Halloween Fun and Learning Activities: Sizes

Halloween is one of the very best times of year for talking about sizes; understanding size is an important thinking strategy and kindergarten readiness skill. But, like Halloween, there are some tricks about sizes.

Size is all about relationships, rather than the bigness or smallness of something. A fairly regular sized pumpkin can be big when compared to the miniature ones and it can be very, very small when compared to the giant ones.

Pumpkins of different dimensions can help with size relationships. This friend got to pick out 3 pumpkins and he choose 1 small, 1 medium and 1 big. But he had to be able to carry the big one. His small pumpkin is still bigger than this one with a black marker makeup face and a snow hat sitting on a book. And his big one is smaller than this one that won the competition last week!

Kids often hear that they are both big and small at practically the same time, “You are too big for that coat,” and “You are too small to do that.” These words can be confusing until children realize that size compares things. In order to figure this out, they will need lots of experiences and opportunities with objects of different sizes. They need the hands-on time that goes with words like small, medium, big, tiny, large, tall, long, short, and others.

There will be times that kids just don’t get it, no matter how we explain, as in “Yes, those are small candies, but lots of small candies makes a big pile.” How can small be big? Sometimes as big people, we forget that learning such basics as size can be difficult for little ones.

Learning about sizes, can be quite a trick, can’t it?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin “Attitude” Scores A+

Just this morning I read a news headline “Hope Better Predictor Of Academic Achievement Than Intelligence.” Students had been tracked over a 3-year period and the attitude of hope was key to academic success. (Nadine Bell, 2011 Good News)

In a way, Halloween is a hope-ful event. Think of a pumpkin, all dark and hollow inside. With a few openings and a candle inside, suddenly a face shines in the darkness. The dark of Halloween night is countered with fun and de”light” in dressing up. While¬† the hope of a sweet treat doesn’t set the bar very high, it’s a beginning. Tonight, light a jack-o-lantern candle, celebrate even if it’s dark n’ scary and develop a pumpkin attitude of hope. HAPPY HALLOWEEN

P.S. Hopefully, have you found this series of activities using a pumpkin to promote kindergarten readiness en”light”ening?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Science Inside A Pumpkin

Kids love to explore and discover and we can use that enjoyment to build one of the very most important kindergarten readiness factors–being excited to learn. For the whole month of October kids have been seeing pumpkins all over. Now, it’s time for some hands-on science. More accurately, that would be hands-in.

Grown-ups need to do the careful cutting of a lid in the pumpkin. But kids can help do the scooping out of the seeds and the strings. Some kids dislike the slippery feel and do not want to touch “that yucky stuff.” A big spoon can help them scoop without touching. Save the pumpkin seeds to roast and eat. To lock in the learning, talk with your child about the discovery. Is the pumpkin the same inside as outside? What’s different about the inside? What kind of seeds are these? Remember, little ones don’t know that pumpkin seeds will grow only pumpkins. Some discoveries take only minutes, some take a very long time but readiness for kindergarten can happen anytime. What kind of discoveries and science learning happened with this pumpkin activity?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin “Person”ality

Once a pumpkin gets a face, it assumes a “person”ality and emotions. Being able to recognize someone else’s emotions depends on 2 parts; how well #1 person shows that emotion and how well #2 person reads that expression. Children need lots of practice both making all kinds of faces and figuring out what other people’s … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin “Person”ality

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins and Faces

Soon it will be time to put a face on the pumpkin and the only limit is imagination. Reading faces is an important social skill for more than kindergarten readiness.¬† Gwen Dewar from Parenting Science writes “The evidence is accumulating: Good social skills may depend on the ability to decipher facial expressions, particularly…in the eye … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins and Faces

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins Around The Block

Just a week until Halloween night. To get into shape for all that walking kids might need to practice going around the block. If your little one has a wagon, the pumpkin might like to go along for the ride. Just make sure it can’t fall out. Lots of big muscle activity of different kinds … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkins Around The Block

Readiness for Kindergarten – The Pumpkin Channel

Some science news just released this week advised parents that “Children under the age of two years should not watch television or videos because it could harm their development (US pediatricians’ group, News in Science/ABC Science). And for older kids, even if the tv is only on in the background, “…a young child at play … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – The Pumpkin Channel

Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin Hide and Seek

Some days have long lists of things to do and readiness for kindergarten may be lower on the priorities. But it is possible to combine readiness fun with other things. Remember yesterday’s song “Where is Pumpkin?” using the “Where is Thumbkin?” tune? Today for some kindergarten readiness fun let your little one hide the pumpkin … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pumpkin Hide and Seek

Readiness for Kindergarten – Rock Star Pumpkins

Well, not exactly rock stars but who knows? Kids love to sing, especially a few favorite songs that adults get to hear over and over and over. But songs and singing help develop many different readiness for kindergarten areas. The obvious one is language and more than just vocabulary. All that repetition is a way … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Rock Star Pumpkins

Readiness for Kindergarten – What Shape is a Pumpkin?

Pumpkins are like snowflakes–they are all different! But basically, they have a round shape. And having a basic understanding of shapes is often included on evaluations for kindergarten readiness. This isn’t so much because it is critical knowledge but it gives an idea of the level of children’s learning. For instance, shapes belong together in … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – What Shape is a Pumpkin?