Category Archives: Feelings

Are You a Happy Pumpkin?

Halloween is the perfect time to talk about feelings with young children – and American Sign Language is a wonderful way to help children connect visual cues with feeling concepts, to help them develop an understanding of their own feelings as well as empathy for the feelings of others.  Here’s a fun song to introduce feeling signs to kids.  Extend the activity by drawing a simple pumpkin face on a whiteboard and asking the child to help you draw the appropriate expressions for each feeling.

“Pumpkin Feelings” (Click on the links to see videos of the key signs)

If you’re a happy pumpkin, clap your hands.

If you’re a happy pumpkin, clap your hands.

If you’re a happy pumpkin, then your face will show us something, so

If you’re a happy pumpkin, clap your hands.

Little Hands and Big Hands coverFind more hands-on signing activities like this one in Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together by Kathy MacMillan, photographs by Kristin Brown.  (Huron Street Press, 2013).

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Perfect Pumpkins Storytime

Recommended Books

Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz. (New York, Little Simon, 2006)

This simple board book is a perfect silly-not-scary Halloween read aloud for baby and toddler programs. Though the book itself is a bit small, its lift-the-flap format is perfect for choral reading (provide individual copies for each parent and let them read along with the group) or for a flannelboard treatment.

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin: Learning About Pumpkin Harvests by Robin Michal Koontz. (Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books, 2011)

A lovely nonfiction read aloud, this book pairs simple text with beautiful watercolor illustrations. Even those who know all about pumpkins will learn something from the fun facts here. (Did you know that pumpkins can be blue?)

Magnetboard

Pumpkin Feelings

This activity enhances social skills and self-expression by making children aware of feelings and how they are expressed. Print out several large clip art pictures of pumpkins and laminate them. Attach magnetic strips to the back and place the pumpkins on the magnetboard, then invite the children to help you decorate your pumpkins. Ask them to suggest different feelings the  pumpkins could show. For each feeling, ask them to describe what the pumpkin would look like if it was showing that feeling. (For example, a happy pumpkin would be smiling.) Then use a dry-erase marker to draw the pumpkin’s face on before singing this song.

“Pumpkin Feelings”

(to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If you’re a happy pumpkin, show a smile.

If you’re a happy pumpkin, show a smile.

If you’re a happy pumpkin, then your smile will surely show it.

If you’re a happy pumpkin, show a smile.

If you’re a sad pumpkin, cry some tears…

If you’re a scared pumpkin, widen your eyes…

If you’re a silly pumpkin, stick out your tongue…

 Fingerplays and Songs

Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin, turn around

Pumpkin, pumpkin, touch the ground

Pumpkin, pumpkin, stomp your feet

Pumpkin, pumpkin, trick or treat!

Picking Pumpkins

(to the tune of “Skip to My Lou”)

Picking pumpkins from the vine,

Picking pumpkins from the vine,

Picking pumpkins from the vine,

Picking pumpkins in autumn time.

Pumpkin Pie

I dug up some earth (mime digging)

And planted a seed (mime planting seed)

I gave it some water,

Because that what seeds need. (mime watering seed)

I waited and waited

While the sun shone down (make a circle with your arms to represent the sun)

And soon a little sprout

Came up from the ground. (crouch down)

It grew and it grew

And became a long vine (slowly stand up, stretching arms out like vines)

It seemed to take

Such a long long time.

Soon there was a flower (cup hands open on top of head as if a flower is growing there)

Then a yellow pumpkin grew (make a ball with hands on top of head)

It got bigger and bigger (spread arms to show pumpkin growing)

And it turned orange too.

I picked that great big pumpkin

And I rolled it away (mime rolling pumpkin along)

And I cut into pieces

And I cooked all day. (mime mixing)

I added some butter

And some sugar so sweet

Some eggs and salt and cinnamon (mime adding ingredients)

And made quite a treat.

To celebrate autumn,

That is why.

Would you like

some pumpkin pie? (mime offering pie)

Craft

Pumpkin Lantern

Cultures around the world celebrate the abundance of the harvest with festivals of thanksgiving. Many cultures also use lanterns in their festivals to represent the longer nights.

Materials: paper bowl, black construction paper, yellow tissue paper, crayons, glue and scissors.

Directions:

  1. Cut eyes and mouth shapes from the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Place yellow tissue paper in the bowl to give the illusion of a glowing lit lantern.
  3. Decorate the bowl as desired.
  4. Glue the edge of the bowl to the black construction paper.
  5. Decorate as desired. You can use yellow crayons to show the glow of light on black paper.