Every fall, I LOVE to do a few activities on a Friday that are far from ordinary. I like to try to find things that I think my kids will enjoy and that will hopefully not cost too much money. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to work in some parent volunteers that may not be able to volunteer weekly or even monthly.
So, yesterday was that day! I found TONS of ideas just using Pinterest and Google. Originally, I had around six activities planned, but I took out two of the activities. I LOVED the idea of taking Mr. Potato Head pieces and freezing them and letting the kids try to get them out of the ice, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without making a huge mess and it taking forever. Seriously though, I REALLY want to do this activity one day!
Anyway, here are the activities we did.
The pumpkin Play Doh was one of my favorites. When I first started looking for something like this, most of the recipes called for you to cook. Well, I didn't have time for that and I've done that before and it's a HUGE mess (at least to this girl that hates cleaning). I ended up finding this recipe at Fun at Home with Kids. You just need canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie seasoning, and cornstarch.
Now, before you start, let me give you a little advice. In my mind, I thought it would just take a little cornstarch. For the first group of kids, I had around a cup of pumpkin in their bowls. Well, that was way too much because it was soaking up the cornstarch. After that first group, I gave each student around 2 teaspoons (small plastic spoons) worth of the pumpkin. Then, I gave them around 4 teaspoons worth of cornstarch. The kids started off by stirring it with spoons and then they switched to using their hands. Be prepared to add more cornstarch.
Also, for a class of 22, I used around 2 or 3 of the big containers of pumpkin, 1 small container of the pumpkin spice, paper bowls, and 4 boxes of cornstarch. I also found all of the ingredients I needed at Target. Sure you can get them at other places, but my Target did have everything.
Another of the activities I did was pumpkin bowling. Now, I'm going to be honest, I've used the fake pumpkins before, but this time I couldn't find them probably because I tried to find them two days before Halloween. So, I improvised. I got a couple of sponge balls (around the size of a cantaloupe) from our PE teacher. We set up paper towels and the kids threw the sponge balls at them to knock them over. I've done this activity several years in a row and the kids love it! I usually have a parent do this activity outside my classroom, since it can be a little louder than the other activities.
The other activity that we did was we made apple volcanoes. Why apple volcanoes? Well, I wanted to make pumpkin volcanoes, but I felt like those were going to be expensive and complicated. I read all about the pumpkin volcanoes and started thinking, "Why wouldn't this work with apples?" I wanted all my kids to have the experience. As a group, it wouldn't have been as much fun and it would have only taken two minutes. Plus, I couldn't figure out how I was going to not spend $200 on pumpkins and supplies. I had never seen an apple volcano, but I just had a feeling it might just work.
For this activity, we used eight aluminum trays, two dozen Granny Smith apples, 11 bottles of white vinegar, 8 boxes of baking soda, and 2.5 food coloring sets (10 bottles). The one thing I would have done differently is I would have gotten more food coloring. I had extra in my classroom, but if I hadn't, we wouldn't have had enough. Like the pumpkin PlayDoh, I found all the ingredients I needed at Target.
Now, here are a few tricks I did to try to keep things from getting too messy. First, I made sure that all the tables were covered with bulletin board paper. This meant when we were finished, we just took off the paper and chunked it. Next, I made sure I got a HUGE garbage can from our custodians. This allowed us to throw away the apple volcanoes as we finished. It also allowed us to get rid of the pumpkin Play Doh. Also, I decided before we started that the kids weren't going to keep the pumpkin Play Doh. Since it was made with food, it molds pretty quickly. I didn't want my kids to take it home, it stay in their backpacks, and end up molding over the weekend.
Hope you have a great time if you decide to do this. We did all the activities in around an hour. I also had four parent volunteers that helped set up, run the stations, and clean up. Don't forget if this is a little overwhelming that you can do one activity pretty easily.
Have a great day and go Dawgs!