Mess Free Pumpkin Decorating: Pumpkin Letter Hammering

Mess Free Monogram Pumpkin : Fine Motor Letter Formation Activity for Preschoolers and ToddlersIf you are looking for a last minute mess free pumpkin decorating idea, you are in the right place! My girls made these adorable monogram golf tee pumpkins last week and they had such a blast that I couldn’t help but share yet another Halloween Lesson Plan highlight with you (if you are following the lesson plan, we were originally planning on practicing J’s with this activity, but the girls wanted to do the letters of their name instead).  This pumpkin letter hammering activity is not only a cute and easy alternative to pumpkin carving, but it is chock full of learning as well!Pumpkin Letter Hammering: Mess Free Pumpkin Decorating for Preschoolers and Toddlers

What You’ll Need:

  • pumpkin (real or foam)
  • golf tees
  • small hammer
  • permanent marker

What You Do:

This activity could not be more simple to set up. Write the first letter of your child’s name in large print on the front of the pumpkin (or if you child is able, have him do it himself). Set out a bowl of golf tees and a hammer. Show your child how to hammer the tees along the line to create their monogram design and let them go to town. Younger toddlers may need help getting the golf tees started, especially if using a real pumpkin. 

What They Learn:

Kids love this activity because, well… what could be more fun than hammering things into a pumpkin?  I love this mess free pumpkin decorating activity because it is full of fun, playful learning opportunities! During this activity kids work on the following skills

  • letter recognition – learning the name of the letter they are working on
  • letter formation – learning how to write the letter as they hammer the tees along the lines
  • hand-eye coordination – placing the golf tee along the line and making contact with the hammer
  • fine motor skills – manipulating the small golf tees, holding them in place while they hammer them in

When you are all done, stand back and admire your work. Or in my goofy kid’s case, kiss your pumpkin!



Thanks so much for stopping by. We will be continuing our Halloween fun throughout the week so be sure to check back soon!

Halloween Water Bead Dolls

Halloween Water Bead Dolls - from play learn love

Today I have a fun craft to share with you that combines two of my favorite things, Halloween and water beads! These Halloween water bead dolls are pretty easy to whip up and are a fun way to enhance the already awesome experience of water beads. As my girls were playing with their glow-in-the-dark-water bead tray from our Halloween lesson plan, they began asking me if I had anything else they could use to play with in the bin. Because they  enjoyed playing with the farm animal figurines during our farm unit so much, I started thinking along those lines and came up with these cute little dolls made from pipe cleaners. They were an instant hit and held their attention far longer than the water beads alone. With a bag of pipe cleaners and a few simple instructions you can add some fun to your next water bead sensory bin too!

Halloween Pipe Cleaner Dolls

To make these dolls you will need pipe cleaners in a variety of colors. Begin by selecting a color for the body. I chose green for both the Frankenstein and witch dolls. Bring the ends of your pipe cleaner together and twist to make a circle. Next, put a twist in the large circle to make one small circle (about the circumference of a water bead) and one larger circle. The smallest circle will be the head. To finish the body, twist the larger circle into arms and then legs, creating a stick figure looking body. To add clothes and hair simply wrap different colored pipe cleaners around the body and shape to fit. You can copy our Frankenstein and Witch designs or come up with your own spooky Halloween water bead creatures!

Halloween Water Bead DollsThanks for stopping by and I hope these little dolls bring you as much fun as they did us!


Halloween Lesson Plan for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Halloween Lesson Plan - from play learn love

With this being the fourth and final week of our October curriculum, we are going to jump right into our Halloween Lesson Plan to get you and your little ones in the spirit!  Holidays are always fun for kids and provide a great opportunity to get them excited about learning through theme related activities. We’ve got TONS of awesome learning games and crafts for you use this week, so lets get started!

Preschool Halloween Lesson Plan - from play learn love

First up on our featured activities list is the Halloween I-Spy Game from The Pleasantest Things. We also have the Roll-a-Pumpkin Face Game from Boy Mama Teach Mama. Another fun game on our Halloween Lesson Plan is the Trick-or-Treat Sight Word Game from Freebielicious. Next we have the Pumpkin Hundreds Chart Freebie from Mrs. Thompson’s Treasures. Kids learn place value and build familiarity with the hundred’s chart as they work to reveal the hidden picture! Our featured recipe of the week are the adorable “Boo”-nana Pops from Skinny Taste.  We also will be using the Pumpkin Spice Play Dough recipe from Mama Papa Bubba.  Last, but not least, we are going to tun out the lights for the Glow in the Dark Water Bead Play from Learn Play Imagine. My girls are obsessed with glow in the dark activities right now, so I am certain this will be right up their alley! In addition to all of the fantastic featured activities this week, we have a few of our own Halloween freebies to offer you!

Halloween Emergent Reader - from play learn love

Halloween Emergent Reader

As usual, we have our weekly emergent reader. My preschooler is all about making these all by herself right now from coloring, to cutting, to stapling, and of course she is always proud to read them to anyone who will listen!

Pumpkin Flash Cards - from play learn love

Pumpkin Flash Cards

Our set of pumpkin letter flash cards can be used in many ways, including this week’s Slap Jack-O-Lantern Game as well as the Pumpkin Patch Letter Match game!
Free Halloween Tracing Banner Printable - from play learn love

Halloween Tracing Banner

Finally, I am so excited to share this adorable Halloween Tracing Banner with you. I don’t know about your kids, but my preschooler has gotten to the point where she rolls her eyes every time I pull out a handwriting worksheet.  She is very eager to write, but most worksheets seem like…work. I am not about forcing learning on my kids, so I thought about what she likes to do right now and came up with this fun traceable Halloween banner.  Cut out the pieces, or for some added fine motor work, ask you child to do it with you. Have them trace the letters with a crayon or marker. My daughter is on a glow paint kick right now so we are going to finish ours off by tracing the letters one more time with the paint for some additional practice!

I really hope you enjoy this lesson! Have a frightfully good week and don’t forget to check back to see the highlighted activities from this week’s Halloween Lesson Plan!


Letter Lasso Game : Farm Theme Literacy Activity

Letter Lasso GameEarly Literacy Letter Lasso Game for Preschoolers and Toddlers

For this week’s lesson plan highlight, I am sharing one of our favorite Fall Harvest activities with you: The Letter Lasso Game. This game is loads of fun, super easy to set up, and perfect for practicing early literacy skills and hand-eye coordination all at the same time. That’s a learning activity win, if you ask me!


This activity requires only 3 simple supplies:

  1. A paper plate
  2. Yarn or rope
  3. Letters of some kind (Foam Letters, Letter Magnets,  Alphabet Puzzle, etc.)

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, assemble the lasso by cutting the center out of your paper plate. Cut a length of yarn to size – 2-4 feet should do the trick, depending on the size of your child. Next, poke a hole in the edge of your paper plate ring. String your yarn through the hole and tie it off. Once your lasso is made, all you have to do to set up the game is scatter letters all over the floor. Better yet, turn the job over to your little ones and make it part of the game (scattering things around the floor is what they do best after all :) ).

How To Play:

The object of the Letter Lasso Game is for the children to swing their lasso over their heads, and throw it around a letter. Once they lasso a letter, they can pick it up and put it in their pile. This game can be played individually or as a contest among siblings or friends. This game is fantastic because it can easily be modified to fit the skill level of your particular child. Here are a few different ways to play

  1. Letter Recognition – As your child lassos each letter, have him tell you the letter name as he adds it to his pile
  2. Letter Sounds – Ask your child to show you each letter they lasso and tell you the sound it makes. We like to sing the Letter Factory song. I say “The B says __, the B says ___, every letter makes a sound, the B says___…) pausing for my daughter to fill in with the correct letter sound.
  3. Spelling – For older children, turn it into a spelling game by telling them a word and asking them to lasso the letters in the correct order to spell it out!

Early Literacy Letter Lasso Farm Game

I love the Letter Lasso Game because both my toddler and my preschooler can play it at the same time and still be challenged. They have both gotten a kick out of this game and the best part is it’s simple enough for them to set up and play on their own. It is a true boredom buster!


Fall Harvest Lesson Plan : Farm Theme Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers

I am so excited to keep moving through our Farm unit! It is truly one of my favorite themes that we do each year. Next week’s Fall Harvest lesson plan is chalk full of fun so let’s dig right in!

Fall Harvest Lesson Plan - from play learn loveThe first featured activity in our Fall Harvest lesson plan is the Who Gathered Eggs From The Chicken Coop game from Storytiming. The cute little rhyme that goes along with the game is sure to get your little ones involved and sneak in some good counting practice while you are at it. Next up is the Farm Sudoku page from DLTK’s Crafts For Kids. My preschooler loves these picture sudoku puzzles and I love that they challenge her and get her thinking! One of my favorite activities that we are doing next week is making Homemade Mason Jar Butter. Check out the great picture tutorial from 2 Little Hooligans for step-by-step instructions to walk you through the butter making process. Last, but not least, we will once again be using the Super Stars Sight Word pages from The Moffatt Girls so head over and download your bundle if you haven’t done so already. In addition to these fabulous resources, we have a few fun printables of our own, so be sure to scroll all the way down after you check out the Fall Harvest lesson plan to get everything you need for the week ahead!

Fall Harvest Lesson Plan

Fall Harvest Lesson Plan - from play learn love

Fall Harvest Lesson Plan

Fall Harvest Printables

Tractor Emergent Reader  - from play learn love

Tractors Help – emergent reader

Tractor Cutting Practice Printable - from play learn loveI Spy Letter T Salt Tray Mat - from play learn loveI spy letter t – salt tray matTractor Cutting Practice Craft

I hope you enjoy your week of fall harvest activities and be sure to check back to see our Fall Harvest highlights!