Pumpkin vines on the sticky table

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on October 17, 2011

in Activity Boxes, Halloween, Paper Plate Pumpkins, Pumpkin Vine Game, Pumpkin Vines

Whenever we explore any topic or unit, I try to provide a variety of ways for the children to explore the concept. I find that providing different ways to explore a concept helps my students look at ideas from a variety of perspectives. I also find that I learn more about my students when I observe them trying different approaches to learning. Some of my students even surprise me at what they seem to understand.  For an example of what I am saying, I want to share a little bit about the pumpkin vines we talked about last week…

We read a book about how pumpkin vines grow in the garden. I think it was called “The Mystery Vine.”  After the children in the book discovered that the mystery vine was a pumpkin vine we made our own vine too.  We took a ball of yarn and passed it around the circle to create our own pumpkin vine.  Each of us held on to the yarn and then we all grew up like pumpkins on the ground…

It was a really simple lesson on pumpkin vines and we didn’t spend a whole lot of time with it. As a follow-up to circle time, the children explored different kinds of pumpkin activities.  The sticky table was set up in one area of the room. The sticky table is simply sticky-back contact paper spread out on the table and taped in place so the sticky side of the contact paper is facing up.  I set out orange pompoms and green yarn (and a few other items) but didn’t explain what to do with any of the items…

The children amazed me at their understanding of our simple lesson during circle time. They immediately called me over to show me their pumpkin vines….

This little three year old showed me how he made pumpkins with the materials…

I had also set out craft sticks and was asked what they were for.  I asked if anyone remembered our rhyme “Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate?”  Although they remembered the rhyme, they had other plans for the craft sticks. In my mind, they could make gates with them but their ideas were far more clever..

I love the sticky table. The cups on the table stick really well so they don’t tip over and the children can explore as freely as they like.

In addition to the sticky table, I also shared this “no-rules” pumpkin vine game that I made for the children…

Every game I make is very open ended. The children can play the game any way they wish. Some chose to use the dice and count their way around the vine…

Others just like putting as many pumpkins on the vine as they could..

Again, this was just another way for the children to explore the concept of pumpkin vines. The game offered additional learning like counting and organizing and cooperating with others…

And then we made our own pumpkins in art. We worked on our cutting skills as we cut up orange and green construction paper strips…

Then the children glued the construction paper snips on their paper plates…

Each of these centers are open at the same time. The children migrate from center to center throughout the first part of our morning. There are other centers, like blocks and the library open as well that they can play in. I am just showing you the centers that went along with our pumpkin discussion…

And in case you are wondering – Later in the morning (after snack) we go outside to our outdoor classroom where we explore water, sand, play dough, easels, and other more other sensory based (or messy) centers. This allows for a different kind of experience and additional exploration of our pumpkin vine concept.

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