Read The Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman [Alladin, 1995] – even if you are not a fan of Halloween, most children love this book and it is fun to act out the characters in the story.
Print the Pumpkin Sight Words Pumpkin Sight Words and practice the words or beginning sounds with your children. There are blank pumpkins to add any words your children may be working on.
Pumpkin Tiles – take 7 yellow square tiles and print the letters for the word PUMPKIN on the tiles. Have the children place the tiles in blank boxes. Younger children can follow the example; have older children work to sound out the word. If you do not have tiles at home or school, have the children cut/paste the letters from the top of the work page into the blank squares below. Pumpkin Tiles for Literacy
Pumpkin Seeds and Patterning – Cut open a few pumpkins early in the season and let the the seeds dry well (we ask our parents to help us out and most will be glad to save and dry for you.) Put one Tbls of white vinegar and 8 drops of red food coloring into one bag and squish to distribute the color. Repeat the steps for the second bag, but do with yellow food coloring. Divide the pumpkin seeds and place some in the red bag and some in the yellow bag. Let the children “squish and squeeze” gently on the bags so that all the seeds are colored. DRY THE SEEDS WELL on a plastic tablecloth or waxed paper. Toss the seeds as they are drying. When the seeds are completely dry, let the children practice patterning with the red and yellow seeds. Download the pattern work page so that younger children might COPY a pattern that is already done for them. Older children can use the blank seed patterns to make their own. Pumpkin Seed Patterning
Do pumpkins float?! Place a miniature pumpkin in a bin of water to see what happens. Cut the top off of a miniature pumpkin and see what happens then. Do the seeds float? Make pumpkin boats: scoop out the inside of miniature pumpkins, add a toothpick flag (pipe cleaners work, too). If at home, children can use the bathtub or place the boats in a sand/water table. Have the children push, blow, gently splash, and steer their pumpkin boats around in the water.
When you are done with the pumpkin boats, cut the miniature pumpkins up and place inside a large plastic bag. Observe what happens to the pumpkin. Set out magnifying glasses and let the children look at what happens. Be sure not to “observe” for TOO long as it will STINK up the classroom or your house:).
Materials needed: one paper plate per student, “faces and stem” download below, orange washable tempera paint, paintbrushes, green pipe cleaners, glue, hole punch, and paint smocks/t-shirts.
Have the children paint the paper plates orange and let dry well. Glue the faces on and staple the stems to the top of the paper plates. Cut two holes around the stem and loop green pipe cleaners through to create “vines.” Hole punch the sides of the pumpkins to string them together as if they are on the vine in a pumpkin patch. Display on the wall at home or in the classroom. Faces and Stem for pumpkins – Paper Plate Pumpkin Faces and Stem
For MORE Pumpkin Activities and Ideas: see the Fall Thematic Unit here on the blog! The theme is over 100+ pages of literacy, math, science, arts/crafts, sensory, large motor, and dramatic play ideas for playful learning!