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We start the Fall theme pretty much right on October 1st and keep it going until Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are just way too much fun to explore! This counting practice and number recognition activity is a great preschool activity, and I have an adaptation that made it toddler friendly as well.
I have to think on my feet a lot to keep my twin toddlers feel like they are learning like their big sister while still making the version of their activity safe and appropriate for toddlers. You will find I add simple adaptations a lot with the activities that I share.
I have a weakness for pumpkins and gourds! Every Fall when I walk into Target, I immediately get the ideas flowing for how I can use a bag of gourds or mini pumpkins to create some fun learning activities for the kids. All you need to do this counting practice and number recognition activity with pumpkin seeds at home are a few simple supplies you probably already have!
2 pieces of construction paper (or any blank paper you have)
Counting Practice and Number Recognition Activity
Start by numbering along the left edge of a piece of construction paper. You will need 2 pieces of paper in order to fit numbers from 1-12. You can certainly go higher if your preschooler is ready! I drew lines to give each number its own row. This made the separation of each number obvious for my preschooler and makes the gluing part of this activity neat.
Next, place a bunch of pumpkin seeds in a small bowl and set it aside.
Count down the list of numbers with your child, pointing to each number as you say it. Count all the numbers, and then explain to your child that they will read the number, place dots of glue to show how many pumpkin seeds match, and then stick one pumpkin seed to each dot of glue.
This activity really is fine motor intensive, but it is such an effective way to teach one-to-one correspondence, counting practice and number recognition.
Back when I was teaching preschool, all of the children needed practice using glue. It is so tempting for 3 and 4 year olds to squeeze too hard. This pumpkin seed activity not only explores counting and number recognition, but also is a fine motor exercise and gluing practice.
This activity does take quite a bit of focus for 3 year olds or 4 year olds. and you may find that it may be a little too intense for some 3 year olds. It is ok to break up the activity over the day, or only work on completing a smaller range of numbers. Use your child’s skill level to determine how long you can spend on this.
My 4 1/2 year old started to get a little impatient right near the end. She wanted to stop after completing the row of pumpkin seeds for 11. As a compromise, I offered to dot the glue on the row for 12. This would be a great way to adapt for younger children or those with shorter attention spans-even if you have to do the gluing much earlier than row 11.
I told you I have a version of this activity that can be done as a toddler activity-here is the simple way to make this activity work if you have toddlers at home.
Using packing tape, cut a strip-or a few-and place them sticky-side up on your table or floor. Take two pieces of masking tape, and tape down the packing tape strips. The sticky side is exposed so your toddler can practice picking up pumpkin seeds and sticking them onto the tape. No messy glue to get into their hands yet, and the pumpkin seeds (mostly) stay on the table or stuck to the tape.
As she was sticking pumpkin seeds onto the tape, I counted how many she had on the tape. This is simple exposure to counting and numbers for a toddler, but it is still learning!
My twin toddlers always want to work on an activity when they see their big sister getting to work on her homeschool preschool activities. It is hard to adapt every preschool activity we do to make it safe and appropriate for the toddlers, but this one worked out well.
Next time you run into Target for their Daily Deals, or your favorite store, grab a baking pumpkin, and use the seeds for some counting practice and number recognition. Did you try the other pumpkin activity where we made REAL pumpkins into puzzles? That is another easy way to to explore pumpkins this Fall.
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What is your child’s favorite pumpkin themed activity?