Sometimes it is the simple things in life that teach us the most. Pumpkins are one of the most popular signs that autumn is here. There is no need for fancy curriculum or lesson plans when you discover everything there is to learn about a pumpkin with your little one. Show your toddler how to use their senses to discover and explore!
Toddlers learn so much when they are allowed to have sensory experiences. Let your toddler touch and discover the pumpkin from the inside out! Best to start with outside before things get too messy.
Let them feel the skin of the pumpkin. Describe how it feels. Is it cool and bumpy? Smooth? This is an EXCELLENT way to increase their vocabulary (click HERE for more ways to work on language development.) Depending on the pumpkin there may be many correct answers. If you have different sizes available pick them up and talk about how some are heavy and some are light. This helps build your child’s cognitive skills by allowing them to learn about opposites (a popular concept in preschool!)
If you are feeling brave than crack the pumpkin open with your little one and discover the inside. Put down lots of newspapers before your start to help tame the mess. Then grab handfuls of the pumpkin insides and discuss how they feel. Are they cold or warm? Slimy? Watch your child’s cues and if they are not into it, than back off. Some children may not like the feel of it and that is ok. Give them the opportunity to explore but don’t force the issue.
If they do struggle with the feel of the inside of the pumpkin grab a giant spoon to help them scoop out the seeds. By doing so they are exploring while working on refining their fine motor coordination. Put some of the pumpkin guts into a ziploc bag for them to feel. That way they can still squish it, without getting their hands messy.
Take a good look at the pumpkins while at the store or in the pumpkin patch. Talk about the different colors and sizes that you see. Do they all have stems or are there ones that don’t? Talk about ones that look the same and ones that are different. When talking about comparison with your child you are practicing cognitive skills that they will need when they enter preschool.
Ask your child what they notice about the pumpkins. I bet they will notice some things that you didn’t even see yourself!
This is something that we don’t always think about doing when exploring unfamiliar things with our children. You may be a bit surprised to find out that an actual pumpkin smells much different from your pumpkin spice latte! Show your little one how to sniff the pumpkin as a way to take in new information.
Talk about how it smells. Do you enjoy the smell? How does it make you feel? Discussing emotions during any activity is a great way for your toddler to become socially aware of their own emotions and others (click HERE for more ways to teach your child about emotions.)
Are you looking to have more fall fun? Click HERE to read about the benefits your toddler gains from playing in the leaves!
Need some more ideas?
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