Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tot School + PreK Learning Activities: Letter P for Pomegranates, Piano, Pinecones, Pigs, and More!

This is the first time in our Letter of the Week Tot School experience that we've skipped around the alphabet. We jumped to the Letter P even though we should have been doing the letter I, but the fabulous seasonal produce we had particularly the pomegranates and pumpkins inspired us to mix it up! As with all of my Tot School posts, we include Preschool Learning Activities too, so thanks for checking out our fun learning activities. 

Taste: For taste, we focused on pomegranates and popcorn. Caterpillar (2) had so much fun seeding the pomegranates with me and the sensory exploration that came with that process. He tasted, smelled, felt and examined them. I also encouraged lots of observation. We noticed the seeds would sink in the water while the pulp (I think it's called pulp) would float. You can see that he really leaned into to observe the differences. Plus, the seeding process was much more enjoyable for me done in this way!

Once we were nearly done, he decided to just have 
fun plunging his hand into the light pink water!

Our other taste exploration related to the letter P was popcorn! Wild Thing and Caterpillar both love popcorn, and it worked well with Wild Thing's current learning right now as they are focusing on measurements at school and he is starting to read and spell basic words, so pop in popcorn was a fun word for him to spell and read. 

Last March, I read Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating and learned that basic popping corn (the kind I would typically use for popping popcorn on the stovetop) could also easily be popped in the microwave -- genius!! It took me a bit of time to perfect it, but I really love making popcorn this way because it tastes good, is easy and allows me to purchase organic/GMO-free popcorn at a really reasonable price. (I typically get a large bag of kernals for about $2.00, less than any box of microwave popcorn which usually holds three bags. The bag of kernals gives me months of popcorn snacks). My winning technique is to put about 1/3 cup of popcorn and 1.5 TBS of oil in a paper bag, set the paper bag in a glass pyrex (because the oil soaks through the bag a bit) and pop for 3 minutes. Every microwave is different, so you might have to experiment a bit to get it right. Wild Thing loves helping me measure, but he loves eating the popcorn even more. 

We used our chopsticks to make our popcorn snacktime a fun fine motor activity too! 

Sight - For site, we focused on the colors pink and purple looking for pink and purple flowers on our walks, hunting for pink and purple paint samples at the hardware store (while Daddy got some supplies for a few fix-it projects), creating a paint sample sticky collage and some pumpkin painting! Here's what our paint sample sticky collage became... 

...and our Pumpkin Painting inspired by ABC Kids by Simon Basher
a book we continue to perpetually recheck from the library (grandparent Christmas gift hint!)

In our Letter P produce set-up, you can see our painted pumpkins. 

Sound - I grew up playing the piano, so I knew that piano would be the Letter P thing that we can hear. It is one of my favorite sounds in the world, and I am so proud of Wild Thing who easily picks out the piano when he hears it in a pop son on the radio -- he gets quite excited in fact. Both of the boys also do well (most of the time) playing the piano with one finger at a time. To extend our learning, I used white and black paint swatches to "make" a piano with them. Wild Thing loves patterns, another P word, so noticing the patterns of the piano keys and recreating it with the paint swatches was perfect. 

Touch - For touch, we did some pinecone hunting and discussed the textures of the pinecones and how the "younger" pinecones varied from the "older" ones (meaning the pinecones that had not really opened yet versus the ones that had). Wild Thing had fun finding some of our painted pinecones from last year that we hung in a tree and had now fallen among the leaves. You can check out our pinecone painting activity here

Smell - For the sense of smell, we stopped along our school walks to smell pine trees and pine needles that we happened upon along the way. I rarely take my camera with us on those walks or my phone, so I didn't get any photos, but I love that pine smell and the boys did too. Before moving to Southern California from New England, my assumption was that there were no pines here, but I am glad to say that there are. 

Finally, to wrap it up, I've got one bonus share - our Pig Basket! I searched for any books we had that featured pigs and what I found were two perfect books: Pinata by Ken Locsmandi and Sebastian A. Jones and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. I loved that the both featured other Letter P words.

Oh, we also went on a Letter P Hunt at the park and on our walk home from the park and found so many letter Ps: on Stop signs, Park signs, Private Property Signs and much more. I've shared the photos from our Letter P Scavenger Hunt on my Facebook Page. Plus, we ate peanuts at a picnic table at the playground -- as you can see, Letter P inspired lots of fun learning activities.

What learning fun have you been having lately? 

More Posts You Might Love: 
Tot School: Letter B
Learning through Play with Apples
Letter D + ABC Activities from The Kid's Co-Op


  1. I love the tasting addition to learning!

  2. that was probably the prettiest wash up ever! would love if you came over and shared this on our #kidsinthekitchen linky