As a former first grade teacher, I LOVE creating activities for preschoolers for my young twins.
I’m always on the look out for activities to promote their development that also incorporate lots of fun!
The teacher in me thoroughly enjoys spending oodles of time creating lessons and challenging activities for my preschoolers.
But nothing can deflate me faster than all of my hard work being a bust.
Let’s face it….sometimes, we need these rambunctious kids to stay busy with the activity for longer than 3 minutes!!!
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Boys VS Girls?
Does your son spend 62 seconds with the activity and then is ready for the next?
If you’re a boy-mama, I bet you feel me!
My friends with little girls always tell me how their sweet precious daughters will sit and color for an hour!!!
Meanwhile, my rowdy twin boys have connected the markers end to end and are busy having a sword fight!!
Quick Activities for Preschoolers that Aren’t Over Quickly!
I love preparing activities for kids at home. It’s the perfect way to still get my teacher-fix since I’m now a stay at home mom.
But there’s nothing more disappointing than to go to all of that work to have the boys completely uninterested.
And with our crazy busy life, I need activities I can pull together quickly!
When I find an activity that keeps the attention of these wild twin boys of mine, I get super excited!
I am not exaggerating when I say that my boys spent hours over the next several days with this pumpkin activity!!
Talk about getting bang for my buck!
And this gives you time to get all kinds of things done—such as your fall decorating!
The Pumpkin Hammering Activity
By the way, this is by no means my own original idea.
Recently, at the therapy center, they had a pumpkin and golf tees for the kids to hammer!
What a great idea!!
I went straight to the store and bought 2 largish pumpkins and a package of colorful golf tees.
Why two pumpkins? Can’t they just share one pumpkin?
Um….yeah…if I want one kid to be hammered in the head! If you have twins or deal with sibling rivalry, just splurge on a second pumpkin….totally worth the extra four bucks!
Do I give my kids a real hammer?
If you’re brave.
If you will be right next to your child for the ENTIRE activity, then I suppose a real hammer is do-able.
But, my goal was to have the twins busy for longer than 62 seconds WITHOUT needing me right beside them.
What You Need for the Pumpkin Hammering Activity
Prepare the activity
I love fall activities for preschoolers and this pumpkin activity is great because there’s very little prep (other than fetching the pumpkins!)
I set up in the dining room so I could work in the kitchen and still easily oversee the activity. I pour the golf tees into two separate plastic bowls and place next to each pumpkin.
Kids get so excited with pumpkins!! Especially their very own!
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Get this Pumpkin Party Started!
Then if the pumpkins are dirty, you can do a little pumpkin scrubbing! My boys love water and dirt, so combine the two and they are in heaven!
Now, Stop!….Hammer time!
(Cheesy, I know, but I couldn’t resist!!!)
Before I let the boys touch a hammer (even a kid hammer), I go over all of the expectations of the activity.
Here’s how this might sound:
This is super exciting to hammer pumpkins but first, we have to talk about safety!! You will be hammering these little pegs into the pumpkin like this: (I demonstrate)
Now, let me ask….are we going to use the hammer to pound the table?
The boys respond: “NOOOOOO”
Are we going to hammer the cat?
Are we going to hammer our brother?
All of their responses should be NO!
Are we going to ONLY use the hammer to pound the pegs into the pumpkin?
They will say YES!
Okay, I know I can trust you boys to do the right thing and have self control, but should you decide to hammer anything other than a peg into a pumpkin, you will lose your hammer privilege.
No second chances, everybody understand??
After I have established my zero tolerance for possible emergency room visits, I model and explain how to hammer the golf tees.
First you place the pointy end of the peg on the pumpkin with your helper hand (that’s the left hand for both my boys) and hold it steady.
Now you hold the hammer with your worker hand (that’s the right hand for both my boys)
Next, you tap the end of the peg until it is all the way into the pumpkin!!
Model and Teach
Younger children and toddlers will likely need you to show them ‘hand over hand’ the first few times. In fact, you will probably need to go ahead and push the golf tee in just a smidgen to get them started.
The twins are 5 years old, and Adler was able to independently do this, but Beckem didn’t have the strength to make that first puncture into the pumpkin.
I also had to help Beckem with hammering ‘hand over hand’ the first several times so he could get the feel of it.
So that I didn’t have to stop every few minutes and get a peg started for Beckem, I went and stuck a bunch of the golf tees into his pumpkin so that all he had to do was hammer each one.
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What are they learning?
This simple activity for kids provides so many benefits!
Kids are working on:
- concentration & focus
- eye-hand coordination
- persistence (sometimes they have to hammer a lot of times before the peg is all the way in!)
- bilateral coordination which is simply the ability to use both sides of the body in a coordinated way such as holding the paper with one hand and writing with the other
- fine motor strengthening (strengthening the small muscles found in hands, fingers, wrists, etc.)
- pincer grasp (holding a small object between the thumb and index finger)
Your child needs all of these skills for eventual independent daily living and this is such a fun way to work on that!
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Keep it going….
These are perfect indoor activities for toddlers or preschoolers! Even older children love hammering stuff! So let’s keep learning!
After the boys hammered a bunch of the golf tees into the pumpkin, I tied a piece of string around one golf tee. They thought it was fun to wrap the string around the tees and create different shapes.
You can use stickers to decorate your pumpkin! The twins were entertained for quite some time by putting mustaches, eyes, and other silly stickers on their pumpkins.
Stickers are another great fine motor activity!
Borrow from Potato Head
You can use your parts from Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head to create a Mr. Pumpkin Head!!
What if I don’t Have a Pumpkin?
What if it’s the wrong time of year to find a pumpkin or maybe you just don’t want to leave the house?
I bet you can round up things you already have at home! Some ideas are:
- styrofoam such as what is found in packaging
- cardboard box
- egg carton
- play dough
- kinetic sand
- the ground
What else can I milk out of this?
You can place colored stickers on your hammering object and tell your child to hammer all of the blue stickers and then all of the yellow and so on. Or if you have the colored golf tees, he can hammer the matching golf tee into the same colored sticker. If you don’t have the colored tees, just color the end of yours with a marker.
You can draw shapes on the pumpkin, styrofoam, box, or whatever you are using, and have kids hammer the shape.
You can draw large dots in the shape of a square (or whatever shape you like) and as the child hammers a golf tee into each dot, he creates the shape!
Write letters or put alphabet stickers on your pumpkin and have the child hammer all of the letters, only the vowels, lower case letters, etc.
Another variation is to write the letters on the end of the golf tees and have your child match them to the letters on the pumpkin.
You can easily target whatever skill your child is working on at the time.
You can do all of the above activities using numbers!
There are endless ways to differentiate activities for preschoolers!
Such a great way for kids to learn while having FUN!
What are your favorite activities for fine motor skills?
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All content here should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the advice of your own health professional for any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or the health of others See full disclaimer.