Kids Pumpkin Activities
Collect a few small pumpkins, white paper, and kid-friendly paints. Keep some pumpkins whole. Slice a few other small pumpkins in halves, quarters, and even smaller pieces. Spread white paper out on a large table or give each child a smaller individual piece. Dip the pumpkins and pumpkin pieces into the paints and then gently place them onto the white paper. Lift up the pumpkins and pumpkin pieces to see the images left behind. Children will enjoy re-dipping their pumpkins into paints and creating images. Some children will enjoy rubbing the pumpkins onto their paper much like sponge painting while others will prefer dipping and then using a stamping motion to create their masterpieces.
After the activity is finished and the paints dry, display the artwork in your classroom, hallway or somewhere in your home for the children to enjoy.
Fun with Pumpkins and Dough
Each child needs a pumpkin and a set of Play-Dough. Generic or home-made dough works fine too. You can also use modeling clay.
Carving pumpkins can be especially messy. If your environment will not allow for such a mess, you have another fun option. Allow your children to create a pumpkin face with dough. Use dough to decorate a real pumpkin. This activity is great because children can do this independently, without the risk of sharp objects. They can create all sorts of fun pumpkin faces with various dough colors. Some children will create simple faces, adding only the typical eyes, nose, and mouth. Other children will add cheek color, hair and a hair bow or hat. Some children will enjoy adding ears and ear-rings.
Once the dough dries, it will likely hold its shape, but it might fall off the pumpkin. With adult supervision, older children can use a medium heat glue gun to secure their pumpkin features. Teachers will need to do this for very young children in order to prevent serious burns.
Once the dough is dry and all the pumpkin features are secured into place, display the children’s pumpkin characters. The children may wish to give their pumpkin characters names and create name plates for the display. If space is limited in your classroom, your media specialist might allow you to use your school Media Center for display purposes.
Long Term Observation: Rotting Pumpkin
Even younger children can participate in long term observation activities. In early Fall, place a nice, new healthy pumpkin in your classroom. Provide each child with a journal to record their observations about the pumpkin as it rots over time. They don’t need to be detailed. Their journals can be simple. Very young children can draw a picture of the pumpkin on the first day and every day after. They can add one sentence about the pumpkin as it ages. They might write that the pumpkin is getting soft, turning black, or getting smaller. They might choose to add something about a bug that might be crawling around on the pumpkin.
You can use this opportunity to teach new vocabulary. You might study words like decompose, decomposition, mold, rot, and odor. Choose age appropriate vocabulary.
To add more observation and comparison opportunities, place several different sizes of pumpkins in your classroom and compare their rates of decomposition. Place at least one pumpkin in a darker, damper spot and at least one pumpkin in a well lit, dryer area. See if the children recognize differences in decomposition rates in various environments.
Pumpkin Sail Boats
Ask the children if pumpkins sink or float. Most children will say pumpkins sink because they feel heavy. Fill a bin with water and place a small pumpkin into the bin. The children will see the pumpkin float. Pumpkins float because they are hallow. Place several bins of water around the classroom. Cut several small pumpkins in half and scoop out the pumpkin fruit. Give each child a pumpkin half, a toothpick, paper, glue, and any other available craft supplies. Tell the children to create sail boats. Give them time to sail their boats around. They might enjoy setting up a few sail boat races. Encourage the children to guess why some pumpkin boats sail faster than others.
Melted Crayon Pumpkins
Supply each child with a small pumpkin, a paper plate, and several crayons. Broken crayons will be fine. In fact, this would be a good time to go through your crayon supply and fish out all the broken ones. Instruct the children to glue several crayons to the top of their pumpkins. You will need to allow time for the glue to dry before proceeding. Once the glue dries, the children will need access to a hair dryer. You can divide the class into several groups to share the dryers. Tell the children to blow the hot air from the hair dryers onto the crayons. The crayons will melt and drip down the sides of the pumpkin. Then, turn off the dryers and allow the crayons drippings to dry. The more colors the kids use, the more colorful the results.
Pumpkin Sweeping Relay Race
Divide the children up into three or four lines. Give each line a small pumpkin and a broom. Instruct the first person in each line to sweep their pumpkin to a finish line marked on the other side of the room, driveway, parking lot or playground. Since pumpkins have grooves, they will not roll in a straight line. Allow enough room for each line to work with their pumpkins without running into one another. You might consider securing lanes with noodles or PVC pipe. Make sure the start and finish lines are clearly marked. When the first person in each line reaches the finish line, he must turn around and sweep the pumpkin back for the next person in line. The race continues until each person in each line completes the task.