Candy Cane Hunt

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The weather was so pretty yesterday! The mild temperatures and bright blue skies were calling us outside. How could we resist! Normally the children have the best time dreaming up all kinds of pretend play while I rake endless piles of leaves but I wanted to do a little something extra for fun. We picked up a box of candy canes on our grocery run Sunday night and I pulled them out to play a fun game we’ve played for a couple years now- Candy Cane Hunt!

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It’s sort of a twist on the Easter egg hunt tradition. Instead of hiding eggs I hide candy canes throughout the yard, hanging on low tree branches, or toys. The girls had a blast finding as many as they could! My little man was content to break open and eat the first one he saw. :)

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This is such a cozy time of year. The house is so warm and inviting to stay snuggled up but we’ve wanted to get out more. Soak up the Winter sunshine and expend all the energy we can. If you’re looking for a fun way to get out and play this would be such a fun idea! Normally I’ll go out and hide the candy canes while they nap and then it’s a super fun surprise when they wake up!

How are you getting out to play lately? Or what are your favorite holiday games? I always love hearing your ideas too!

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you know me you know I l-o-v-e Christmas time! You know what else I love? Sending out happy mail! I have so enjoyed your friendships and support in this little space and I’m thrilled to share I’ve partnered up with some of my most favorite small businesses to bring you 12 Days of giveaways.

Starting on Monday, for the next 12 week days I’ll share a different giveaway each day. I’m so excited to introduce you to some of my favorite tools, resources, and treasures! Best of all I’ll get to send them to 12 winners to get to enjoy them in person! Be on the look out for daily postings! There’s no limit so feel free to enter them all. All giveaways end on Wednedsay, December 12 and packages will ship out the following day! Hopefully they’ll arrive in time for Christmas! How super fun is that!?

Here are some of the great treasures you’ll find in the giveaways:

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Color + Kindness: A-Z Bible Truth Cards

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Tales of Buttercup Grove: a full set of books

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Crafty Lia: a handmade crayon roll

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Daily Grace Co: Children’s Study + a FULL set of their scripture cards & conversation cards.

….plus 8 others coming your way soon!

Be sure to follow me @little.learner on Instagram to participate and win!

Pumpking BINGO

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I really think some of the best learning happens when they have no idea that’s what they’re doing! Yesterday we played pumpkin BINGO and had a blast- they didn’t know it but while playing they were also practicing color and shape recognition! Not to mention they practiced fine motor skills and problem solving as we put the game together! This activity is perfect for preschoolers and kindergarteners too!

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It’s a simple print and play activity with very minimal prep! Grab the scissors and glue, add a little candy corn and you’re all set! Here’s how to play:

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Start by cutting out the pumpkin shapes. Then let your littles have fun covering the BINGO grid and gluing down the pumpkins. This makes each board an individual card with varying possibilities for winning the game. Now, the real fun begins! I added an extra set of pumpkin shapes to a mason jar so I could pull from them to call out pumpkin shapes.

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The girls had a great time covering the shapes they had with candy corns and go SO excited when they could call out BINGO! This BINGO grid is intentionally smaller than an average board. The frustration ceiling for preschoolers is typically lower than a 5x5 grid so I simplified it as they learn the game. As they grow we’ll try bigger boards. To win BINGO all they had to do was get one straight line. Simple and easy enough to win while keeping them engaged and learning!

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You’ll find this activity and so many more pumpkin themed play and learn fun in this month’s calendar. Click the button below to find out more!

10 Pumpkin Books Perfect for October

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Hello October and Hello EVERYTHING pumpkin themed! I am 100% guilty of pumpkin craze and I fully support it in our home! From piles of mini pumpkins and a big ol’ giant pumpkin at the front porch we are pumpkin happy over here! It’s also no secret that we LOVE a good picture book! :) So today I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite pumpkin books! I borrowed all of these from the library but I do have a treasury of my own pumpkin books too (they’re just in storage somewhere after our move last year.) Ok, so lets start from the top:

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The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

She’s my number one, go-to author for most things non fiction! I love Gail Gibbons Pumpkin Book and my littles do to! The brightly coloring illustrations and pages filled with great facts, history, and fun ideas are perfect for inquisitive little minds!

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Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell

I love this story because it does a perfect job transitioning from all the apple fun in September to the pumpkin play in October! Its also a great story about family time together too!

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How BIG Could Your Pumpkin Grow? by Wendell Minor

Travel across the country with the imaginative pumpkin story! From rocketship pumpkins in Florida to hot air balloon pumpkins in New Mexico this book is bursting with creativity! This book is a lot of fun to read and the pictures really spark the imagination!

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Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

I love this book to go along with our studies on the pumpkin life cycle! It’s perfect for littles because it’s not full of a lot of words but it has great pictures and perfectly tells the story from seed to pumpkin! The pencil illustrations are pretty great too!

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The Biggest Pumpkin Surprise Ever! by Steven Kroll

Anyone else love mouse stories? What is it about them that’s just so sweet and endearing in a picture book? Anyway, this story is a precious tale of two mice caring for a pumpkin with high hopes of enjoying their growing treasure!

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Plumpy, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo

Peter the tiger is on a hunt for the perfect pumpkin! This would be a great story to accompany a trip to the pumpkin patch! The sing-song, rhythm and rhyme in this song is so much fun! It’s a short but sweet story with bright colorful pictures! Great for little ones as well as school age little too!

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The Pumpkin Fair by Eve Bunting

Y’all know I LOVE a good Fall Fair! :) So naturally this story was a favorite! Sadie bug keeps asking me to read it again and again. I think it’s the fair loving heart inside her too! This cute story tells about a fantastic pumpkin fair complete with pumpkin patch, pumpkin music, pumpkin games and ends with a wonderful display of pumpkin carved faces! The story bounces along the a rhythm with rhyme making it just SO much fun!

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The Bumpy Little Pumpkin by Margery Cuyler

This story is a Fall companion to the winter story, The Biggest Best Snowman (which I’m a big fan of too!) I love that this story reminds us that little people can do big things too! Little Nell feels small compared to her big sisters but her forest friends work together to remind her that she’s got great ideas and can do wonderful things! Little Nell’s sweet mama loves on her little girl and the big sisters come around in the end.

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See It Grow Pumpkins by Jackie Lee

Non fiction is a big favorite over here! The See It Grow series doesn’t disappoint. It’s a book perfect sized for little hands. The real life photographs are engaging and the facts are presented so that little ones can grasp them and enjoy learning!

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Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Rebeca Estelle is a funny lady who does not like pumpkins at all because of a season where they were the only option she had to eat. When a pumpkin truck drops a pumpkin surprise Rebeca Estelle finds herself face to face with the produce she despises most! This story suits better for readers who can listen a little longer but it’s a good one and worth the time. It teaches a good message too and I always like that! :)

Want to see more of our book picks?

Be sure to check out these blog posts:

Our Favorite Apple Books

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This is such a sweet little story. Apple Farmer Annie owns her own apple business and we read about her daily adventures preparing to set up at the market and selling her apple goods! The colorful illustrations and recipe for apple treats at the end of the book make it extra special!

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I LOVE this story! It’s about a precious family on an apple picking adventure. It’s includes lots of non-fiction facts, activity ideas, an applesauce recipe, a poem and a song too!

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This one is definitely a classic! Hilarious counting fun and how great is it to repeat

“fiddle-dee-fee!” haha!

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This cute trio try balancing a stack of apples on each of their heads! They pile up 10 and try their best to protect them from all kinds of funny challenges until a collision and everyone ends up sharing apples piled up together!

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We really enjoyed this book because it does a great job of showing numbers, number value along with a cute, easy to read story. Perfect for reading to littles who stay captured for shorter lengths of time.

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This story does a great job of sharing the cycle of life in an apple tree. It covers seasons beyond just the Fall- what the apple tree looks like and does in the Winter, Spring, and Summer too!

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This story of a little goat ends with a sweet surprise. His apple snacking turns out to be an exciting solution to a problem he didn’t know he had!

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Little fox is on the hunt for mysteriously missing apples! He discovers his thoughtful friends collected the apples to celebrate Little Fox in a surprise party!

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This one was another favorite! We LOVED the cut out shapes to make new images with each turn of the page. It’s bright, colorful, but simple and fun! It’s a perfect story to pair with shape study and the cycle of life for an apple tree and it’s inhabitants! It’s sure to be a hit!

Have another apple story you and your littles enjoy? I’d love to hear all the suggestions! Send them our way! And if you’re looking for some activities to go with those great books I have just the thing for you! Be sure to check out the All About Apples Play and Learn Calendar available on my resource page!

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Apples + Preschool

We have had the most fun learning and playing this month! Apples are so much more than our favorite snack these days! We have tasted them, counted them, painted them, traced them, colored them… the list could go on!

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Our September Play & Learn Calendar theme is “All About Apples” and we have or will do almost everything you can image with that theme! We started out with an apple tasting to kick off the calendar! It was really no competition between the apples when my girls discovered there was a “pink” apple [Pink Lady] they were sold!

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The STEM loving hearts of my littles were so HAPPY to dissect apples and compare and contrast the differences in apples depending which way you slice them.

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If you haven’t noticed we’re BIG fans of color over here so this activity in particular had my Sadie bug super happy! I would read her the color name and she would color in the apples. Look at that sweet face! So proud!

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…And we’re only half way through! It’s not too late if you want to join in the fun! Grab your All About Apples Play & Learn Calendar here:

…and don’t forget next Wednesday, September 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day! What a perfect day to do an apple activity or two! :)