I’ll admit it: I have a tiny bit of a pumpkin obsession. Not in a “basic” way (whatever that means…) — I’m actually not a fan of pumpkin spice anything. But when it comes to using them in the classroom, I’m obsessed!
Every year I find new ways to use pumpkins to teach, so I thought I’d put together a little round-up of all of the ways we’ve used pumpkins in our homeschool preschool classroom over the past few years! Click on the images for more info on each activity.
Pumpkin scrubbing is definitely something that we do about 20 times each October — each time I bring home more pumpkins! My general rule of thumb when picking out a pumpkin is to look for the dirtiest one there. Then as soon as we get home, we get busy scrubbing those pumpkins! Toddlers love this work because they can actually see their hard work making a difference — plus, it includes water!
Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so they’re also perfect for building some comparative vocabulary in your newly verbal toddler! For older children, add more pumpkins of various sizes and put them in order from largest to smallest.
Don’t forget about those tiny pumpkin stems! They make the perfect ring post — use with teething rings for an infant or washers for a toddler to build fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
This is an old favorite from my classroom days, and a twist on the Mr. Potato Head toys! Just use a nail to pre-poke holes in your pumpkin, then use the Mr. Potato Head parts to make Mr. Pumpkin Head.
Who needs a fancy sensory bin when you have a PUMPKIN??? Just cut one open and let the kids go wild. Squishy, wet, cold, slimy, bumpy, smooth, orange, yellow — so many sensorial elements to explore!
Turn a large pumpkin into a 3-D chalkboard using some chalkboard paint, and you have a fun way to draw on a vertical surface! Younger children can scribble, while older ones can draw different jack-o-lantern faces over and over again.
You can even use pumpkin seeds! Once they are dry, those seeds make great transfer work materials — try them with scooping or dry pouring for an extra sensorial element.
Need something for your older children to do? Find a small hammer, roofing nails (or any type with a large, flat head), and let them hammer nails into a pumpkin! This would be better with a larger pumpkin, but this was our first pumpkin purchase of the season, and we just couldn’t wait to get hammering!
What are some of your favorite things to do with pumpkins?