Are you a teacher looking for classroom pumpkin activates or thematic filler activities for Halloween or harvest-time units? Here’s a list of classroom activities and learning opportunities your students will enjoy that involve pumpkins and more pumpkins.
Pumpkin Patch Field Trip
Why not kick off your pumpkin theme with a field trip to the pumpkin patch? At the patch, kids can play in the maze, go on hayrides and tractor rides, launch some pumpkins airborne, and gather up a full load of pumpkins for all the activities ahead.
Pumpkins and Mathematics
Using pumpkins from your field trip, have students measure the circumference of personal pumpkins. Teach students about linear measurement, pumpkin diameter, and radius.
Pumpkins are useful tools for making predictions. Have students guess the number of seeds in pumpkins based on size. Also, students can predict if pumpkins will float, and decide why or why not. Students can predict how far a pumpkin will roll or how much it weights. And students can use dry pumpkins seeds for math manipulatives.
Pumpkins and Language Arts
Have students use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast several pumpkins. Students can compare attributes, likeness, and difference. A word-search idea that works as a filler activity is to write the word Halloween on the board and have students see how many words can be made from this single word.
To encourage reading, borrow lots of Halloween reading books from the library and place around the classroom. Then, for a creative writing assignment, have students write a pumpkin story or poem to match the personal pumpkin brought back from the pumpkin patch. Stories can include these new vocabulary words: shoots, squash, estimate, blossom, vine, patch, ribs, carve, pulp, sprout, and harvest.
Pumpkins and Science
Pumpkin flesh will mold. This makes for great science activities. Have students wrap chunks of pumpkin in sealed sandwich bags. Place salt, soap, alcohol, peroxide, lemon juice, bleach, or vinegar into the bags to see which ones inhibit mold growth.
Place seeds from carved pumpkins on a windowsill to dry for spring planting, or you could sprout seeds right away. This leads into a great discussion on the lifecycle of a pumpkin–germination, pollination, fertilization, seed dispersal. Discuss what seeds require to grow, and have students sequence growing pumpkins from seed planting to pumpkin pie.
Students can take a nature walk and collect all sorts of pine cones, feathers, and such for decorating pumpkins with naturally found objects. This allows pumpkins to be composted. Decomposition can be monitored and mold growth observed.
Pumpkins and Art
The most obvious way to use pumpkins is to carve them. An alternative would be to have students paint them to look like themselves or the characters of their stories. Also, students can create centerpieces or candleholders from carved-out pumpkins, and seeds make wonderful mosaics pictures for classroom decorations or as gifts.
Pumpkins and Technology
Have students research giant pumpkin growing and weighing. You might also make it a contest to search for unusual pumpkin facts.
Pumpkins and Games
Small pumpkins can be placed helter-skelter for a ring-toss game. Look-alike pumpkins can be placed under boxes for a type of pumpkin concentration game. And small pumpkins make a great hot-pumpkin game–played the same way as hot-potato.
Pumpkins and Treats
Have students decorate pumpkin cookie cut-outs from frozen cookie dough. Students can roast pumpkin seeds, make pumpkin pie from scratch, make pumpkin soup and eat it from carved out pumpkins. And finally, consider having students contribute favorite pumpkin recipes and compile a classroom seasonal cookbook to use as gifts.
With all these pumpkin ideas for a diversity of subject areas, you should find something age appropriate, subject appropriate, and theme appropriate for your Halloween, harvest-time classroom needs.