Kindergarten and first grade children find pumpkins naturally interesting so it is a great age for a special fall or October pumpkin unit with crafts, fun read alouds and more! There are many simple ways to prepare a fun pumpkin unit for elementary aged children. Here are a few easy activities and books that will create a quick but enjoyable learning experience for everyone.
Predicting Pumpkin Weights Activity
Bring in an assortment of pumpkins of various shapes and sizes. Weigh the pumpkin students think is the “middle-sized” pumpkin. Based on that information, have students predict what the other pumpkins will weigh. The student who makes the best predictions can take one of the pumpkins home!
Torn Paper Pumpkin Arts and Craft Activity
Give each student a small paper plate, orange construction paper and glue. Students tear the paper into ragged edged pieces and then glue them on to the paper plate. When the plate is covered with overlapping orange paper, students can then add a green stem. It is also possible to provide black paper for student to cut out eyes, a nose and a mouth to make their pumpkin a jack-o-lantern. Or use the individual pumpkins for a bulletin board and connect them all with green vines!
When you start your pumpkin unit, don’t forget about using a KWL! These graphic organizers are a great way to track student learning. Here are two cute pumpkin KWLs I created for just this purpose!
Pumpkin Sticker Story
Give each student a sheet of pumpkin stickers. Students write a short story about a pumpkin, using a sticker instead of the word “pumpkin” each time it comes up in the story. Children who aren’t able to write their own story can dictate to an adult.
Picking Apples and Pumpkins Book
Picking Apples and Pumpkins by Amy and Richard Hutchings is the story of Kristy, her family and friends as they go on an outing to an orchard and pumpkin patch. Told through beautifully photographed illustrations, the children and adults have a great time picking apples and then selecting pumpkins to bring home. Once they arrive home, they carve the pumpkins and illuminate them with candles.
Apples and Pumpkins Read Aloud Book
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell follows the outing of a little girl and her parents as they go out to a farm to pick apples and pumpkins. The little girl selects her pumpkin and takes it home to carve it. They light it in celebration of Halloween when the little girl goes out trick or treating with her dad. The book is warmly illustrated and the story is told simply and briefly.
From Seed to Pumpkin Science Book
From Seed to Pumpkin (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) by Wendy Pfeffer is a great introduction to the science behind pumpkins. Written at a level appropriate for early elementary, the books traces the growth of a pumpkin from the beginning to the harvest. The story focuses on the farmer and three children who help him plant his hundreds of pumpkin seeds. The warm and inviting illustrations are likely to produce a very positive response from young children.
Fall is a great time to enjoy special units for kindergarten and first grade students. Whether they are special units about apples or fall itself, children will be sure to enjoy the opportunity to do special things. By preparing simple activities, art projects, and read alouds related to pumpkins, teachers can easily spend time celebrating this great part of autumn.
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