I love October! There are so many amazing things happening in nature that are a perfect fit for natural and play-based learning for preschoolers. The kids are painting pumpkins, gathering leaves and acorns, and doing a little fall gardening. Before the first frost is the time to plant one of Ladybug’s favorite flowers, purple irises! The number of activities and guided play that parents can offer their children is overwhelming. Thank goodness Mother Goose Time (MGT) makes the play based learning part of our day incredibly easy. We just started a new unit for this month, “In the Orchard.” The first week is focused on the Life Cycle of a Tree. Day 1 is dedicated to learning more about and playing with seeds. Below is our day of activities with Mother Goose Time!
As always, we start our day with MGT updating our calendar and checking weather. This month’s calendar features apples and trees. We sang a simple song about a tiny seed and colored an acorn using one of the free coloring sheets from the online resources. I love that the coloring sheets provide key words in both Spanish and English. It’s an effective, but simple way to build the kids’ language skills.
Using a small paper plate, crayons, glue, and some little black seeds we created an apple core. We talked about what tree seeds look like and looked at a variety of seeds and seed pods that the kids had collected during some free play outdoor time. We grouped the seeds into stacks of 3 and then colored and glued all the pieces together. This simple craft focusing on visual arts and number concepts was a lot of fun and turned out really cute. We displayed it on our fall themed buffet table.
Ladybug had a fabulous time working on her fine motor skills and counting seeds with a “Seed Counting Game.” The game board came with two sides; one side featured the appropriate number of circles for each number to help guide placement of the correct number of seeds, whereas the other side offered more of a challenge with only a number and no circles. We started on the side with numbers, which she completed so quickly and so well that we also attempted the opposite side.
The more challenging side she completed with some assistance. She identified the number and then counted the number of seeds to place in the square. I had her double check her counting, whether right or wrong, and assisted when necessary. We also started some basic addition and subtraction. For instance, she had placed six seeds for the number five, so we were able to discuss what needed to be done to change the square from six seeds to five. She is slowly starting to understand the concepts of more versus less (6 is more than five) and to get five, when you have six you take one away. I have a feeling we will be using this simple game/concept at dinner for quite some time. We have been known to count grapes, nuts, sweetener packets, etc.
The letters for this month are Aa, Oo, and Rr. Using the hands-on letters provided by MGT, Ladybug filled in each letter with seeds. She was able to correctly identify all the letters, both upper and lowercase. We really haven’t done much with tracing or writing letters yet, focusing primarily on recognition, so I wrote her name on a name tag and had her use some letter tiles to find the corresponding letters and spell her name. She thought this was great and she did really well. We will repeat this activity, slowly adding more letters that are not in her name and extra letters that are in her name to make it more challenging. My hope is that this will naturally instill a desire to want to learn how to write her own name. Right now, she mostly likes to “pretend write” grocery lists when heading to the store 🙂
Physical Science and Fine Motor
We set up a seed science station and the let the kids explore a collection of seeds using a magnifying glass. We then sorted the seeds by type into a ice cube container using both fingers and forceps. Finally, we dissected an apple and counted the number of seeds we found inside the apple core; seven!
Our closing reflection was discussing what other items grow from a seed. Ladybug listed apples, pumpkins, sunflowers, trees, etc. She was also able to describe the process that is needed for a seed to grow including the provision of dirt, sun, and water. As an added bonus, we then enjoyed eating the apple! We are loving fall and loving this unit!
Are you home schooling a preschooler?
I’m looking to connect with other parents who are homeschooling preschool and I’d love to hear from you!
As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.