Preschool @ Home :: Happy Fall Y’all Part 1

In my past life {also known as before founding Houston Moms Blog}, I taught elementary education for eight beautiful years.  I started off teaching special education to kinder through fifth graders…and then I moved down to just teaching the primary grades…and then I found my home in early childhood education.  I fell in love with the arts and crafts projects and the silly songs and the constant need for hands on learning.  It was exactly where I needed to be…until I had kiddos of my own.

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Now I spend my days at home with them, and although I would not have it any other way – I also miss teaching deeply.  Because as most of you probably know, you can take the teacher out of the school, but no matter what you do…you just cannot take the school out of the teacher!  So now I am trying my hardest to combine the two.  Trying to be a fun loving mom who {sometimes} flies by the seat of her pants, but who also incorporates lots of learning along the way.  Some days we win, some days we lose, but we try to make the best out of every day!  So join us as we embark on preschool at home…in our pajamas {or lack thereof!}…together…just me and my babes!!

Preschool at Home - Fall Part 1

Book :: We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger

I always like to start off with a book, and this is one of my favorites for the fall season!  My littles piled into my lap, and we read each page and talked about the changing colors of the leaves.  {Especially helpful since we don’t get to see much of this here in Houston!}  I asked questions about the story, and Hayes loved naming the colors and doing hand motions as I read.  My favorite part?  The repetitive nature.  By the end of the book, he was reading right along with me!

Skills – increasing focus, listening, building language, identifying colors, investigating seasons, pre-reading skills, print concepts, reading comprehension, retelling

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Arts & Crafts :: Fall Tree

Materials

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Directions

1.  As soon as I sat them down at the table, they went crazy.  Seriously – it was like they had never seen markers and paper before.  {I promise they totally have!}  The toddler made a mad grab for the scissors {obviously!} while the baby started searching for things to shove in her mouth {shocker!}.

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2.  Okay, crowd control complete.  Now, we can begin.  And first up – writing names on each of their papers.  Obviously, Hadley only wanted to try and eat the marker needed quite a bit of help, but Hayes wanted to do it “all by self.”  He successfully wrote the letter H, and then I used hand-over-hand and described my motions to help him do the rest.

3.  After that it was time for the toddler’s favorite part – paper snipping.  I modeled how to make snips to create grass on Hadley’s green strip of paper, helped him get the scissors on his hand correctly, then let him go to town on his own strip.  The snips were far from perfectly spaced and ended up going all around the paper…but he was so prideful of his work, so who am I to try to complain?

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4.  Then it was time for my favorite part – tracing and cutting out those sweet little hands and arms.  I love any projects that will help me remember how teeny tiny they once were, so you will see lots of handprints and footprints in my arts and crafts!

5.  Time to glue it all together!  I like to man the glue while the toddler puts the paper on.  Works for us with minimum mess.  Score!

6.  Last step was the most important…the leaves!  As we stamped away with the red, orange, and yellow Do A Dot Markers, we talked about how the leaves will soon be changing colors and the temperature outside will be getting cooler.

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…and by the time our conversation was done, so were our fall trees.  Voila!

Skills – fine motor control, creativity, self-expression, writing, letter formation, identifying colors, investigating seasons, recreating stories

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Cooking :: Edible Fall Trees

Ingredients

  • Thin Rounds Sandwich Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pretzel Twists…or Rods…or Sticks…
  • M&M’s {the MOST important ingredient of all!}

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Directions

1.  Once again, I got everything set up at the table…put the kiddos down…and they went bananas!  Hayes got the jar of peanut butter open in 2.5 seconds flat.  Hadley shoved the entire bag of M&M’s into her mouth.  And I just snapped away for a minute before stopping them in their tracks.

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2.  Okay, enough of that.  We started by smearing the peanut butter over one half of a thin round.  And in true toddler fashion, the boy had to do this step “all by self” before finally caving and asking for a little help.  And since the baby isn’t quite ready for peanut butter, we skipped that step on her tree.

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3.  All trees need a trunk, so we slapped gently set down a pretzel rod next.

4.  Time for the M&M’s….I mean, leaves.  Only red, yellow, orange, and brown on these trees though!  The green ones quickly got eaten up as we talked about how those were {supposed to} fall off the trees during this season.  {This bag conveniently didn’t have any blue ones in it – but if they did, we probably would have giggled and talked about how leaves aren’t usually blue!}

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5.  And just like that – the fall tree was complete!  And it was time to eat!!

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Skills – counting, identifying shapes, comparisons, sorting, fostering independence, healthy eating habits, identifying colors, investigating seasons, recreating stories

Song ::

Lately, Hayes has been SUPER into singing songs.  We sing them all. the. time.  Songs about the weather, songs about bugs, songs about…everything!  So I decided to capitalize on this and introduce him to a fun fall song that I used to sing with my students every year.  It goes a little something like this…

“The Leaves are Falling Down”

Tune :: “Farmer in the Dell”

The leaves are falling down.

The leaves are falling down.

Red, yellow, orange, and brown,

The leaves are falling down!

And just for fun, we sang and danced around to this one a few hundred times too…

“Scarecrow, Scarecrow”

Tune :: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

Scarecrow, scarecrow, turn around.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms up high.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, wink one eye.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend your knees.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, flap in the breeze.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, lay in bed.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head.

Skills – music and movement, gross motor skills, following directions, rhyming, identifying colors, investigating seasons

So what do you think?  Ready to try doing some preschool at home with your little ones?  Of course you are!  So be sure to use the handy-dandy ‘Pin It’ buttons on each picture to save these ideas for later or click on one of the Shareaholic buttons below to tell all of your friends what you’ll be up to.  And then be sure to come back tomorrow because Jenn is sharing even MORE fun books and activities to bring fall to life with your little ones.  And if you have fun ideas – we’d love to give them a whirl too!  Link up or share them in the comments below.

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4 Responses to Preschool @ Home :: Happy Fall Y’all Part 1

  1. Avatar
    Chelsea November 5, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    All of this is so awesome Kelly! Thank you so much for sharing! I love the fall so all of these ideas get me giddy!

    • Avatar
      Kelly D November 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Thanks, Chelsea! I LOVE fall too…but I guess that is pretty obvious! 😉

  2. Avatar
    Heather M November 8, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    What cute ideas!

  3. Avatar
    Jessica September 23, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Great ideas Kelly! Too cute! I’ll be making these with my kiddos this weekend 🙂

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