This week was all about the letter P, as Travis and I continue our journey through the Letter of the Week curriculum. The timing was perfect for fall-themed favorites like pumpkin pie, so consider holding your P week in the autumn, too, if you can!
Puppets: We had so much fun making various puppets that I devoted a separate blog post to it. Whether you make puppets or use those you already own, pull them all out for a great big puppet show. Travis especially loved returning to our penguin puppet all week – another perfect P word.
Pigs/Ponies: I combined these two animal words for fun with our Little People barn set, giving Travis only the pigs and ponies to play with. To take things a step further, we set up a great farm sensory bin, filled with yellow split peas (a.k.a. “corn”), tractors, pigs, and ponies. Travis loved “feeding” corn to the animals and raking through the box with a fork. Great for sensory play and imagination!
Parade: Put Sousa marches on your computer, line up all your stuffed animals, give them each an instrument, and have a parade! If stuffed animals aren’t your child’s thing, line up cars or trucks instead.
We added a policeman as parade marshal.
Picnic: Far and away the most magical moment of our week, we took advantage of the warmest day to head to the park. A picnic basket, blanket, and beach ball are the only ingredients you need for a beautiful picnic. Travis loved having a snack outside before playing in the fall leaves!
Pumpkin: Halloween is past but fall is still pumpkin season! We baked mini pumpkin pies early in the week, a great hands-on experience. We also made a pumpkin patch: Stuff brown paper sandwich bags with crumpled newspaper, leaving a little room. Tie off the end with ribbon to be the stem, and then use orange paint to cover your pumpkins. We ran out of orange midway, which was the perfect opportunity to show Travis how red and yellow combine to make orange. Once the paint dries, play with your pumpkin patch!
(Hint: Add your pigs and ponies here, too).
Puzzle: An obvious one: Pull out all your puzzles and leave them out all week so your child has ample time to puzzle over them.
Piano: Whether you have toy pianos or a real one at home, this is likewise a great opportunity to leave it out so your child can return to it over the course of the week.
After those theme words, here are a few more ideas:
Fine art: Work those fine motor skills by crafting toy food from playdough. But not just any playdough… Pumpkin Pie Playdough! To make this easy at-home batch, combine the following in a saucepan over low heat:
2 and 3/4 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
Orange food coloring
Cook until the mixture thickens and looks like mashed potatoes. Let cool before kneading and giving to your child for play.
The dough smells fantastic, and is technically edible, but you’ll want to discourage any salty bites! Travis made mini pumpkin pies and cookies for his toy oven.
Food: We had to start one morning with pumpkin pie-spiced pancakes of course! There are so many P foods you could probably eat P items and nothing else all week if you wanted to. In addition to pancakes we had: peaches, pickles (which got a surprised and firm “no!”, pretzels, parsnips, pizza, pudding, pears, and pineapple.
Books: The clear favorite from the library this week was The Perfect Pony, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Travis also enjoyed Clifford and the Big Parade, by Norman Bridwell, Penguin Says Please, by Michael Dahl, and The New Puppy, by Laurence Anholt. And of course, read any potty books you have!
Song: A cute one to listen to is Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch. I also set Pachabel’s Canon to play in the background while we were home one afternoon; Travis barely noticed, but it’s one of my all time favorites and osmosis can’t hurt!
Math: Introduce patterns. Children’s peg boards with pattern cards are a great skill-builder. Your child can copy the pattern cards that come with the peg board, or you can demonstrate something simpler, like a row of red-green-red-green. These toys are fantastic to have around anyway, so consider investing in one.
That’s all for this week!