Tag Archives: encyclopedia

Giving Thanks to Loved Ones: A Thanksgiving Activity

21 Nov

Help children give thanks to all of the important people in their lives with this classroom and learning center activity from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities for Children 3 to 6.


  • Photos of children’s families
  • Large basket
  • Real or fake fruits, vegetables, and breads
  • Paper
  • Stapler
  • Glue

What to Do:

  1. Send a note home asking parents to send in family photos, or take pictures of family members in class during drop-off and pick-up times.
  2. At circle time, show the children the real or fake food. Discuss the qualities of each food.
  3. Let each child place a piece of food in the basket.
  4. Talk about what it means to be thankful. Focus the discussion on people that the children are thankful for and why, such as parents, siblings, friends, and so on.
  5. Give each child a pre-made book (three pieces of paper stapled together). Have them glue their photos in their books and dictate why they are thankful for that particular person.
  6. Send each child’s book home and encourage a discussion at home about thankfulness.

This activity was originally published in The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities for Children 3 to 6 and was submitted by Barb Lindsey from Madison City, Iowa.

A Spooky, Scary Witch’s Brew

24 Oct

Your little tricksters are in for quite the treat with this tasty witch’s brew! Craft this boo-tiful beverage during circle time to get your little ghouls in the haunting spirit!

Words to Use:

  • Cauldron
  • Ingredients
  • Brew


  • Large pot (cauldron)
  • Large spoon for stirring
  • Milk (1 1/2 cups)
  • Vanilla (2 teaspoons)
  • Orange juice concentrate (12-ounce can)
  • Water (1 1/2 cups)
  • Ladle
  • Cups

What to Do:

  1. Talk about the witch’s brew and how the children together will make a lucky witch’s brew. Emphasize that children will have to cooperate and take turns.
  2. Have the children take turns putting the ingredients in the cauldron and stirring. (With older children, you may want to ask the children to pretend to be witches and have the ingredients represent items associated with Halloween, for example, the orange juice concentrate could be pumpkin guts; the milk could be juice from a milkweed plant, etc.)
  3. Ladle the witch’s brew into a cup for each child.
  4. Enjoy!

Want to extend this spooktacular activity? Try some of these suggestions!

  • Before crafting your witch’s brew, have the children create their own witch hats made from construction paper.
  • Teach the children “The Witch’s Brew Song”

Stirring and stirring and stirring our bew
Stirring and stirring and stirring our brew

  • Read the children a Halloween book or listen to a spooky sounds CD while crafting the brew!

This Halloween activity is featured in both Everything for Fall and The GIANT Encyclopedia of Circle Time and Group Activities for Children 3 to 6  from Gryphon House.

Making Pumpkin Piñatas

17 Oct

Get your classroom in the spooky spirit with this fun arts and crafts activity!


  • Large balloons (one per child)
  • Newspaper
  • Plain newsprint paper
  • Glue
  • String
  • 4-5 bottles of orange paint
  • 1-2 bottles of green paint
  • Black tissue paper
  • Utility knife (adult use only)
  • Strawberry baskets (one per child)
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker

What to Do:

  1. Ask a parent volunteer to blow up one balloon for each child in your class. The balloons should be approximately 4″ to 6″ inches in diameter.
  2. Cover the tables with newspaper. This is a messy project!
  3. Make papier-mâché using water and glue (two parts water to one part glue).
  4. The easiest way for young children to cover their balloons is to paint a whole sheet of newspaper with the glue/water mixture, place the balloon in the middle (knotted end up), and wrap the paper around the balloon.
  5. Help the children pull up the ends of the newspaper to cover the knot (stem) on their balloons (pumpkins).
  6. Help them twist the ends of the newspaper to form a handle (stem) for the “pumpkin” before putting on the second layer of newspaper. Demonstrate how to wind string around the balloon with the ends coming out at the top so the piñata can be hung up, then apply another layer of newspaper.
  7. Use masking tape and a marker to make a name label for each pumpkin. Attach one label to the string hanging out and one to the strawberry basket. Place the pumpkin on top of the strawberry basket to dry. It will take about a week to harden.
  8. The next week, repeat the process, substituting blank newsprint paper for newspaper. Have the children put two more layers of newsprint around the pumpkin (no string this time). Allow it to dry for one week.
  9. The next week, have the children paint the handles green and let dry.
  10. The next day, have them paint their pumpkins orange. Let dry overnight.
  11. Ask a parent volunteer to make holes in the tops of the pumpkin piñatas (to put goodies inside).
  12. Cut out shapes from black tissue paper. Encourage the children to glue the shapes to their pumpkin piñatas to make jack-o-lanterns.
  13. At your classroom Halloween party, have the children fill their piñatas with goodies they brought for each other from home and take them home.

More to Do:

Bring in a “real” piñata for the children to explore.

Related Book:

Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

This activity was provided by Linda Ford, from Sacramento, CA for inclusion in the GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities for Children Ages 3 to 6 from Gryphon House. To purchase your own copy of this book, visit our website.


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