Five Little Pumpkins STEM & Small World Play
The past couple of years we did similar invitations such as: Five Little Pumpkins STEM with Natural Wooden Blocks, Five Little Pumpkins STEM Invitation with Jumbo Interlocking Blocks . This year we added different building materials and figurines to integrate small world play into the invitation. The beauty of STEM is that you can do the same invitation and modify or enhance the process by providing different materials.
To set this invitation you will need tree blocks (with bark, without) , wooden hollow blocks, translucent colored blocks, gem blocks, smaller sized pumpkins, a witch, ghosts, spiders, and trees. You can read or sing the story Five Little Pumpkins followed by inviting the children to create a gate or small world play of the story.
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
First one said "Oh my, it's getting late!"
Second one said "There are witches in the air,"
Third one said "but we don't care!"
Fourth one said "Let's run and run and run."
Fifth one said "I'm ready for some fun!"
Ooo ooo went the wind, and out went the lights,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
Integrating literacy or songs followed by a STEM invitation is a great way to deepen their connection and to make the book/song come to life. The goal with this invitation was to inspire the child to recreate the story/song through building. Depending on the child's age they may need your guidance, engagement, or collaboration to begin the building process. If that is the case, a lot of language and mirroring what is going to be done and what you are going to do together will help guide the process. If they are old enough you can prompt questions before building of "Can you build a gate for the pumpkins just like the story or song we just read?" Followed by letting them build in their own way.
Opportunities for hands-on play with different materials allow children to learn and extend their knowledge and creative thinking skills. STEM invitations are designed to engage and stretch their thinking by introducing/extending the engineering and design process through building which is a natural fit due to the fact that in the early years a child's work is to constantly problem solve through play. This invitation is a perfect opportunity to change a building invitation to challenge the child to think and create in new ways, while enhancing their interpretation and perception of the song or story they just read.