Toddler Lesson: Pumpkins

Our first homeschooling lesson with friends last week was a success! My son Kai is one month away from hitting 2.5 years old, and I began to realize the importance of social interaction along with a structured form of learning and playing.

After a few failed attempts of teaching my toddler the alphabet at home on my own, I started talking with other moms and seeking some online resources for guidance and inspiration.

And, finally after speaking with a few of my mommy friends who I met at the library, I really got motivated and started developing a toddler curriculum during my recent trip.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Every Wednesday morning, for about an hour, I teach and direct play! That first day, we welcomed two of Kai’s friends to our house! They are both very close in age. The little boy is one month older than Kai and the little girl is three months younger than him. All the kids have their own personalities, which makes the class challenging yet educational. Everyone gets to show his or her strongpoints and they can learn a great deal from each other!

Lesson Plan and Poster

Below is my lesson plan. It’s a FREE PDF DOWNLOAD of PUMPKIN LESSON PLAN.

So feel free to view, download, and print at home!  I have included the sources I have used in the file, and additional resources will be listed in the Resources section of this post.

Pumpkins Lesson Plan

Here was my toddler homeschooling lesson poster:)

homeschooling a toddler pumpkin lesson poster board

As you may notice, it was a lot to cover! I ended up having to make an adjustment mid-way through the lesson and eliminated the life cycle of a pumpkin because it just didn’t seem like it was going to grab the kids’ attention.

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Water Activities

This one is a picture of the pumpkin washing station where I filled a large plastic bin with some warm water and added some brushes for the kids to clean off the dirt from the pumpkin. We did this activity indoors so I ended up putting a towel underneath the tub, but you could easily bring the classroom outdoors too!

In my mind, this teaches the toddlers to focus on cleaning something, and it demonstrates the importance of helping and working together to complete chores.

pumpkin washing and cleaning station for toddlers

To the right of my son you may also notice another plastic bin. This one was used to demonstrate the concepts of sink or float?! We first saw this activity in an episode of Blippi!  My son absolutely loves watching his educational videos. I think Blippi is very enthusiastic and definitely captures the attention of my little one. I enjoy watching Blippi with my son in small doses:)

Anyways, when I introduced sink or float to the kids, they automatically began putting all the objects into the water and their goal was to play. This was perfectly fine because it was getting their attention and it was more of a “free play” activity! It wasn’t my goal, but we were totally happy with the kids enjoying themselves. That is really our goal here: for the kids to have fun, learn to play with other kids, and conduct their own experiments and create their own form of curious play.

Pumpkin Painting and Decorating

In between my structured teaching, we handed out brushes, paint, and smocks, and everyone brought their own pumpkins to paint! The kids had fun painting. Afterwards, we let them dry and I bought Halloween-themed foam stickers from the Dollar Tree for the kids to stick them on after our Chinese lesson!

toddlers painting pumpkins for a homeschooling craft activity

In addition to painting and decorating their very own pumpkins, the kids got a chance to help measure out the ingredients while we made slime for the first time!

Pirate pumpkinSkeleton pumpkin

Pumpkin Slime-Making

One of my mommy friends brought pumpkin seeds, which were so scrumptious! She got the ones that were seeded and salted. YUM! We all got to taste-test these pumpkin seeds before we added them to our slime mixture.

The recipe we used to make this version of slime can be found here.

It took a little bit to figure out how to not make it as sticky, but it turned out to be such an amazing sensory activity for them.

pumpkin slime with pumpkin seeds

Kai and I ended up playing with it after everyone left, and we must have spent over a half an hour on this activity.

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Chinese for Pumpkin

Here are the Chinese characters for pumpkin. In pinyin it’s nánguā.

Chinese characters for pumpkin

I have included a printout for you to download for Pp is for Pumpkin, which includes the Chinese characters for pumpkin.

The Chinese resources I used during my lesson are found in the Resources section of this post.

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Pumpkin Bread

Another mom friend made pumpkin bread and brought it for everyone to share. It was so thoughtful! We really have a wonderful and creative team of moms in the group. So happy.

After the lesson and activities, the kids got to play upstairs in Kai’s play room. And, we all got to have some pumpkin bread and other snacks. It was a nice time to just wind down and do some bonding.

Feedback

I was so happy with the feedback! One thing I am going to try and focus on is getting the kids’ attentions as soon as we start the lesson.

It had been a while since one of the little girls had been to our house, and the little boy had never been here before. Hence, distractions galore:)

We are hoping the next time the kids come over, I will plan for more songs to grab everyone’s attention. Maybe playing some dance music or adding a few more songs in the beginning of the lesson to set the toddlers in “lesson mode”?

Kai, of course, was just too comfortable and drawing on the whiteboard while I was reading the books, haha.

One suggestion was to do a rotation, where, every week we would travel to other mom’s houses and everyone would plan their own lessons. Such a wonderful network of moms here. And an amazing idea…that we would definitely want to do after the holidays. Why? Well, one of my mommy friends is leaving for a month to visit family out-of-state. And, the following month, our family will be away for a month and a half, traveling.

Everything will return back to a normal schedule come January 2019. So, we could essentially start this rotational homeschooling program with the toddlers then. For the remainder of the autumn season, I have developed the curriculum and will continue to host the kids at my house or wherever we are. And, during our time away from each other, the moms will have the choice to use my weekly lesson plans and do their own activities at home.

It was such a great first run. 

I’m super excited to be doing this with my toddler. He’s having such an amazing time learning. It also gives me purpose. I am thankful for having friends so Kai is able to socialize and interact with them.

xErgo baby Love Carries On/Go Far Stay Close

Field Trip Tie-In

Before or after each lesson, my intention is to bring the classroom outside for the kids to explore and experience things first-hand. With the colorful changing seasons of New England, what a perfect way for us to do some family bonding while reinforcing a lesson topic:)

Our intention was to visit a local pumpkin patch and do some hayrides. Unfortunately, he started getting a runny nose, the coughs and sneezes:(

Last night, he was up a few hours because he couldn’t breath from his nose. I honestly swear this kid gets sick so many times during the year. It’s at least once a month if he’s interacting with other people. I’m praying his immune system is solid once he gets older because he’s probably caught 70% of the colds out there.

Maybe we will take a family trip to a local farm that incorporates all of the autumn topics I’m covering.

Resources

Here are the links I used throughout the lesson:

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Thank you ALL for reading! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment:)

Homeschooling my Toddler

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Homeschooling my Toddler

So I’ve made the decision to start teaching my 2-year old at home. I have been a full-time stay at home parent for almost two years now! October 1, 2018 will mark my 2nd anniversary.

Little PassportsMy Son

Kai has been such an instrumental addition to our family. He’s literally been life-changing.

My son playing tennis
Things he’s into now: ninjas, grapes, pretend fighting, running around, exercising, watching tv + movies, playing with puzzles, building with legos, and eating dino chicken nuggets.

Let’s just say these two years have been the most challenging yet most rewarding so far.

My Decision

Let’s just say being at home isn’t easy. I’ve always said the hardest part about being a Stay at Home Mom is actually staying at home. I get fulfillment and enjoyment in taking Kai outside to see the world; whether it be a day trip to a children’s museum or zoo, a family RV trip to Canada, or a simple trip to the grocery store.

I enjoy staying busy. Some days too busy.

After talking with a few other parents, and simply observing my toddler throughout the day, I have come to the realization that structured play or structured learning peeks his interest. It grabs his attention. Similar to him playing a game on his tablet or watching a captivating movie or tv show.

My son napping

When Kai gets sick, he’s out of commission for one to two weeks at a time. I don’t like exposing him to other people/other kids. Hence, we are stuck at home. After staying home with him for 1-2 weeks, I came to the realization my 2-year old spends way too much of his time watching television.

I didn’t want to push him too hard while he was sick. But, hey, I felt trapped.

Boredom, that was the fuel. My ignition. That spear-headed my decision to seriously commit to homeschooling my toddler.

Little PassportsSchedule

Yes, I must be strong. Stick to a solid schedule.  Let’s get motivated.

I have such an impact and influence on my toddler’s life. He’s grown to be such a “big kid”.

Once I start, I can tailor my weekly schedule to whatever seems to work for him.

Time + Resources

On my recent trip to Las Vegas, I took my travel time to start creating lesson for my son. I was so productive during my flight it wasn’t even funny. Guess when you’re stuck on a flight for five hours (window seat), you get inspired.

I have also spoken to a friend who has a son that is only a month older than Kai. He will also be joining in on some of the lessons at my house.

I’m hoping adding another child in the mix might encourage my son. Mainly because I have attempted to teach Kai the A,B,C’s (well just A, B, C, and D). We had stuffed animals attend our “class”. And, it was fairly challenging to teach my son to focus. Or as we say “center his qi” 😉

CHINESE! Yes, I want to incorporate teaching some Chinese to Kai during these lessons. I have yet to do extensive research, but I know I may take a little trip to where I used to work, The U.S. China Institute at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, to see if they may have some resources for children.

The library! I have gone to the local library and have borrowed some books about parenting/homeschooling. Most of them are mainly for reference and motivation. I did get a few ideas from a few of them. A few of the books are a bit outdated (in reference to some of the website resources listed). But, overall my research will hopefully be helpful.

Homeschooling books from the library

I have listed the books I borrowed from the library below with ISBN:

  • The Homeschooling Handbook by Lorilee Lippincott
    • ISBN: 1-62873-617-8
  • School Starts at Home by Cheri Fuller
    • ISBN: 1-57683-600-2
  • Ready…Start…School! by Sandra F. Rief
    • ISBN: 0-7352-0299-0
  • The Everything Guide to Homeschooling by Sherri Linsenbach
    • ISBN: 1-4405-9069-9

And, last but not least, here are some websites I have been using for inspiration in creating my lesson plans:

  • www.childcarelounge.com
  • www.naturalbeachliving.com
  • www.letteroftheweek.com
  • www.enchantedlearning.com
  • http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/
  • www.dltk-kids.com

 Wish me luck

Yes, I’ll need lots of luck. And prayers. Please pray for me. That I may be strong and stay consistent. I’m just hoping to capture their attention:)

My expectation is simply to see if my little teaching experiment works or doesn’t work. I may have to make adjustments and tailor my teaching to their interests. We will see…only time, perseverance, and trial/error will tell…

I plan to share and post pictures of my lessons and activities. Super excited to begin this chapter in our lives.

Ah, let’s do this!

Little PassportsSuggestions?

If anyone has any suggestions or if you have been there and done that, please share!

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

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