Last week the fall language festival was all about apples, featuring a printable language lesson for the book Ten Apples Up On Top and an easy apple craft . This week we are learning about pumpkins with the book 5 Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino. The book is a well known Halloween poem and one of my favorite pumpkin books. I love the rhythm of the text, as it tells a simple story of 5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate. The illustrations are colorful, with large jack o’lanterns filling most of the pages. 5 Little Pumpkins is a great book for infants and toddlers as it is a sturdy board book. Preschoolers will love the book for it’s rhyming and repetitive text. The text is large enough for them to be able to identify letters and begin to recognize site words.
Not only is the 5 Little Pumpkins great for teaching children Halloween vocabulary, rhyming words, and numbers, it can be used as a tool to teach Halloween related signs in American Sign Language.
Teach Your Child About Halloween Using the 5 Little Pumpkins and American Sign Language
There are several different ways to sign Halloween. I find the following one to be easiest for small children to learn. Place both hands over your face and open your hands (as if playing peek-a-boo).
With palms facing away from your face, open fingers and place thumbs at your chin with your fingers up, as to frame your face. Move your head back and forth.
The color black is made by using swiping your index finger across your forehead from left to right. The sign cat is made by starting with an “open F alphabet sign”. An open “F” looks like the normal “F”, but with the index finger and thumb separated an inch or so. Place the open “F” near the bottom of your nose and move it out to the side while changing it to a normal “F” handshape. This handshape looks like a normal “F” except that the index finger and thumb are separated by about an inch.
Place the “open F” handshape near the bottom of your nose and move it out to the side while changing it to a normal “F” handshape
Form your hand in the shape of an “X” (curve your index finger down slightly). Place your “x” at your nose and move it down and to your other hand which is in the shape of an “x”, as well.
For a more accurate video check out the ProSpeak video for “witch”.
Your thumb and fingers flick out by your eyes to show your eyes opening wide when you are surprised.
For the official sign for surprise please see the video from Prospeak.
The sign for scared is made by placing both hands palms inward and shaking them near your chest, as if you are shaking from being scared.
Food Related Halloween Vocabulary
Thump or flick your middle finger on the back of your left fist–as if checking to see if a pumpkin is ripe.
For the official version of the sign please visit Lifeprint.
Place your index finger at your cheek and twist.
Place your hand in a fist and put your knuckle of your index finger against your cheek, slightly turning your hand back and forth.
General Tips when Teaching Halloween Sign Language Words
1. When teaching a child sign language, it is typical for them to modify the sign based on their fine motor skills. Do not worry if your child is able to get the sign exactly correct.
2. Model new sign vocabulary frequently throughout your daily routines.
3. Start by teaching 1-2 new signs a week. Once your child begins picking up signs more quickly, increase the number of new signs you teach in a given time period.
4. Keep it fun! Praise your child with any attempt they make at signing. You will be amazed at just how fast they pick it up.
Be sure to visit tomorrow for an easy pumpkin themed craft and Wednesday for a very exciting fall literacy giveaway!
How do you get into the Halloween spirit at your house? What is your child’s favorite fall themed book?