Tot School: Fall Party


At the end of our Fall Theme, we had a fall party! We invited a few friends and had a great time.

This one cost a little more than the Bear Hunt Party, mainly because I bought pumpkins, apples, squashes, cider and some sensory bin items.  But, using a lot of supplies I already had, I was still able to  come in under $40. And I have pumpkins and scarecrows as decorations, left over sensory bin items for next year and some apples, squash and pumpkins to eat (which we still have…almost four weeks later 😉 )

This was also going to be a 2 1/2 hour party, so I had a lot planned.  So that involved a little more prep time as well.  It took about an hour or so to set up the stations.

Invitation

I made a leaf shape out of construction paper for the invitations.  My daughter colored them.  I asked each child to bring two apples and some leaves they find on a walk or at their house.

Front Yard Set Up

Science

When the kids arrived, I had set up the science stuff out front, since these activities were a little more focused and needed more adult guidance.  The kids came and gave me their apples.  I cut off a chunk and put it on the kids cutting board to cut it into pieces for the applesauce.

Apple Cutting and Tasting

  1. One or two apples from each kid
  2. cutting board and adult knife
  3. kid knives (we used plastic putty knives — that apple slicer pictured is way too hard for the little ones.)
  4. small table or easy access for the kids
  5. paper plates
  6. marker/sharpie for writing the name of the apple on each plate
  7. pot to throw apples in for applesauce
  8. cinnamon and sugar
  9. card table for the adult items

One of the moms had brought an apple corer/peeler, so each of the kids tried that.  Each kid then added a 1/4 tsp of sugar (there were only three of them) and a shake or two of cinnamon to the apples in the pot. (We boiled them with a tiny bit of water and then just mashed them and used a hand held blender.  They turned out sweet and delicious.)

We tasted all the different apples.  I initially put all the plates out, but then realized that doesn’t really work if you want to actually have them deliberately try each one.  So we did them one at a time, naming them and trying them, and we moms commented on them (crisp, tart, mealy, sweet, etc.).  Then we asked them which was their favorite, and then they just scarfed down the rest. 🙂

*Idea from Discovery Bay’s Our Place Preschool
(It’s a Facebook page, and it’s an incredible resource!)

Once they had cut their pieces they moved over to the pumpkins.

Baking Soda Pumpkin Explosions

  1. a small round pumpkin for each kid (pumpkin pie ones are even a little big — I found small  ones at Ralphs for .69 cents each) with the top cut off (and names on them if you want).
  2. vinegar (a small cup or pitcher for each child to pour from)
  3. baking soda
  4. spoon for getting out the guts
  5. small sandwich baggie for the guts (I told them they could take it home and roast them or just to have the kids smash them like sensory bags.  No one took them home because they all ended up with dirt in them. 🙂 )
  6. optional: food coloring

*Idea from Little Bins for Little Hands

They scooped out their insides (needed a little help from moms).  Then they came to me for their baking soda and vinegar.  They really loved this.  They just kept coming back again and again. (We did this in between the apple cutting and tasting. I needed time to cut up the rest of the apples, where my “lesson learned” came from below.)

Once they were done with that.  We guessed whether pumpkins would float in water .  Then they each dropped one into the bucket.  They all floated!  I was so surprised when I found out about that.

Floating Pumpkins

  1. container full of water (big enough to fit a large pumpkin and deep enough for a large pumpkin to float)
  2. a large pumpkin, a medium size pumpkin and a small pumpkin

*Inspired by Preschool Powol Packets

I grabbed the bucket of water and we all headed to the backyard. I had some popcorn and apple cider ready for them.

Backyard Set Up

I had initially thought they could just choose whatever stations they wanted and then go for it, but they’re still so young, that they did need more guidance.  But, I’m of the firm opinion if they don’t want to do something, they don’t need to.  So, some did everything, some did only a few things, and some kids played with toys I had in the backyard, which is also fine with me.

I planned this party on a weekday after we had a potluck with a 100 guests the Sunday before, so all the tables and chairs were set up.

Art

We did the art projects first, which was great, because those were a bit more focused and needed time to dry before taking them home anyway.

Fruit Stamping with Paint

  1. finger paint (any/all of the following: orange, red, brown, yellow and green)
  2. small paper plates for each color
  3. apples cut in half
  4. clothespins for sticking in the apples as handles (Great idea from Red Ted Art!)
  5. the top of the pumpkins that were cut for the baking soda experiment
  6. any other type of implement: straw, wheat strand, leaves, ends of acorn squash, etc.

 Tree Stamp

  1. ink pads (any/all of the following: orange, red, brown, yellow and green)
  2. white paper
  3. brown crayon or marker (draw a tree to some of the “leaves” they’ve made.  The rest can be falling or fallen leaves)

Glitter Pumpkins

  1. a small white pumpkin for each kid
  2. glitter (I used brown, red, gold, and silver)
  3. small paper plates for glue
  4. slightly watered down glue
  5. Q-tips for applying glue

*Inspired by Life with Moore Babies

 Then they were off and enjoying all the fun. (By the way, I had some older elementary kids the next day and they did all the activities too! So good fun for all ages.  They even enjoyed the sensory bin. 🙂 )

Motor Skills

Tonging for Apples

  1. bin of water (I used the one from the pumpkin float activity)
  2. apples (I put in five — the most bruised ones)
  3. tongs (I had two)

Pumpkin Toss

  1. took the pumpkins from the floating pumpkin activity (they all need stems)
  2. two paper plates (cut out the center and glue them together, unless you buy a sturdy paper plate)
  3. something that indicates where they should stand

*Idea from Growing a Jeweled Rose

Aluminum Foil Gourds

  1. aluminum foil wrapped small pumpkins, acorn squash, delicata squash
  2. aluminum foil in squares to rewrap

*Idea from Twodaloo

Very proud of their wrapping skills. 🙂

Sensory

Fall Sensory Bin

  1. a sensory bin container (I used a little red wagon.)
  2. oats (I also added rice puffs, because they were cheaper than the oats — turned out to be a good choice since they could munch on them too!)
  3. optional sensory bin stuff: cinnamon sticks, small pumpkins, fake apples, acorns and gourds (I got them in the $1 bin at Target — real ones would work too, of course.)
  4. bin tools (I had spoons, scoopers, measuring cups, muffin tins, ice cube trays, colander, spatula)

Leaves

  1. Leaves from walks and the kids brought some too.
  2. I did have contact paper on the wall.  My plan was to have them stick leaves on it, cover it and then cut it up for their own window decoration, but they didn’t seem too interested.  They ended up playing with leaves instead.
  3. I didn’t think of it until after, but a rake would’ve been  nice to play with here

Activity

  1. Hidden Scarecrows (I hid them, but once they found them, they started hiding them as well. I found them at the $1 section of Target too.)

Lesson Learned: Make sure there is less for me to do during the party (i.e. be more prepared), so I can have fun with my daughter.

For inspiration and more ideas, check out my Fall Theme Pinterest Board

 

Tot School

 

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