QUICK START IDEAS
- Count mini pumpkins at the grocery store.
- Look for orange vegetables at the grocery store.
- Mix the color orange using red and yellow paint.
- Eat pumpkin pie.
- Make pumpkin head bands using pumpkin stickers.
COFFEE FILTER PUMPKINS
- Let your children fold round coffee filters into fourths.
- Dip the edges into slightly diluted red food coloring, then yellow food coloring.
- Then have them continue folding and dipping until their filters are covered with red, yellow and orange designs.
- Allow the pumpkins to dry flat.
- Then help the children mount their pumpkins on white paper and add green marker stems.
- Invite your children to dip carrot rounds or corks into orange paint and make “pumpkin” prints on pieces of paper.
- When the paint has dried, have the children use green crayons or markers to connect their pumpkins with leafy vines.
PAPER SACK PUMPKINS
- Give your children small lunch sacks.
- First have them stuff the sacks half full with crumbled up 8” x 8” sheets of newspaper.
- Then help each child twist the top of the sack into a stem.
- Then let children take turns painting their “pumpkins” with orange paint.
- When dry, have them paint their stems with green paint.
- Use the pumpkins to make a pumpkin patch in your room.
- Connect the pumpkins with green yarn and green paper leaves.
PRINTING WITH PUMPKIN PIECES
- After Halloween, cut up a hallowed out pumpkin into pumpkin chunks.
- Let your children make designs on the inside of the chunks.
- Then set out some paint trays (paint on saucers) and let your children press the pumpkin chunks into the paint and then make an impression of their designs on pieces of paper.
COUNTING PUMPKIN SEEDS
You will need a muffin tin and six muffin liners for this activity.
- Write the numerals 1-6 on the bottom of your six muffin liners.
- Place the muffin cups into the muffin tin and set out a pile of dried pumpkin seeds.
- Let your children take turns counting and placing seeds into the bottom of each muffin cup that correspond to the number printed on each.
- To make this a self-correcting game, set out exactly 15 seeds.
- Cut out a large (10” x 10”) pumpkin shape from orange felt.
- Then cut out multiple facial features from yellow or black felt.
- Set the pumpkin shape onto a felt board and set out the facial feature below.
- Let your children take turns making different faces on the pumpkin shape.
- As children are constructing the faces, point out the shapes of the facial features as they place them on the pumpkin.
PUMPKIN FACE MATCHING
You will need 10 small index cards for this game and some marking pens.
- Draw different pumpkin shapes and faces on five cards.
- Now make a matching card for each different pumpkin.
- Mix up the cards.
- Let your children take turns looking through the cards and finding matching pairs.
You will need a large cardboard pumpkin decoration for this activity.
- Take a cardboard (wall decoration) pumpkin and cut it into 4-8 pieces (depending on the skill level of your children).
- Set out the puzzle pieces.
- Let your children take turns putting the pieces together to form the pumpkin.
- Store the puzzle pieces in a zip-lock bag.
- Using heavy orange paper cut out 6” pumpkin shapes.
- Let your children glue on paper facial features.
- Then tape a large craft stick to the lower back of the shape to create a stick puppet.
- Let your children use their puppets as you read pumpkin stories and sing pumpkin songs.
- Have your children use their puppets to talk to each other about pumpkin things.
FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS
Five little pumpkins by the barn door,
My brother took one, then there were four.
Four little pumpkins, as you can see,
My mother took one, then there were three.
Three little pumpkins, feeling very blue,
My sister took one, then there were two.
Two little pumpkins, alone in the sun,
My father took one, then there was one.
One little pumpkin, in a patch of green,
I took it on Halloween.
Have your children act out this poem.
Pumpkins ready for Halloween!
PETER, PETER PUMPKIN EATER
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater,
Had a pet and couldn’t keep her.
Put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.
Have your children draw a picture of Peter and his pet in a pumpkin shell.
- Draw six jack-o’lantern cards.
- Make one silly, one glad, one scared, one mad, one tired and one sad.
- Hold up the cards as you teach your children the following rhyme.
- Have your children make the faces like the jack-o’lanterns.
Here is jack-o-silly,
Here is jack-o-glad.
Here is jack-o- scared,
Here is jack-o-mad.
Here is jack-o-tired,
Here is jack-o-sad.
HANDS-ON PUMPKIN FUN
Collect pumpkins of various sizes. Then try these ideas with your children.
- Measure the pumpkins with pieces of yarn. Which is the biggest? Smallest?
- Use a scale to compare the pumpkins’ weights. Which is lightest? Heaviest?
- Cut open a pumpkin and explore how the pulp looks, smells, and feels.
- Boil a few pieces of pumpkin. How does it change when cooked?
- Donate your left over pumpkins to a local zoo for hippo treats.
PUMPKIN LIFE CYCLE CARDS
First read your children a story about the life of a pumpkin. Then make up cards about the life cycle of a pumpkin using index cards.
- On the first card, show a pumpkin seed buried in the ground.
- On the second card, show small green vines growing up out of the seed.
- On the third card, show the vine leaves larger and a yellow pumpkin flower.
- On the fourth card, show a small green pumpkin growing where the flower was.
- On the fifth card, show the pumpkin large and orange.
- Set out the cards and mix them up.
- Have your children take turns putting the cards in order, show the life of a pumpkin.
HISTORY OF EATING PUMPKINS
Native American Indians used pumpkins as a staple in their diets, long before the pilgrims came. The Indians would roast long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and eat them. When the settlers came, they saw the Indians eating the pumpkins and were soon growing and eating them also. The settlers used the pumpkins in various ways, in soups, stews and desserts. The origin of pumpkin pie, may have come from the settlers custom of slicing off the top of a pumpkin, taking out the seeds and pulp, then filling it with milk, spices and honey, then baking it in the hot ashes of a dying fire.
Save the seeds when you clean out your Halloween jack-o’-lantern.
- Rinse the seeds if you wish.
- Melt 3-4 Tbsp. butter or margarine in a pan, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
- Dump the seeds into the pan an mix.
- Now, place the seeds on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with a little salt.
- Bake at 350 degrees until the seeds are brown and crispy.
- Stir from time to time.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds are eaten shell and all.
PUMPKIN MILK SHAKES
- Blend together, 1 cup milk, 1 banana sliced, 2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin and a dash of cinnamon.
- Divide into two or four glasses.
- Brown English muffins halves under the broiler.
- Then cover each half with pizza sauce.
- Let your children decorate the muffins to look like pumpkin faces.
- Give them slices of olives for eyes, grated cheese for hair, bits of meat or vegetables to use for noses and mouths.
- Stick them back under the broiler for a couple minutes and you will have a quick lunch or snack your children will love.
PUMPKIN SONGS & RHYMES - can be found on the Music Station under Fall Songs & Rhymes.