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Ezra and I have started doing unit-study-style (themed) preschool activities. We are trying to keep things very laid-back since he is only two years old. I pull from a lot of different free preschool resources depending on what theme I have chosen and what I know works best for Ezra. This week, our theme was pumpkins, which ended up being SO MUCH FUN that I have to share some highlights.
(printable from confessionsofahomeschooler.com)
The first exciting thing about this theme was that I found not just one, but THREE different pumpkin toddler preschool packs online. So I was able to pull from a lot of different things!
I’m trying to include a lot of reading into our school time, which is kind of difficult with Ezra as he is a very picky reader. If he doesn’t like a book, he will throw it across the room (we are working on that) or at the very least STRONGLY reject it. But the books he does like get read over and over and over. The older he gets, the more books he likes! But I didn’t have any pumpkin books at home, so I ordered some from our on-post library. If it was a kids book and was about pumpkins but not about Halloween, I ordered it. Even the Dora the Explorer book. Hey, it’s about pumpkins.
It just so happens that the Dora book was about the only one that Ezra liked. And it was about Dora and Boots going to pick out a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch so they could make a pumpkin pie, which just so happened to be two of the other activities that I had planned out for the week as there was a local patch I wanted to try and a grain-free pumpkin pie recipe that I wanted to make. PERFECT.
I used the book to “talk-up” our outing and prepare him for what was ahead. We read the book the night before…then again the morning of. He kept bringing me the book, “Dora, ‘gain? Dora, ‘gain?” And so I would read it again. We read the book twice in a row before his morning nap, and I told him, “After your nap, you are going to eat lunch and then we are going to go to the pumpkin patch so we can get a pumpkin to make the pumpkin pie!” The first thing he said when he woke up from his nap: “Punkin PATCH? Punkin PIE?!?!?!”
It had rained in the morning, but the sun was supposed to come out around 4pm…at 1:00 it was still pretty dreary looking outside. The pumpkin patch wasn’t far, but I also needed to get some almond flour for the pie at the bulk-organic-food place I had found a few weeks ago. Since that’s a 25 minute drive, I decided to go there first.
On our way there, we passed a sign for another pumpkin patch, which I mentally noted. When we got to the food-store, it was closed. There was a little sign in the window which I could see from my car with one of those “will return at” clocks and it said 3pm. It was about 1:30. Junk. Now I have to kill some time.
So we decided to go to the closer-to-the-food-store pumpkin patch. When we got there, there was no one in sight. I pulled out my iPhone to check their hours, and of course, they didn’t open til 3pm. Junk…again.
But there was a pond on the property with some ducks so I took Ezra out of the car (who was waiting with hands folded in the backseat to go get his punkin) so he could see the ducks. While we were out of the car, the owner came out (shirtless in overalls!) and said that he would get his teenage daughter to show us around if we wanted. I apologized all over myself for showing up when they were closed, but they were gracious and even let Ezra into the goat pen to pet the goats.
We also got to pick out a pumpkin. Immediately Ezra asked about a wagon. I was confused. We didn’t own a wagon, and there were none in sight. Then I remembered…Dora. Dora had a wagon for her pumpkin. “No Ezra, there’s no wagons here, we’ll just have to carry it to the car.”
They told me the pumpkin would be 75 cents. All I had was a $20. So she told me to nevermind and gave me the pumpkin for free!!!
Back in the car we go, but unfortunately we still had an hour of time left to kill. Junk. So I decided that we would go to the closer-to-home pumpkin patch, and then come back for the flour at three. A total waste of gas, but we were having fun.
The second farm was open for business, and by the time we got there the sun had come out. Ezra was so excited to go to “‘other punkin patch!!!” And this one even had wagons!
Then he wanted “Mommy wagon?” He pulled with all his might but I was just a little bit too heavy for him!
This is him saying “punkin patCHHHH!”
Then it was time to pick another pumpkin. And this has to be one of my favorite Ezra moments ever. He immediately starts going from pumpkin to pumpkin, saying, “Dis punkin? No, it too small!” over and over… A DIRECT quote from the Dora book. He was acting out the Dora story right there in the pumpkin patch. I could NOT stop laughing!
I got some video of him picking out the pumpkin and acting out the Dora book. Some of the quality is messed up because for some reason my transfers from iPhone to computer are getting damaged! But it’s still so cute to hear him talk about the “punkin” and the “PUNKin PIE!”
We bought our pumpkin (and some grape soda for mommy). By that time it was about 2:40 which would mean that by the time I drove back down to the bulk store it would be open. We were both really tired and I considered just going to Kroger on the way home instead, but I didn’t want to pay their prices for the almond flour. So we drove back to the bulk store. And they were STILL closed! This time I actually got out of the car only to find a sign on the DOOR that said that they were going to be closed the whole day. Which meant that I wasted MORE gas and still didn’t get what we needed! The traffic on the drive home was congested and by the time we got to Kroger Ezra was in desperate need of a nap, but we managed to get through the store with him only throwing himself on the floor crying twice…so, I guess you could say it was a success.
I prepared the crust for the pie while he was napping and we got to make the pie once he woke up. (We used canned pumpkin…shhhh don’t tell Ezra.)
I have no after-pictures of the pie. It didn’t turn out very well. The crust burnt but still somehow soggy and the filling was undercooked. I did eat one piece after Ezra went to bed but I threw the rest of the pie away!
Today I planned to have a blast gutting the pumpkin with him as a sensory activity. He was not impressed. He touched it once and then started crying “NO PUNKIN! NO SEEDS!!!”
So instead, I spent the afternoon preparing the seeds for roasting and pureeing the pumpkin for freezing.
(^^and all of this only cost me $2!)
And I made these amazing grain-free pumpkin muffins! I was so impressed with this recipe (I did substitute almond flour for coconut flour and coconut flakes for shredded coconut)…they cooked just like normal muffins and they were so moist and NORMAL! I’m definitely going to be making more!
And Ezra colored a picture of a pumpkin. His coloring skills are definitely improving!!
It was such a fun week for both of us and it was the perfect season for pumpkins!
Find some amazing pumpkin preschool resources here: