Sunday, November 12, 2017

Family Pumpkin Fun!

Is it too late to talk about pumpkins? 
We love this time of year! This time before Advent but after Summer when the weather is nearly perfect and the days are just long enough... it has always felt to me like the focus is really on family from late September to early November. Maybe it's because celebrating Halloween is such a big event in my family, maybe it's because we homeschool and by the end of September we've really hit our stride, maybe it's just the smell of pumpkin spice in the air.

Whatever it is, Mother Goose Time wiggled it's way into our family fun at the pumpkin patch this year! As most of you know, we have been blogging with Mother Goose Time in exchange for receiving their school bus box of fun each month. Opening our October box revealed a surprise: Mother Goose Time provides special holiday activity plans & supplies for celebrating & educating at the same time.

Every year, we take our children to a local farm, Bush-n-Vine in York, and let them participate in all things pumpkin for the day (including choosing their own "perfect pumpkins" from the patch).  
This year, Noah trekked all over the patch hunting down a small, perfectly round, dark orange pumpkin (that's how he described the perfect pumpkin). 

The kids also had fun playing in the tunnel slide, bouncing in the inflatables, and swinging. Their favorite part, as always, was the hay ride out to the patch! Although, this year's new addition: a sand-box style corn crib with buckets and shovels was a big hit too!

This year, we followed up our pumpkin hunting festivities with a game & a craft from Mother Goose Time.  As the kids shredded orange construction paper to fill their paper bag "pumpkins," we discussed what they thought was inside our real pumpkins. 
[Later, as we carved our largest pumpkin, the kids got to explore real pumpkin insides.]
In this way, Noah and Ada Grace got a touch of science mixed with art & family fun together. In the end, they were so proud of their paper pumpkins that each earned a spot on the porch steps!

It can be hard to find games to play as a family that entertain our almost five year old without being too challenging for our two year old to participate. Thankfully, Mother Goose time to the rescue again with Pin the Patch on the Scarecrow game. We played three times! We all laughed as we took turns covering our eyes and attempting to "pin" patch cutouts to our scarecrow poster. Even Noah, my perfectionist child, laughed out loud after he mistakenly pinned a patch to the scarecrow's nose!

Finally, we ended the night by carving a giant pumpkin together with grandparents and baking the seeds with our favorite seasoning (we like season salt or old bay on our pumpkin seeds).  Noah chose the design (can you guess what it is?) and Ada Grace got totally grossed out by the pumpkin "guts," but she cheered us on as we cleaned out our pumpkin. Finally, both kids proudly watched from the porch as we lit our Jack-o-lantern for the first time. 

It was a wonderful family celebration! All three generations: the kids, my husband and I, and "MeMaw" and "PapPap" had fun together learning and celebrating. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Learning about Lily Pads with Little Goose

This morning, while the kids were finishing their breakfast, I started setting up a fun math activity from Mother Goose Time. By the time they were done with their eggs, I was ready to teach them about lily pads, logic, and scientific reasoning. 
We receive our Mother Goose Time curriculum and the Little Goose teacher guide supplement for free in exchange for sharing our journey on the blog. Today I'd love to share our adapted Little Goose lesson about lily pads.

I got creative with our first activity and decided to put them in the bath tub. The children immediately jumped in for Floating Lily Pads, an activity that promises to build scientific reasoning skills and listening comprehension.
I gave each child a paper plate "lily pad" to float in the water. Then, I gave them water beads, small rocks, and plastic blocks. Here's a picture of our "supplies."

The children were encouraged to explore using the different items to sink their lily pads. We talked about which objects are heavy (rocks) and which are light (water beads). They also explored numbers as we discussed how many blocks or rocks were needed to sink a lily pad. The answer is 4 rocks just in case you were wondering.
[I wish I had more pictures of this fun activity, but it so happens that when you show my children a bath tub... they immediately take off all their clothes and hop in!]

Next, we dried off and went to the table for a fun visual art Make & Play activity where we practiced fine motor skills by making our own lotus flowers.  I explained to the children that lily pads are actually lotus flower leaves and asked them to use the tools they had been given (paper plates, cupcake liners, markers, crayons, and glue sticks) to make their own lotus flowers resting on lily pads.
Ada Grace did a great job manipulating the glue and crayons. She kept repeating "Green! Green!" as she colored. Noah thought carefully about how he wanted to stack and glue his cupcake liners and the result was really cute.

Then, I showed the children their new My Little Journals for November. The Little Goose guide suggested the children draw lily pads on the cover and focus on making circles and counting them. Instead, my kids insisted on drawing their own versions of a rainforest with lots of shades of green.
I brought back the focus by having them count out loud with me while they worked.
Finally, we finished our little goose day with Wiggle & Giggle (a song about the layers of the rainforest) and Cuddle & Snuggle. My kids always have a great time dancing to the Mother Goose Time songs. Today, they especially enjoyed snuggling with me to say the letters of their name and get extra cuddles. With a new baby on the way, these little moments cuddled together are precious to me and my babies.