Tag: craft

FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

FREE (or nearly-free) pumpkin activity ideas

Fall is officially here! Pumpkins are everywhere, which is the perfect opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants with your little ones. I want to share some of our favorite FREE (or almost-free) pumpkin activity ideas with all of you today. I’d love to see/hear about your pumpkin fun, too–tag me on Instagram (@rollingprairiereaders) so I can see what your little ones are learning!

Pumpkin Activity Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers | free pumpkin learning for kids, recommended pumpkin picture books, pumpkin printables, crafts

Please keep in mind that this blog uses affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission if you purchase anything recommended here, at no additional cost to you!

Hands-On Science Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We bought a pie pumpkin from our grocery store (almost free!) and planted the seeds in cups with a little bit of soil, lots of sunlight, and some water. In just a few days, our seeds have sprouted, giving the girls a front-row seat at real-life, hands-on science! We’ll roast our leftover seeds and bake up a tasty treat this weekend, too.

Printable Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

We use printables from TeachersPayTeachers.com for many of our seasonal lessons, and we found some of the cutest activities that are absolutely FREE! You will need to set up an account at TpT, but I promise you’ll be back frequently.

Pumpkin Investigation Sheet
I See a Pumpkin Emergent Reader (counting & colors)

These activities are no longer free, but are really affordable!
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin CROWNS for boys and girls
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin cut & paste

Pumpkin Book Ideas:

We checked out books about pumpkins from our local library (also FREE!). Our favorites are:

STEM and Sign Language Pumpkin Activity Ideas:

Finally, we are watching the Rachel and the Treeschoolers Plants & Flowers episode, which covers how a seed grows, what it needs to thrive, and the process of photosynthesis–all while singing and learning American Sign Lnaugage! Learn more about the episode here and download the FREE Activity Guide here.

Join us for 31 days of FREE pumpkin activity ideas!
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Solar Eclipse Tips and Resources for Kids

Solar Eclipse Tips and Resources for Kids

If you’re like me, your newsfeed is FULL of news and updates about the upcoming U.S. solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. There’s a lot of information out there, so I wanted to grab the “best of the best” for all of you to peruse quickly before Monday.

We like to use major events like these to pique our girls’ interest in new ideas (like the solar system!) and go deeper in our learning while interest is high.

What is a solar eclipse, and why is it such a big deal?

This video from SciShow Kids explains it perfectly!

How can I watch it (safely)?

If you live in this zone, you’ll be able to see some or all of the eclipse in your own yard!

Map of the 2017 solar eclipse, courtesy of NASA
Source: NASA

If you’re not able to see it outside, be sure to check out this live stream!

Know the Risks, Don’t Peek!

Note: Some scientists are disputing Dr. Schecter’s post, so use caution and make the best decision for your family. 

Helpful Idea to Try with Kids:


Other Ways to Watch the Solar Eclipse:

Learn more about the solar system with these great solar eclipse resources!

More Solar Eclipse Activities:

If your kids are like mine, they will likely be talking about the eclipse for days (or weeks!). Take advantage of their excitement to learn more about the sun AND take some time to preserve their memories of the day.

Solar System Book Recommendations | Solar Eclipse 2017

Book Recommendations:

My girls LOVE to read, so I always try to have a few non-fiction books available about the topic we’re studying. Visit your local library, or add a few new books to your collection. We have not found many eclipse-specific books, but are using the experience to learn more about the solar system in general. As an Usborne Books & More Consultant, I recommend these five great books:

Big Book of Stars and Planets from Usborne Books & More

The Solar System from Usborne Books & More

Sun, Moon, and Stars from Usborne Books and More

100 Things to Spot in the Night Sky from Usborne Books & More
Technically not a book, but a box of information cards.

Secrets of Our Earth from Usborne Books & More

Additional Resources:

  • NASA has set up a homeschool section on their solar eclipse website, including family activities and lesson plans for all ages.
  • I will continue to update this post as new resources become available!
5 Free Invitations to Play: Red, White, and Blue

5 Free Invitations to Play: Red, White, and Blue

It’s hard to believe that we are already in the middle of summer! If your kids are anything like my kids, the bickering has started and you are on the hunt for simple, FUN activities too keep their hands and minds busy for at least part of the day.

I am excited to share our all-new red, white, and blue invitations to play!

Scroll down for our freebie!

In case you missed the introduction to our invitation to play series (click here), let me give you a brief introduction to how we structure these fun, simple activities at our house.  

Lunch has ended, it’s raining outside, and you’re looking for a screen-free way to fill up some time so you can send an e-mail, unload the dishwasher, or (gasp!) read a book without being interrupted.

An invitation to play is an easy, open-ended activity that uses just a few materials found around the house. Keeping these activities set aside for special times keeps them interesting and intentionally engaging for when you need 10-15 minutes to get something else done! Best of all, these simple materials can be mixed and matched for countless other activities throughout the year.

This week, I have a freebie for you: a download with FIVE simple invitations to play, including a materials list!


Here’s a sneak peek at the activities:

  • Drop cut straw pieces into an empty Parmesan cheese container
  • Playdough* with colored gems & straw pieces
  • Sorting red & blue pom poms by color
  • Count pom poms and match to Uno cards (1-9)
  • Lace red and blue noodles* on a string

* Be sure to download the freebie for our favorite playdough recipe AND directions for dyeing noodles.


Grab your 5 FREE 4th of July learning activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten students. | red, white, and blue | learning at home, tot school, July 4th, hands-on learning

Just fill out this quick form to let me know you want the freebie!


Melissa @ Rolling Prairie Readers

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Grab your 5 FREE learning activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten students. | red, white, and blue | learning at home, tot school, July 4th, hands-on learning