One of our most favorite Halloween stories EVER is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. We have probably read this book at least 50 times this year (if not more!) We love the silly storyline, the flow of the text, and the lessons on cooperation. Those who embrace literacy know that when you find a book you love, you just don’t read it… you celebrate it!
I put together some fun learning activities that go along with Big Pumpkin that I wanted to share with you. Just click on the titles of each activity to download the file. Enjoy!!
Big Pumpkin nomenclature cards– This was one of our favorite activities! Recently we tried our hand at some pumpkin nomenclature cards, and while they were fun- they were also frustrating (lots of words that looked very similar, small font, too many cards). This time we played it like a game.
First, my daughter picked three cards (with both pic and word) from the pile. It was her idea to turn the cards face down- to give it an element of surprise. She also wanted to sit on her pink stool during the game which meant a lot of bending down…silly girl! Then she found the picture card match. The last step was to find the word match. I love that she had the decision power to pick her cards. And there were less cards to match. And of course it went with one of our dearest Halloween books!
To make the game- print out two copies of both sheets. Cut out the pics and words together on one copy, and cut the pics and words separate on the other copy. Then you are ready to find the matches!
Big Pumpkin pocket chart cards. This is a great way to look at how individual words make up a sentence as well as becoming familiar with punctuation (we had fun reading sentences with a “period” voice and an “exclamation point” voice). My daughter was able to switch out the witch/ghost/vampire/ and mummy cards on the chart as we talked about each of the characters trying to get the pumpkin off the vine.
Story summary paper book– Just a simple retell of the story as a printable book. There are no pictures so your kiddos can create their own illustrations!
Trace & Write word boxes– These boxes are great for kids learning to correctly write short and tall letters. I created these pages to go with Big Pumpkin because handwriting is a big focus of our “school time”.
Halloween Word Ladder– A very simple word activity where the word “bag” changes to “cat” (one letter at a time) in just two steps! Like I said, very simple….
Retell cards (no file here, go to the clipart site to download images and print)- I am in LOVE with the cutest Halloween clipart from Phillip Martin. It is adorable! Not only have we used it in our activities above, but I printed out each of the images on card stock as a visual aid while telling the story. (It’s destiny that Phillip Martin has super darling clipart for all the characters of Big Pumpkin!)
Fun story retell with pumpkin basket, paper bat, ghost potato head, and witch, vampire, and mummy rubber duckies. And the Little People house is the witch’s house, where she goes to make the pumpkin pie. 🙂
From the time I first learned about Montessori nomenclature 3-part cards, I have wanted to try them with my daughter. For those that don’t know, this is an activity where kids take one card with both a picture and word label, then find and match the picture card AND the word label card. A great way to get kids looking at word similarities and differences. And I thought what better way to sneak in some learning then during a Halloween game!
I searched online for free Halloween 3 part cards. I was lucky enough to find these pumpkin cards from Kidsparkz. While they were made for a concentration activity, they work great as nomenclature cards! I just printed two copies and cut the words and pictures apart on one of the sheets. Very simple. We did this activity as part of our pumpkin day festivities, and while it was a little difficult because we had never done anything like this before, my Boo did a great job. Hint: for those kiddos trying this activity for the first time: start with a small amount of cards. Please learn from my mistake!
I also found some Halloween cards that would work well as nomenclature 3 part cards from Have Fun Teaching (don’t you love the name of the site!) This link will take you to all their holiday cards- so if you want to do Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, St Patricks Day, Easter, or birthday 3-part cards…. this is the site for you! The only thing with these cards is that they are designed differently than the typical Montessori nomenclature cards. Instead of the word label being directly below the picture, it is found to the right of the picture. BUT I still think they will work just fine. I don’t think the Montessori police will come after you if the activity looks a little different…..
Check out The Little List for more sites with free nomenclature 3-part cards! I especially like the farm cards from Montessori Moments.
So I thought… what the heck? Why not combine them into one glorious treat? And so I did! And they are SCRUMPTIOUS! And besides the taste- the ingredients for this recipe will appease all you budget minded people out there!
marshmallows and butter not pictured….
1 9 oz. bag of candy corn (bought at the dollar store) 1 bag of microwavable popcorn (we didn’t have any popcorn kernels- or we would have gone the homemade route!) Butter (about 4 tablespoons) Handful of mini marshmallows Tootsie Rolls (bought at the dollar store) 1 Green Apple Airhead Candy
Directions: Make the popcorn. Place popcorn in bowl and toss in a handful of candy corn.
Over medium heat, melt butter and the rest of the candy corn. Stir constantly!
Pour the hot (I have to add that adjective because I kept burning myself!) melted candy corn over popcorn.
It was at this point when I realized I needed a little more STICKINESS. So I ran back to the stove and melted a handful of marshmallows with 2 tablespoons butter. I quickly then poured that mixture on top of the popcorn/candy corn. (It might be easier to just melt the marshmallows and candy corn together at the beginning … but I am not a chef and I don’t know if that would completely mess up the entire recipe!)
Carefully (because of the heat) form popcorn into balls.
My hands were getting burnt at this stage so there are no pictures…
Form several leaves from the Airhead Candy (I threw mine into the microwave for 5 seconds to soften it).
Place candy leaves and unwrapped tootsie rolls on top of your popcorn balls to complete your pumpkin look!
Can you spot that large chewy candy corn inside the popcorn ball? Biting into those pieces gave it an extra sweet taste!
Some of the popcorn balls got a “spray tan” with orange food color mist. It was a nice touch, but not necessary!
These were simple, fast, and purely delicious. Enjoy!