Classroom Recipes: Pumpkin Playdough (2 Ingredients)

Kids love to create while they learn. Classroom recipes are the perfect way to make learning hands-on and memorable!

My boys love to make homemade playdough, especially pumpkin playdough!

This recipe is so easy and it only requires two ingredients. This makes it perfect for the classroom!

pumpkin playdough that only takes 2 ingredients


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • cornstarch (the amount will vary, we used about 2 cups+)

Dump the can of pumpkin puree into a bowl.

Begin to shake in the cornstarch about half a cup at a time.  Use a spoon or spatula to stir and combine.

use canned pumpkin to make natural playdiugh

Each brand of puree has a different level of moisture, so the amount of cornstarch will be based on it’s moisture level.

We used the Trader Joe brand puree and easily used 2 cups of cornstarch.

use cornstarch to make homemade playdough

Stir and add until it reaches a playdough-like texture.

Feel with your hands to ensure it is no longer sticky.

Keep adding cornstarch until it is no longer sticky.

If you accidentally add too much cornstarch, just add a few drops of water to soften it back up.

classroom recipes pumpkin playdough

The playdough should be the same consistency as regular store bough playdough.

Place it on a work station and let them play.

We used cookie cutters, rolling pins, Lego’s, etc., to make fun creations.

pumpkin play dough 2 ingredients

My boys loved this.

It is a great opportunity to work in some life skills and let them help “cook”.

pumpkin play dough

Store this in a Ziplock bag in the fridge for about 5 days.


 More Thanksgiving Activities for Kids:

Crystal is a Dallas Mom Blogger raising a houseful of boys. She is passionate about homeschooling her children, sharing activities for kids, as well as mommy resources and solutions like easy recipes for busy families.

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Printable

Did you know visual discrimination skills are an important part of learning how to read?

Developing this skill requires a lot of practice identifying the similarities and differences in pictures and symbols.

These printable gingerbread visual discrimination task cards are perfect for a fairy tale or gingerbread theme in your preschool, pre-k, or kindergarten classroom.

Keep reading to download your set of printable gingerbread visual discrimination task cards!

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Printable for Preschool and Kindergarten
Disclosure: Amazon links included below

Visual Discrimination Skills

You may have noticed that young children often confuse letters, such as the uppercase F and uppercase E. These two letters are very similar visually, with one exception.

A young child who needs more practice developing visual discrimination skills may confuse letters that have similar characteristics.

You can help your children develop visual discrimination skills by using activities that require them to closely look at pictures to identify the similarities and differences. These types of activities will help young children learn how to fluently identify letters and numbers.

Supplies Needed
Small manipulatives such as those listed below can be used to mark the pictures that are the same on each task card.

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Activity

Start by printing the pages on cardstock. Print as many copies as you will need for a small group activity.

Each page contains two different task cards, laminate the pages for durability and cut in half.

Next, place some small manipulatives like Unifix cubes, bingo chips, or flat floral marbles in the middle of your small group area so all the children in your small group can easily reach them.

Now, demonstrate for the children how to look carefully at each card and find the two pictures that are the same. Show them how to put one manipulative on top of each of the pictures that are the same on their task card.

Invite the children to describe the images on the task card and find the two that are the same.

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Activity for Preschool and Kindergarten

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Activity

To play, give one task card to each child in the group and invite the children to place one manipulative on top of each of the images on their task cards that are the same.

This activity is quick, so be sure to explain to the children that their cards can be traded with a friend after they have identified and marked the images.

You can also make an entire set of cards for each child in your small group. Hole punch each set of cards in the upper left corner and place the set on a book ring to create individual booklets. When a child completes a card he or she can flip to the next page in the booklet.

Gingerbread Visual Discrimination Printable

Gingerbread Same and Different Printable Activity for Preschool

To download the gingerbread visual discrimination printable click on the picture above.

More Gingerbread Resources:
Best Gingerbread Books for Kids
How to Make a Gingerbread Baby House
Gingerbread Characters Printable
Gingerbread Pocket Chart Game

Gingerbread Activities on Pinterest
Follow my Gingerbread board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

Wow Your Crowd with a Read Aloud at NAEYC

I recently had the honor of presenting at the annual NAEYC conference with Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool. Our session title was Wow Your Crowd with a Read Aloud: 10 Strategies to Increase Engagement and Interaction.

Today I am sharing the first five strategies for you below and Deborah will be sharing the other five strategies on her blog, Teach Preschool.

Wow Your Crowd with a Read Aloud Presentation at NAEYC 2014
Disclosure: Amazon links included below

Wow Your Crowd With a Read Aloud

We used two of our summer book study titles as inspiration for some of our presentation, The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease and Literacy Beginnings: A Pre-K Handbook by Fountas and Pinnell.

Wow Your Crowd Professional Development Session at NAEYC

Strategies to Increase Engagement and Interaction

Here are the first five strategies below. Keep reading for an overview of each strategy and then visit Teach Preschool for the other five!

1. Stamina
2. Vocabulary
3. Repetition
4. Narrative
5. Wordless Picture Books

Nursery Rhymes Build Reading Stamina


Stamina is the length of time children can listen to a story or look at a book independently. We all know that little kids have very little stamina! You can stretch the attention span of a child over time to help build stamina.

Step 1: Start with short, engaging books and gradually work your way up to reading longer books. When the books you read aloud are the right length for the children’s attention spans you will have more success wowing your crowd.

Step 2: Include simple rhyming books and books of classic fingerplays in your collection of short read-alouds. Short books are perfect for short attention spans!

Building Vocabulary through Read Aloud in Preschool


Children who have more background knowledge, or have been read to more often have larger vocabularies. When children understand the vocabulary used in a read aloud they will be more engaged and you will be better able to capture their attention.

One way to help define vocabulary words within a read aloud is to make motions for words, without interrupting the story. Invite the kids to make these motions with you as you read to help give these words meaning. For example, if the word paddle were used to describe how the baby ducks moved their feet in the book pictured above you could make paddling motions while reading aloud.

Repetition of Read Alouds in Preschool


“Repeated picture book reading of the same book (at least 3 times) increases vocabulary acquisition by 15-40%” From The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes lend themselves well to repeated reading, which helps build fluency and increase stamina.

While reading the same book over and over may not appeal to the adult doing the reading, it is important for increasing comprehension and vocabulary.

To really wow your crowd, read different versions of the same story and compare and contrast them. Repeated readings will lead to kids “falling in love” with a particular story. When a child really “loves” a book it opens up the possibilities for doing the same with other books, see where I’m going with this?

Retelling Going on a Bear Hunt in the Block Center


Narrating or retelling helps children understand what a story is and how story structure works. Children enjoy retelling stories independently in centers using tools and props such as flannel boards and puppets.

When children are given the freedom to explore a story in depth, focusing on the aspects that are most interesting to them and embellishing details, they are having fun and developing critical skills at the same time such as vocabulary, comprehension, oral language, and story structure.

Using Wordless Picture Books in Preschool

Wordless Picture Books

Don’t be fooled by the lack of words in wordless picture books, they actually have great value in the process of learning to read and write!

Jim Trelease was kind enough to answer our questions about the benefits of wordless picture books here.

Nothing is more interactive, motivating, and engaging than inviting a child to tell you the story they see in the pictures using their own words.

NAEYC Conference Dallas Texas 2014

Meeting Blogging Friends

It was great to finally meet Deborah in person! We’ve been chatting and collaborating online for years but have never met face to face. We also met up with other bloggers the night before our presentation, great fun!

More Read Aloud Resources:
Growing Inch by Inch: Response to Wow Your Crowd at NAEYC
Read Aloud Handbook: Wordless Picture Books
Read Aloud Handbook: Print Climate
Read Aloud Handbook: SSR in Preschool and Kindergarten
DIY Flannel Board for Retelling

Book Activities Pinterest Board
Follow my Book Activities board on Pinterest for more great ideas!

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