You guys. I’m the one wiggling with excitement right now. One reason is simply that it’s October and October is everything wonderful. We took a walk in our woods last evening and a crisp breeze cooled us and brought that spicy, cinnamon scent of decaying leaves (ever noticed how leaves are the only things that smell good when they die?) wafting into the valleys. We made a family effort to collect the most beautiful leaves from the forest’s carpet. Then, as we headed back to the house, the sun was setting over the field and it looked like someone had lit a jack-o-lantern candle behind the trees. It was gorgeous.
The other thing I’m excited about is the new series I’m starting today. Story Time is going to concentrate on one picture book per post and will be full of suggestions for lessons you can add into your homeschool day. Or your fun Saturday with your Littles. My favorite part of being a children’s librarian was planning and conducting Story Time every week, especially when my dear friend Abby and I got to work on it together. I miss it. So there’s no good reason why I can’t keep doing it, right? The planning part, anyway. I’ll let you guys play with your own kids.
If you haven’t read this book with your littles yet, I have to assume you’ve been living under a rock.
Just kidding. But it is a very popular book for a very good reason. It’s one of those books that encourages courage and kindness while getting your littles up and moving. Do Not Read This Book Sitting Still.
When the boots go clomp, clomp, stomp your feet. When the pants go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your whole body. When the gloves go clap, clap, clap your hands. When we first started reading this book years ago, I was the one doing all the movements, and my Littles cackled every time, especially when I sang out, “WIGGLE WIGGGGGLLLLEEE!” In a very short time, they were joining in the fun. So that is your first activity. Read this book With Feeling.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
There are so many more lessons you can do with this book. Here are a few:
Discuss the rhythm of the book with your littles. It is not quite poetry, but the repetition almost makes the story line poetic. Tell them to think about how at some point they began to almost sing as they giggled through all the actions of the pumpkin-headed scarecrow. Remind them that poetry doesn’t always rhyme, even songs don’t always rhyme. But something in the rhythm makes them good, anyway.
If you hop over to Mrs. Colwell’s Class, you’ll find a cool, colorful, and Free download of a sequencing worksheet that will help them learn to follow plot.
Here is a free download from mrsmcgowan.com that is a play script for the book. The Littles have always especially loved doing plays, and doing one that goes along with a beloved book is a great way to introduce script reading and writing.
We did this cool project for our autumn camp, and it was my favorite part. I didn’t get pics then, but I took some for you this morning.
What you need:
1 sandwich bag
- Orange food coloring (or yellow and red)
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 sheet of toilet paper
- Black marker
- Draw a jack-o-lantern face on the sandwich bag with the marker
- Fill the bag 1/2 full with vinegar
- Drop in a few drops of orange food coloring (or equal amounts of red and yellow)
- Seal the bag most of the way up, leaving room to drop the baking soda in
- Place the baking soda in the center of the sheet of toilet paper
- Fold the toilet paper around the baking soda, making it as small as you can
- Here’s the part where you have to be careful: push the folded paper into the open part sandwich bag, holding the paper away from the vinegar
- Seal the bag the rest of the way, still hanging on to the precious wad of toilet paper
- When you’re ready, give the bag a good shake, place it on the ground, and Run (because it’s going to explode)
- The chemical reaction will fill the bag with air until it pops like an exploding bomb
Very cool. I got too excited to get a pic of the explosion. My bad.
Life Cycle Printable
Grab this free printable to learn about The Life Cycle of a Jack-O-Lantern. It’s a good introduction to little littles to learn about life cycles and how things grow.
What you need:
- Miniature pumpkin (We used a Dollar Tree Styrofoam pumpkin for ours, but your littles may get more bang out of using a real one)
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- About 2 tsp baking soda
- Hollow out the top of the pumpkin.
- Fill the hollow with baking soda.
- On Go, pour about 1/4 cup of vinegar into the hollow
Voilá! A Pumpkin-Cano!
If your littles want a puppet to act out the story of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, or you want some pieces to use on a felt board, check out this free printable, which gives instructions for making it on a toilet paper roll, but now that I think about it, a large craft stick would work, too.
And the piéce de résistance…
FELT AND PAPER PLATE SCARECROW
What you need:
- Orange, yellow, and brown felt
- Plaid fabric scrap (optional)
- 2 ridged paper plates (the coated kind are sturdier)
- Yellow Craft Paint
- School Glue
- 2 Buttons
- 5″ thin black ribbon or yarn
- Template pdf
Cut one of your paper plates in half. Paint the curved inside yellow.
Note: If you have little Littles, you might want to do this step for them ahead of time.
- While paint is drying, cut out Lit Mama’s Scarecrow templates (We used tape loops to hold them onto the felt while we cut around them)
- Cut the hat and brim templates out of brown felt
- Cut the flower template out of yellow felt
- Cut the flower center out of orange felt
- Cut the nose template out of orange felt or plaid fabric (My wish for you is that you have better scissors for cutting felt than we did. A neat trick–if your scissors are a little dull, grab a sheet of aluminum foil and cut it with them a few times. I swear, it will sharpen them up a bit.)
- Once the painted paper plate half is dry, cut slits in it to make it resemble a ruff. This is where the ridges come in handy. Littlest just cut between the raised parts, so it turned out pretty perfect. Now you’re ready to put your scarecrow together.
- Glue the front of your ruff to the back of the whole paper plate.
- Glue the back of your hat to the front of the paper plate.
- Glue your brim onto the bottom of your hat, ridged side up.
- Glue your flower to the side of the brim. Then glue the center onto the flower.
- Glue fabric nose onto the center of the plate
- Glue button eyes above the nose
- Fashion a mouth from the ribbon or yarn and glue on
There are a lot of variations you can do with this. You can make eyes from your excess felt, or use a large button for your flower center, add raffia or corn husk hair… I love to let the Littles use their imaginations when we do a craft like this. I made my guy a little bow tie with leftover plaid. You could paint the face tan or peach for a more realistic scarecrow, but we wanted to keep it simple today.
The really cool thing about these scarecrows is that they aren’t heavy at all, so once you’ve let them dry (preferably overnight), you can run some thread through the top of the hat and hang them in the windows for the neighbors to enjoy. If you have neighbors. We don’t. But we will hang them anyway!!
SOFT PUMPKIN COOKIES
What you need:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl.
- Beat sugar and butter together in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
- Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture.
- Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
- Bake 15-18 minutes until edges are firm.
- Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.
- Make a glaze:
- Combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar (I love sifting! I don’t know why.), 3 Tbsp milk, 1 Tbsp melted butter and one tsp vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.
Yum! Did I say yum?
Listen, I don’t care if my Littles are 10 & 13. You won’t loan me yours and I don’t have any grandkids. So I’m going to spend the afternoon reading The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything with a teen and preteen. I hope they don’t think I’m cheesy…
They won’t. Because
Love (and a fair amount of enthusiasm) wins,