Autumn is here and soon pumpkins will be found everywhere! What better lesson plan to start the month of October than a lesson on pumpkins!
Nothing says Fall better than a pumpkin. Not only are pumpkins associated with Halloween, but they are also an important part of the harvest and Thanksgiving. Below you will find several pumpkin themed activities for preschoolers from every area of the curriculum. Whether you are a teacher or you homeschool, kids will love these fun learning activities! Tip: make sure you have a real pumpkin to use!
LITERACY and LANGUAGE
Start the day off with one of these fun pumpkin stories:
- Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
- Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino
- The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
- The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
- Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
ARTS and CRAFTS
Paper Bag Pumpkins
Materials Needed: white lunch-sized paper bags, orange and white paint, brown paint, brushes, masking tape, green paper, leaf stencil, scissor, newspaper
- Have your child trace a leaf onto green paper using a stencil (you can make your own using one printed from the internet), and then cut it out. Set aside.
- Next, show your child how to crumble up newspaper, then let her finish until she has enough to stuff her bag about halfway full.
- Once the bag has been stuffed, show her how to twist the top of the bag, and continue twisting to make it look like a stem on the top. Be sure to use masking tape so the top remains twisted.
- Now it’s time to paint their pumpkin! Let your child experiment with the orange and white paint to make different shades of orange on her bag pumpkin.
- Don’t forget to paint the stem brown!
- Once the paint has dried, have her glue the leaf on to the stem.
MUSIC and MOVEMENT
Children love this Fall/Halloween finger play with lots of fun motions and catchy rhymes.
5 Little Pumpkins Fingerplay
5 Little pumpkins sitting on a gate (hold up 5 fingers).
The 1st one said “Oh my! It’s getting late!” (Hold up 1 finger. Then pretend to look at their watches)
The 2nd one said “It’s very windy out here!” (Hold up 2 fingers. Then move hands in air like the wind)
The 3rd one said “But we don’t care!” (Hold up 3 fingers. Then hold hands up as you do when saying I don’t know)
The 4th one said “Let’s run and run and run.” (Hold up 4 fingers. Then place fingers on floor and have them move as if they are running).
The 5th one said “Let’s have some fun.” (Hold up 5 fingers. Then wave hands and arms in air as though dancing!)
WHOOOOOSH went the wind. (Make a loud whoosh sound with the kids!),and
OUT went the lights. (Clap hand very loudly when you say OUT loudly–if your kiddos can handle it, have someone shut out the lights!)
5 little pumpkins rolled out of sight. (Make a rolling motion with your hands).
For the rest of these activities, you will need a pumpkin, which you can carve into a Jack ‘O Lantern as the last activity of the day!
Before beginning, share some of the following pumpkin facts with your child!
– most pumpkins are various shade of orange, but did you know that some varieties are yellow, white, or even other colors?
– most pumpkins weigh about 15 – 30 pounds. Still, there are others that weigh as much as 800 pounds!
– pumpkins are the world’s largest fruit!
– pumpkin flowers are edible.
Exploring the Outside and Inside of a Pumpkin
First have your child sit down on the floor and let him hold the pumpkin in his lap. Ask him to describe how the pumpkin feels – cold or warm? Hard or soft? What color is it? Is it heavy or light? What does it smell like?
Incorporate a little math by measuring the width and height of the pumpkin.
If you have a scale, weigh the pumpkin! Before weighing, have your child guess what it may weigh. You can also use this opportunity to discuss ‘more than and less’ than by weighing several additional items as well. If you want to take this lesson even further, graph all the items you weigh together.
Next, (parents only) cut a circle in the top of the pumpkin, and remove the lid just like you would when preparing to carve a Jack O Lantern.
Ask your child to help scoop out the insides of the pumpkin, placing the seeds in a bowl off to the side to use later for math and cooking activities. Again, discuss what the inside of the pumpkin looks like, smells like and feels like.
Pumpkin Seed Counting
Remember those seeds you saved from cleaning out the pumpkin? Take them to the sink, and together you and the kids can wash the seeds, then place them on a paper towel to dry. Once dry, use them for a pumpkin seed counting activity. Depending on your child’s skill level, you can get into basic addition and subtraction; the concept of ‘more than’ and ‘less than’, and even basic graphing, as well.
Once done with the math activity, rinse the seeds again if needed, then head to the kitchen for a cooking activity!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt.
Next, spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.
Here is another delicious cooking activity. While it doesn’t use any actual pumpkin, kids will love these pumpkin pizzas!
Jack ‘O Lantern Pizzas
English muffins cut into halves
Orange cheddar cheese
Spread pizza sauce on english muffin halves.
Next, sprinkle grated orange cheddar cheese on the top.
Use black olive pieces to create the eyes, nose and mouths.
Place the muffin halves under the broiler until the cheese is melted.
If you live near a pumpkin patch, this is an ideal time to go! While there your child can learn all about pumpkins including how they grow, their different shapes and sizes, how they taste and so much more! I suggest doing this right before you plan Pumpkin Day as the pumpkins your children choose can be used in the activities!