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The Five Little Pumpkins by Tiger Tales and Ben Mantle is a padded hard cover book with bright engaging graphics that keep little people’s attention and is a perfect way to introduce a Multiple Intelligences book study.
While reading the book, make sure to stop and “picture walk” through each page. Discuss what is happening in the pictures, the colors of objects, use rich, descriptive phrases such as, “oh! I see there are some fuzzy spiders dangling down from their sticky webs all around the pumpkins! How many spiders are there? Let’s count them together! What colors are those spiders? Have you ever seen spiders like that in real life before? Where?” Emphasize rhyming words and the patterns found within the text.
Make sure to engage their own reflections about the story–“How would you feel if you were those pumpkins? How do you think they are feeling? Which pumpkin is your favorite? Why?”
I bought five miniature plastic treat pumpkins that we used to “narrate” the actions in the story. When the first pumpkin is talking in the story, we brought out one pumpkin, then two, etc. In this way, she is able to concretely assimilate what the concept of “five” looks and feels like. When the story was over, we used the pumpkins as containers to practice sorting pom poms by color, which is another foundational math concept. For added fine motor practice, use tongs instead of fingers to do the sorting.
After doing a thorough picture walk, we picked out a page that she liked best. We then replicated the illustrations using art materials. We decided to use craft sticks, pipe cleaners, orange foam squares, and construction paper:
Many children’s books have a natural rhythm to them, making it easier to pick up a “beat.” You can accentuate this by emphasizing end rhyme words. In addition, you can say the words to Five Little Pumpkins to the tune of “Five Little Monkeys” which they are probably already familiar with. We turned our pumpkins upside down and used them like drums while we were reading the text as well.
Another way to extend the musical experimentation is to fill the pumpkins up with water in decreasing amounts. Fill the first pumpkin up to the top, the second just a little less, and so on until the fifth pumpkin barely has any in it at all. For extra sensory experience add food coloring so it is easier to see the depth. Then bang on each pumpkin with craft sticks, forks, etc to hear the different tones created.
There are two types of body learners: those that need to use their gross motor skills (whole bodies) to process information and those that use their fine motor skills (tactile sensation) to process information. Some kids need both!
To engage whole body learning, encourage your child to use their bodies to “act out” the actions from the story. For example, when the pumpkins are sitting on the gate, ask them to pretend they are also sitting on a gate. (That might be tricky…they’ll need lots of balance..whoa!!) As the pumpkins roll down the hill, maybe they could so a few forward tucks?
Playing a game of “Hide and Feely” is a super way to encourage the visual processing centers within the brain. In effect, you are helping them make the connections to build images in their “mind’s eye.” This is extremely critical in the process of reading comprehension. To play “Hide and Feely” you will need to hide objects, preferably with different textures, inside the pumpkins. Then, without looking, ask your child to place their hands inside the pumpkins to see if they can figure out what the objects are. As they do this they are taking mental snapshots between they way things feel and the ways things look. Some ideas for hiding are: cotton balls, rocks, dried beans, a small favorite toy, pretend flowers, or play dough.
Intrapersonal learners need time alone for self reflection in order to process information. Make sure your little one has a special comfy place to curl up with their favorite books.
Interpersonal learners need to socialize and bounce ideas off of others to process information efficiently. If they are interpersonal AND verbal learners they may need a buddy to talk to about their book. Just sitting with and asking questions about what happened, what they liked, what do they think will happen next, etc. is exactly what they need. Otherwise, just sharing a book with a friend is perfect:
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