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Monday, October 16, 2017

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Preschool Name Activity With 5 Little Pumpkins

My favorite order for teaching letters is to start with the letters in our kids' names. This pumpkins-on-a-gate name activity is perfect for that...and it ties in our favorite fall theme: pumpkins!!

We've been working on name recognition and letter recognition a lot this fall, and our kiddos can find their own name easily, but some of them lose track of some of the letters in their name as they try to write them. And, since this week is the Virtual Book Club's Pumpkin theme, I decided to make upper case and lower case pumpkin letters to use with our name activities. (They're also working great for some spelling activities with the older kids!)

To make your own Pumpkin Names on a Gate, you just need the free printable (link below), blue construction paper for the background, yellow construction paper for a moon, and scissors and glue!

1- Print and cut out the pumpkin letters. I did this in advance. ;)

2- Make a "pumpkin patch" by laying out the pumpkins in your kiddos names. I added some extra letters so the kids would have to figure out which letters were in their names and which were not.

3- Let them build their "pumpkin name gate!" 

I think they turned out so adorable!!

We also used magnets to play with the pumpkin letters. I stuck the gates on a metal door with magnets, and then placed tons of pumpkin letters on the door with more magnets--the kids had fun putting their own names on a gate, spelling other words on the gate, and putting other letter patterns on the gate.

After our kids learn the letters in their names, we learn the letters in their friends and siblings names. It's a fun and meaningful sequence to learn letters in, and it feels so natural to them and me.

Are you doing a pumpkin theme? If so, why not check out our BIG collection of preschool pumpkin activities? It's full of printables, letter activities, science, math, and so much more!

We also LOVE Halloween science and dry ice experiments! Be sure to check out our collections!!


And, if you are looking for preschool pumpkin activities, this is the week for you!! The Virtual Book Club for Kids (VBC) is celebrating pumpkins this week! Go to the Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook page for all the action, read 5 Little Pumpkins (image below is an Amazon affiliate link), and pick some fun pumpkin activities to try! Be sure to check out the pumpkin activities from the VBC co-hosts this week too (links below)!

Preschool Pumpkin Activities from Virtual Book Club Hosts:

Name Pumpkins on a Gate - Preschool Powol Packets
Dabber Pumpkin Count - My Storytime Corner
5 Little Pumpkins Playdough Counting Activity - Clare's Little Tots
Stacking Pumpkins STEM Activity - The Educators' Spin On It
Edible Pumpkin Life Cycle- Teach Beside Me
Tracing Worksheets with a Pumpkin Theme by JDaniel4's Mom
Pumpkin Pre-Writing Activity with Chalk Markers - Inspiration Laboratories
Puppet Craft Activity and Acting Out the Story-The Moments at Home
Pumpkin Shape Memory Game - Rainy Day Mum

* More coming soon!*

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

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5 Little Pumpkins Preschool STEAM

5 Little Pumpkins is one of our favorite Halloween / Fall rhymes, so we do a lot of 5 Little Pumpkin themed activities every October. This STEAM project was particularly fun because it was something all the kids (toddlers, preschoolers, and grade schoolers) could personalize and enjoy together.

This project let the kids both express their own creative genius and work together on an engineering project appropriate for preschoolers! Aaaaand, it ties into one of our favorite rhymes, which just happens to be a board book too: 5 Little Pumpkins!!

Anyway, you can use this for STEAM learning, a STEM project, or just a fun Halloween activity!

It has two basic parts: 1- Designing the Pumpkins, and 
2- Designing and building the "gate."

To set up the pumpkin design, I simply placed the mini pumpkins, acrylic paints, and paint brushes on the table. We had to add some glitter and wiggly eyes later.  ;)  I also put a 2-foot long board (future gate) on the table so the kids could each decorate it in any way they wanted to.  The kids spent about 30-50 minutes decorating their pumpkins and the board:

We actually had to let them dry overnight because some of the puddles on the pumpkins were so...puddly!  ;)

The next day I gave them the board, two cans, and their pumpkins. First they built a typical bridge:

This may seem like an overly-simple engineering project, but for young children, it requires a lot of consideration to space the cans, balance the board, and balance the pumpkins. 

Once they had accomplished this, though, it got even more interesting:

They turned the cans sideways so that the pumpkins could "roll out of sight" like in the rhyme! This brought a whole new level of balancing into play, and they loved it!

When they finished experimenting with this, they actually wanted to take their pumpkins and see if they floated...floating pumpkins is an annual experiment we do, but it is amazing to see how much they learn every single year!  But that's for another post.  :)

Anyway, this activity meets STEAM pillars in the following ways:

Science: physics, balancing
Technology: tools to paint and video (see below)
Engineering: designing and building the bridge
Art: designing and decorating pumpkins and the bridge
Math: counting to five

It also includes literature because we used the story and rhyme. In fact, the kids wanted to make a video of their pumpkins "acting out the story!" So, we did! I'll try to upload that later today.

Are you doing LOADS of pumpkin activities or a pumpkin theme this month? We sure are!! Here are some of our favorites:

We also LOVE Halloween science and dry ice experiments! Be sure to check out our collections!!


Happy Hallo-STEAM!! I'm super excited to join with some of my favorite science bloggers to bring you a set of Halloween STEAM activities this month!!

Check them out below:

Dry Ice Bubble Crystal Ball :: Science Kiddo
Halloween Pumpkin Slime :: Figment Creative Labs
5 Little Pumpkins STEAM Activity :: Preschool Powol Packets

Do you have a favorite Halloween science or STEAM activity? I would LOVE to hear about it!! Feel free to send me an email, leave a comment, or stop by my Preschool Powol Packets Facebook page!

And, as always,

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Monday, October 2, 2017

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Egg Science Experiment With Inertia

This week we're investigating an egg science experiment with inertia for the Farm Theme with the Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids!

This experiment works great as either a demonstration or an experiment! It's stunning enough for a group, and addicting enough for kids to want to manipulate the variables and test it over and over and over!

Let's start with a video! Watch the carefully balanced RAW egg drop safely into the cup of water:


* Tall cup, filled with water to about 1-2 inches from the brim
* raw egg
* egg carton top (I've also seen this done with a light weight pie tin or lid with a flat bottom and short "lip.")
* cardboard tube (We used a toilet paper tube.)

So what's going on and how can you do it too? There are a lot of principles behind this little project, but my favorite is inertia because it explains so much of what is happening. Inertia is the tendency of an object at rest to stay at rest OR an object in motion to stay in motion until another force acts on it. Newton thought this concept was so important he made it the essence of his first law of motion! How do you see it in this experiment? The egg began at rest, and wanted to remain at rest...even when its supportive tower was knocked out from under it! Eventually, though, (okay, like less than half a second later...) gravity's downward force made the egg move...straight into the waiting cup of water!

The trick is to knock the tower out from under the egg without putting any sideways forces onto the egg. The best way to do this is to hit the pie tin quickly and with enough force to knock it out of the egg's path before the egg falls. The pie tin will pull the cardboard tube along with it. You should practice this a few times with just the egg carton and cardboard tube -- if you can make them fly off the cup without knocking the cup over, you can do it with the egg on too!  Then be sure to place the egg horizontally so the cardboard tube is less likely to pull the egg away with it.

Kids can experiment with setting up the apparatus themselves, trying different supplies for the "tower" (is there a difference in a toilet paper tube and a paper towel tube?!!), trying more than one egg at a time, and much more! See what they come up with, and make sure they try it too! Kids can totally do this, and they love it! (When I made the video above, my 10 year old set up and knocked over the egg tower. She can do it unsupervised, but you might want to supervise your younger kids--make sure the cardboard tube is directly over the cup.)  

Eggs are a lot of fun to learn about and experiment with! Here are a few of our other favorite egg activities: Walking on Eggs, Preschool STEM with Dinosaur Eggs, and Floating Egg Science Experiment!

Eggs are also one of my favorite things to talk about when we study farms, birds, and Easter...they fit in everywhere! To join in this week's Virtual Book Club Farm Theme fun, hop over the Facebook Page for community fun, grab a copy of our featured book, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (image below is an Amazon affiliate link), and check out the farm themed activities from our co-hosts below!

Farm Theme Activities from co-hosts:

Farm First Word Sounds- Teach Beside Me
Click Clack Alphabet Letter Learning Laptop Activity- JDaniel4's Mom
Farm Animal Letter Stamping - Mama Smiles
Farm Themed Name Recognition - Inspiration Laboratories
Farm Animal Math - My Storytime Corner
Farm Themed Sensory Bin-The Moments at Home
Easy Farm Animal Dump and Sort for Toddlers
Egg Science Experiment With Inertia - Preschool Powol Packets
Click Clack Moo Pencil Control Printable - Clare's Little Tots
Scissor Skills Printable To Help The Baby Farm Animals Find Their Moms - To Be A Kid Again
Farm Animal Domino Game - Rainy Day Mum
Click Clack Moo Activity with Shapes - The Educators' Spin On It
Farm Animal Dice Game - My Bored Toddler 

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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Monday, September 25, 2017

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Squirrel Action Rhyme - Rhymes for Kids

This week we're talking about squirrels and acorns, and I'm sharing a fun action rhyme for kids all about squirrels!

Our featured book for this week is Scaredy Squirrel (image below is an Amazon affiliate link):

This squirrel rhyme for kids is perfect to do after you read the story...and it's fun with one kiddo or a classroom! After you read the story, do the action rhyme 2-3 times, and then find a picture in the story and discuss one or two of the squirrel fun facts below!

Squirrel Action Rhyme for Kids:

I am a squirrel in a tall, tall tree.  
Stretch up tall toward the sky!
I like to look around and see, see, see!    
Make hands into binocular shapes and look around!

I am picking acorns for my lunch,
"Pick" invisible acorns out of the air.
I love the way they crunch, crunch, crunch!
Make exagerrated crunches with your mouth.

Sometimes I stretch my arms up to the sky,
Spread arms out wide.
Take a leap, and start to fly!
Jump and "fly" around the room!

Squirrel Fun Facts / Fun Discussion Topics:

1- Do "flying squirrels" really fly? (No, they glide.) Not all squirrels can glide, but some have an extra flap of skin that they can spread to glide.
2- Some squirrels live in trees and some live on the ground.
3- Some squirrels can smell food under a foot of snow!
4- Squirrels' front teeth never stop growing, just like mice!

To join in all the squirrel and acorn fun this week, visit the Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook page and check out all the cohost activities below:

Acorn Sharing Game - Witty Hoots
Squirrel and Acorn Ten Frame Printables and Activities by JDaniel4's Mom
Acorn Fine Motor and Counting - Views From a Step Stool
DIY Song Cube with Fall Song Printable from My Storytime Corner
Acorn Discovery Table - Inspiration Laboratories
Acorn Color Sort- Teach Beside Me
Acorn Art - Messy Little Monster
Colorful Acorn Ramp Play for Toddlers- Toddler Approved
Help the squirrel find his acorn - Mama Smiles
Squirrel Brain Breaks- The OT Toolbox
Squirrel Action Rhyme - Preschool Powol Packets - Right HERE!!
Find the Acorns Printable Sight Word Game - Artsy Momma
Acorn Ordering and Sorting - Rainy Day Mum
Making Shapes With Acorns - To Be A Kid Again
Acorn Alphabet Sensory Jar Game- The Educators' Spin On It
Fall Sensory Bin Acorns & Squirrels Color Picture Match- Sea of Knowledge

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Bubbling Pumpkin Experiments

Bubbles, science experiments, dry ice, and pumpkins! What more could you ask for in the fall?!!

We start doing pumpkin and Halloween science experiments as soon as we can--and the pumpkins usually show up in grocery stores towards the end of September!

This awesome set of experiments also features dry ice, another favorite science tool around here. (Check out our collection of dry ice experiments here!) More on the dry ice in a moment!


* 1 carved pumpkin
* 1 cleaned, but not carved pumpkin (optional)
* small cup
* warm water
* dry ice
* dry ice gloves or tongs
* tea candle or two
* liquid dish soap

Anyway, to get started clean your pumpkin and carve a face. We named ours Bob.

HINT: Leave about 3 inches below your face so you have room for a container of dry ice and a candle for your experiments.

HINT 2: Make sure your opening at the top is wide enough to easily get your hand and a small cup inside. ;)


Light, Candles, Fire, and Air:

Place a small candle or two inside the pumpkin and light it. If you have a hollowed out, but not carved pumpkin to compare to, that is AWESOME!

Discuss how the light from the candle travels out the face of the pumpkin. Put the lids on both pumpkins, and wait about a minute (depending on the size of your pumpkins). Does anything happen in the carved pumpkin? What about the uncarved pumpkin? (The candle in the uncarved pumpkin should go out because the flame burns all the oxygen available in the pumpkin.)

Now place a piece of dry ice next to the burning candle in the carved pumpkin. What happened!! Discuss why. (The candle should go out because the dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. At room temperature, dry ice sublimates, or goes directly from a solid to a gas. The gas (carbon dioxide) is heavier than oxygen, so it pushes the oygen up and away from the candle. As the carbon dioxide surrounds the flame, the candle goes out.)


Dry Ice ~ Carbon Dioxide

Remove the candle and make sure the dry ice is in a small bowl or shallow cup. Do not touch the ice directly. Use either tongs or dry ice gloves. Add a little warm water to the bowl or cup, and replace the lid on the pumpkin! What happens?!!

The dry ice should sublimate more quickly in the warm water, and you should have a nice cloud come pouring out the mouth of your pumpkin!

Go ahead and let everyone touch the "smoke." How does it feel? Is it warm or cold? What happens to it?

Experiment with adding more water and more ice.


Now it's time for fun with bubbles!

Squirt some dish soap in your bowl/cup and make sure it is aimed towards the mouth (otherwise, you will just fill your pumpkin with bubbles!). You may also want to add more dry ice and warm water. What happened?!!

The gaseous carbon dioxide is like blowing bubbles into a bowl of soapy water. The bubbles rise up and spill out whereever they fit! (For another really awesome, hands-on bubbly pumpkin experiment, click here!)

Go ahead and try other experiments with your supplies and see what you can discover! Always treat dry ice carefully, and never touch it directly!

Do you love Halloween and Pumpkin season?!! If so, I have some fantastic resources for you here:


Aaaand some of my blogging friends and I have joined together to bring you some amazing hands-on Halloween science activities! Check these out:

Fluffy Zombie Slime from Little Bins for Little Hands will thrill all your little zombie-hunters!

Discover the craziness behind Halloween candy with this Halloween Peeps Experiment at JDaniel 4's Mom!

Discovering a Pumpkin: STEM Investigation from Share it! Science is perfect for the little people in your life! Set it up for a preschool science station!

Halloween Fun:  Spider Science Activities for Kids from Growing With Science goes great with our annual Spider Theme in October!

Halloween Ghost Balloons at Mama Smiles is a classic experiment everyone should try!

Halloween Science: Static Electricity Ghosts from The Homeschool Scientist are a great way to tie Chemistry into the Halloween science fun!

Bubbling Pumpkin Experiments is right here at Preschool Powol Packets!

Halloween Robot Spider Craft at Inspiration Laboratories is another great addition to a preschool spider theme!

Halloween Rock Painting for Kids using Physics From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom ties in the rock painting trend with science and Halloween!

Make a Happy Halloween Stained Glass Window with this fantastic method from Witty Hoots!

Edible Candy Corn Slime from Teach Beside Me is a kind of cooking science sensory adventure!

Do you have a favorite fall or Halloween activity? I'd love to hear about!! Feel free to send me an email, leave a comment, or drop by my Preschool Powol Packets Facebook page and say Hi!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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