Preschool Pumpkin Theme
Page 5





Theme Ideas

Mouse House/Pumpkin story

This is a cute story to tell. (You will need a piece of orange construction paper and a pair of scissors.)

Start the story by saying: Once there was a little mouse who lived in a field on a pumpkin farm. It was beginning to get colder out as autumn was coming so he decided to start look for a home. (Fold the paper in half the short way while you are saying this much). He spotted a pumpkin laying on its side in the field and thought that it would make a good, warm place to live. (Cut out a half a pumpkin shape so what when you open the paper up it will look like a whole pumpkin. Don’t forget the stem! Don’t open the half of a pumpkin up. Hold it for the children to see so that the fold is down. And looks like its laying on its side) The little mouse nibbled a hole in the pumpkin to get inside where it was warm. (Tear a small hole out of the paper right in the middle of the fold – this is the nose). Once he got inside the little mouse saw that the door he use to get in would be too small for some of his friends to visit so he nibbled a larger door for them. (tear another hole out on the side of the 1st hole that is away from the stem. Make it about halfway between the first hole and what will be the bottom of the pumpkin. Tear this hole taller to make it look like a bigger door. This is the mouth. Remember you are making holes in the fold of the paper) Then the little mouse noticed that it was very dark in his new house so he decided to make a window. He nibbled and nibbled and soon he had a nice window to let in light. (this hole is not made on the fold. It should be on the side that is closest to the stem and a few inches up from the fold. These are the eyes. Make it about equal distance from the first small whole and the stem.) He was very proud of his house when it was done and invited all of his friends over to wish them a Happy Halloween. (Open your pumpkin and the children will see that you have made a jack-o-lantern) They will ask you to do it again, so have another piece of paper or two handy!!!

~Submitted by Deb in MN

The last week of October, we send a note home asking parents to send in a pumpkin, gourd, or squash with their child. We use these as a Farmer's Market in housekeeping. Also, graph them for size, color, same, big, small, edible, not edible, etc. Our graph is about 6 long rows of colored tape on the floor. The first day the teacher introduces the concept by leading and modeling ideas to put all of the same attributes on he same line. The children will soon be graphing/sorting on their own. The week before Thanksgiving we decorate them into creature centerpieces. Dowel rods can be cut and stuck in the bottom for legs. Collage materials such as feathers, googlie eyes, sequins, pom poms, buttons, etc. can be used to create the animal looking creatures. We use these to decorate the tables for our Family Feast, then the children take them home for their own centerpieces. We cook and eat the edible squashes and pumpkin seeds.

~Submitted by Jaye from Arizona

Mini Pumpkin Decorating

The children are given a mini pumpkin and they take it home and the whole family decorates it. I get my mom to judge the pumpkins since she will have no favorites! And the winner gets a free movie rental. It helps get the family involved and it is fun to see imaginations at work!

~Submitted by Cheryl in CA

Mr. PumkinHead

Place a pumpkin on a table, surrounded by washable markers, a damp sponge, and accesories such as hats, eyeglasses, sunglasses, scarves, wigs, etc. Have the children draw faces and dress up Mr. PumpkinHead, and have them use the damp sponge to erase their work after it's done.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Jack-O'-Lantern with Glowing Eyes

Carve your pumpkin as you would normally, then place sections of a lime with rind removed in the eye cut-outs. With a lit candle inside the eyes will glow green.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Pumpkin

One fun way to make a pumpkin is put a small amount of red and yellow paint on a paper plate and let the children mix it as they fingerpaint the plate. Then, when dry, we add a paper stem and curling green ribbon for the "vine". A little color mixing experience there!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Take a Trip to a Pumpkin Patch

Going to the pumpkin patch is always fun for little ones! Help the children observe how the pumpkin is growing on the vine. Point out the variations in color, size, shape, quality and weight.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

What's Inside A Pumpkin?

Materials you will need: Pumpkin, large carving knife, smaller paring knives, large mixing bowl, smaller mixing bowls.

Place the pumpkin on the display table. Encourage the children to try to lift it to see how heavy it is, but keep it over the table. Touch it & feel how cool it is, how smooth the skin is & how bumpy it is in places. Cut a large circle around the stem and remove the stem. Let the children examine the cap closely, touching the rough end of the stem, the sticky side of the inside of the pumpkin. Lift the seeds and membranes out of the center of the pumpkin and place in the large mixing bowl. Let the children touch the seeds and separate them from the membranes, placing the seeds in smaller mixing bowls. Either carve the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern or cut large wedges from the pumpkin for the children to look at more closely. Let the children cut off small slivers of pumpkin with the paring knife & taste the raw pumpkin. This experience is planned as a science activity for the children to learn about pumpkins, but you can also use the pumpkin meat & seeds for cooking as well. Take the meat from the center of the pumpkin and boil it until it is soft, add pumpkin pie seasonings & use for the fillings in the pumpkin pies served for snack. You can also toast the pumpkin seeds. Wash them, then place on a cookie sheet in a hot oven to toast.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Balloon Pumpkin

Blow up an orange balloon, glue construction paper or felt stem & leaf to the top, have children draw facial features (can discuss shapes, concept of air taking up space, type of food, what's inside real pumpkin).

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

5 1/2 c flour
2 c salt
8 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 c oil
1 1/12 oz pumpkin pie spice
orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
4 c water

Mix all of the ingredients together. Cook & stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container.

Place a batch of this dough in your playdough center. Add some fall cookie cutters, small pie tins (save from pot pies), and rolling pins to the area. Invite your little ones to make fall cookies or pumpkin pies. Remind them that these goodies only smell good. No tasting please!

Paper Bag Pumpkin

Stuff small lunch bag with paper (good for fine motor), twist top & paint top green, bottom orange.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Science Center

In the room I will set up a science table with two green pumpkins (both with a small patch of orange on them), two small orange pumpkins, 1 large orange pumpkin and a basket of 12 gourds. During Free Play we will sort these gourds and pumpkins according to color, shape, texture (bumpy/smooth). We will also wonder whether the green pumpkins will turn Orange now that they are no longer growing in the field. We will watch them over the next two weeks to see what will happen.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Field Trip Idea

Take the children to a pumpkin patch for a field trip. Allow them to each pick out a pumpkin to buy. Get the $ for them from the parents before you go. The kids love this. Then you can decorate them with paint, fake hair, google eyes, and other fun craft materials instead of carving them.

Read the Pumpkin Pumpkin book before you go to the patch. It explains how pumkins grow and such. This is very helpful.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Pumpkin

Need:
chalk or markers
knife
spoon
bowl

Procedure:
* Bring a pumpkin into the classroom.
* Discuss what type of face to carve.
* Use chalk or non-permanent markers to show alternatives.
* Let the class select the face.
* Older children may want to estimate the number of seeds inside the pumpkin.
* Carve the pumpkin.
* Reserve the seeds for toasting and to use for counting activities.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Another Pumpkin

1 pumpkin
Poster Paints
Cotton Batting
Mustard or Watercress Seeds (Birdseed will also work)
Water

Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Paint a face on the pumpkin using the poster paints. Fill the pumpkin with cotton batting and spray with water. Sprinkle the seeds on the batting. Keep the batting moist, and hair will sprout in about 2 weeks....just in time for Halloween!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



Links

Pumpkin Activities - Education World
Preschool Pumpkin Theme - Everything Preschool
Pumpkins Theme - First School
Pumpkins Everywhere - Preschool Express
Patty's Pumpkin Patch - The Trumpet Club
Pumpkins Aplenty, Pumpkins Galore - The Virtual Vine



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