Nothing quite says fall like a pumpkin patch! Preschool pumpkin activities are fantastic for seasonal hands-on learning, sensory exploration, math, and more. And of course, young children are fascinated by the gorgeous gourds, so they can’t wait to play and learn with them!
Preschool Pumpkin Activity #1 – Pumpkin Dissection
Before starting this activity with the children, sit down with them and pass around a pumpkin. Ask them what they think the inside of a pumpkin is like. Some will have prior knowledge from making Jack-o-Lanterns with their families. Review that a pumpkin is a plant, and many plants make seeds to grow new plants. Show pictures of a pumpkin plant in all of the stages: seed, seedling, vine, flower, and full-grown pumpkin.
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Pumpkins Preschool Unit$10.00
Circle Time lessons are done for you in this Pumpkins Preschool Unit! This unit of study is a fun way to welcome Autumn, October, and Halloween with the students in your preschool classroom!
- 10 circle time lessons
- 11 math, literacy, & fine motor centers
- Book Recommendations
- Several small “pie” pumpkins
- a sharp knife (for the teacher!)
- paper towels
- trash bags or plastic liner (optional, but recommended!)
Before starting this pumpkin activity, line the sensory table with garbage bags, a plastic tablecloth, or some other protection for easy clean-up.
First, the teacher cuts the pumpkins in half with a sharp knife. If possible, cut some in half across the middle horizontally and some vertically. Ask the children what they see.
Most pumpkins have six pockets of seeds.
Encourage the students to feel the pumpkins on the inside and ask them how it is different from how they feel on the outside. Some children might hesitate to dive in, and that’s ok. Often they’ll join as the activity progresses, but some might choose to observe. It’s a great sensory learning experience!
Next, the students can scoop out all of the seeds and put them into bowls.
Preschool Pumpkin Activity #2 – Estimation and Ten Frame Plates
- Pumpkin seeds in the bowls from the previous activity
- Ten paper plates, sheets of paper, or smaller bowls
Encourage guesses as to how many seeds are in the bowl. After taking the estimates, label the ten plates with the number ten. The students then count out ten seeds on each plate, until they run out of plates.
Next, dump the ten plates of seeds into a bowl, or onto a plate labeled “100.” Ask the students if they think their guesses were accurate after comparing the 100 seeds to the remainder still in the bowl.
If the class wants to continue counting sets of 100, encourage them to continue to get a total count. This step, of course, is completely optional!
Pumpkin Activity #3 – Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snack!
Materials needed for this pumpkin activity:
- Pumpkin seeds from previous activity
- olive oil
To roast the seeds, first, rinse them very well in cool water. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Coat them in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 350°F. When they’re a golden brown color, they’re done. Simply cool them and enjoy a crunchy, healthy treat at the snacktime table.
Preschool Pumpkin Activity #4 – Pumpkin Seed “Pies”
Pumpkin seeds make a fabulous sensory material too! For this activity, buy dried pumpkin seeds in bulk. Students enjoy sensory play while pretending to make “pies” using the materials on hand. Measuring cups and bowls are great for scooping and pouring, while spoons work on fine motor muscles. And, of course, their imagination gets a workout as well!
- pumpkin seeds
- pie tins
- mixing spoons, whisks
- toy eggs
- measuring cups
- felt pie “crusts”
Preschool Pumpkin Activity #5 – Pumpkin Seed Counting
It’s always great when something can be used in multiple areas of the room. For this activity, scoop some pumpkin seeds into a bucket from the sensory table. Provide number cards or dice and some plastic mini Jack O’ Lanterns. Students pick or roll a number and then put that many seeds into a pumpkin while they count.
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Preschool Pumpkin Activity #6 – Pumpkin Rolls
No, not the delicious cake-and-cream pumpkin rolls! This activity is all about physics, preschool style. Set up a variety of small, sturdy pumpkins at the block center. Add some wedge-shaped blocks and show the students how pumpkins can roll down an inclined plane. Which pumpkin goes the furthest? What happens when they use a different block? Add to the fun by reading the book, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano before introducing the activity!
Preschool Pumpkin Activity #7 – Golf Tee “Decorations”
Those small muscles in preschoolers’ tiny hands need a lot of work! Pick up a few spare pumpkins (or ask for donations) and provide the class with some golf tees. Students use their muscles to push the golf tees into the thick skin of the pumpkin. Add another step by introducing rubber bands into the mix as well. Students push the tees into the pumpkins and then stretch the rubber bands from tee to tee, much like a geoboard!
Even MORE Preschool Pumpkin Activities!
Here are some more amazing ways to use a pumpkin theme for seasonal fun around the classroom.
Pumpkin Circle Time Activities
There are many ways to incorporate pumpkins into circle time. Pass around some real pumpkins and ask questions about shape, size, color, weight, and texture. Felt boards are fantastic for pumpkin-themed shape reviews, counting songs, and poems. Small plastic pumpkins in a variety of colors can be used for a “what’s missing” game that reviews those colors. There’s enough pumpkin fun for everyone!
Preschool Pumpkin Patch – A Field Trip in the Classroom!
Many preschoolers have happy family outings where they go pick a bright, orange pumpkin straight from the farm. Recreate that fun experience with a pumpkin patch dramatic play center! Students will be encouraged to read, write, learn, and play, all while visiting the classroom’s pumpkin patch. Read more about this idea here!
Pumpkin and Gourd Sorting
Sorting is an essential preschool skill. Often, children sort by color, shape, or size…but how about texture? Encourage students to explore the different types of skin on gourds and pumpkins and practice some texture vocabulary by setting up a station at the science center. Simply purchase a variety of smooth and bumpy decorative gourds from any store selling seasonal produce – and when the students are finished, re-use the gourds for a lovely fall decoration!
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