written by: Willa
• edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch
• updated: 9/7/2012
Celebrate fall by teaching the children all about the pumpkin and its circle of life. This lesson plan builds on the development of literacy, math and science skills.
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The book Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, written by George Levenson, is a wonderful story to begin the day with. The children learn how the seed is planted, then becomes a flower, then a pumpkin and finally the jack-o-lantern. Perhaps some would prefer pumpkin pie, but no matter, the pumpkin is the focal point for the day.
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This is a "hands on" activity. In advance, slice the lid off of the pumpkin. The children will discover the five senses of smell, sight, touch, sound and taste with this observation activity. First, each will smell the opened pumpkin, see the gooey insides, reach inside and touch the soft stringy pulp, hear the slushy sound and taste the sticky substance on their finger.
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The children document the findings by creating a "Pumpkin Book". Make copies of pumpkin shapes, two on orange construction paper and one on white. Give each child two orange pumpkins for the front and back cover and a white pumpkin for inside. Ask each child to cut and staple the shapes into a book. Have them write a title and their name on the cover, then color the inside, glue dried pumpkin seeds and orange yarn for the pulp.
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Have ready pre-made cupcakes and orange icing for the kids to make their own pumpkin snacks. Raisin for the eyes, candy corn for the nose and Cheerios for the mouth. This may be a creative mess, but it's a snack they will be proud of.
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Various ways to use the pumpkin seeds are to count, add, subtract or match the seeds to numbers. Let each child be creative and show the many ways the seeds were used, by making a graph on the chalkboard.
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I always make a point of creating a Bulletin Board display with the help of the children's art projects. Since this display needs pumpkins, have each child make their own pumpkin art.
6" paper plates
shades of orange tissue, cut into small squares
green construction paper, to cut into pumpkin tops
small paint brushes or sponge brushes
The children will glue the pieces of tissue, covering the paper plate, then glue on the green pumpkin tops. When dried completely, arrange the pumpkins on the bulletin board.