Introducing our easiest fall craft: Help your child put stickers on a pumpkin. That's it. You are done. However, as with all our activities, we will be discussing the vast language benefits of this task. Don't let the simplicity of the craft fool you. There are tons of opportunities for vocabulary instruction here folks.
Materials: stickers, pumpkin (real or artificial)
A quick word about the stickers: While you can use any sticker of your child's choosing, Target has some wonderful self-adhesive kits with 3D items that stick on for only two dollars. This year we got 3D bats and spikes! As you will see, they make for an interesting looking pumpkin!
Nouns: pumpkin, stickers, (Also include labels for whatever type of sticker you have. In this case, we used the words bats and spikes.)
Pronouns: I, me, you, we
Verbs: want, need, peel, push, put, decorate, help
Positional Words: on, behind, under, bottom, top, middle/center, sides, near, next to, over
Adjectives: more, scary, spooky, nice, sticky,
Questions: what, where
1. Gather your materials.
2. Model what you would like your child to do. You can demonstrate by placing a sticker or two on the pumpkin. Remember to give verbal directions while completing the task. This is a great time to model the appropriate use of pronouns and verb tenses for your kiddo. You can say, "We are going to decorate a pumpkin with stickers. First, I will peel off a sticker and then I will put it on the pumpkin. Now you can do it!"
2. As always, make your best effort to keep the stickers, or any materials, slightly out of reach so your child has to request them. Or, if your child has difficulty peeling off the stickers, they will need to ask you for help to get each one. You can model phrases such as, "more stickers," "We need more bats," "I want a scary sticker now," based on how many words your child typically uses in an utterance. You probably aren't going to model an entire sentence if your child is at a one-two word utterance level because that would be difficult for them to imitate. Yes, you can expose them to long sentences, but you want to give them models that they can successfully produce to decrease frustration.
3. Questions can be modeled throughout the task such as, "What sticker should we peel next?" or "Where should we put it?"
4. Let's talk about positional words, like the ones listed above. If you can do this as a following directions task, test your child's knowledge of positional words by giving them different commands with varying locations (i.e. "Put the bat on the top." "Push this sticker in the middle." "We need to put one at the bottom.") If your child has difficulty with positional words, instead, you can describe the locations of the stickers as they are placed on the pumpkin. This will allow for modeling of the vocabulary, without frustration. Most likely, this will be how you introduce positional vocabulary because children usually prefer to choose the location of each sticker. That's part of the fun of the activity.
5. You can infuse adjectives throughout the task by describing stickers and the project in general. You can say "I love our pumpkin. It is scary!" "The back of this spike is sticky," "Wow, spooky pumpkin!"
As always remember to have fun and be silly so your child wants to participate in more language activities with you!