use blue construction paper and invite the children to finger paint with blue tempera paint for the background of the “storm” (it is fun to add texture to the paint by adding cornmeal before finger painting).  Have the children tear (or cut) a large black “cloud” from black construction paper and lay it over the blue paint (the blue paint will act as glue so none is necessary.)  The children can then cut or tear yellow rectangles from construction paper and lay them length-wise under the black cloud. The thunderstorm now has lightning.  The storm pictures make great crafts to display at home or in the classroom during the spring!

Taste – Raindrop and Cloud Cups

Make a weather-themed snack with your kids.  Have the children layer blueberries (raindrops) and clouds (whipped topping) in individual bowls for a fun and easy snack. Serve with graham crackers and milk for a tasty and nutritional snack!

For more Spring Weather Resources, see the Spring Weather Thematic Unit here on the blog!


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