Preschool Playdate: Pumpkins

We enjoyed all these activities on October 15, 2015

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)

— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)

— Discussion of theme: Showed the word “pumpkin” written on the word card, and also passed around the basket of pumpkins for the children to explore

— Storytime

— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: “5 Little Pumpkins” fingerplay

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Sweet little story of growing a pumpkin from seed to sprout to flower, and then watching it grow into a large pumpkin.

Letter Guessing Game inspired by a The Mailbox Superbook activity – I spelled out the word “pumpkin” in uppercase and lowercase letters, and then also selected uppercase and lowercase magnets to match.  

Level 1/2: Parents pull out the letters, name them for the children and tell the phonic sound (child repeats), and then either place them in order under the tag, or have the children place them in the right spot.

Level 2: Child reaches into the bag, feels the letter, and then guesses what they think it is.  Then they pull it out to check their guess, and place it in the correct order to spell out, “pumpkin”.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Literacy Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Literacy Center

This idea is from Preschool Plan It – see the original instructions HERE

You can download the printable I made for your own personal use – it’s not pretty or professional, just an easy file you can print on your own to make your own manipulatives: PPD Pumpkins Math Center.  I left the front blank with only the letter on the leaf; the back had the letter leaf and pumpkin seed stencils on the back.

The instructions were to put the pumpkins and some pumpkin seeds on the table and see what the children would do.  Here are some ideas for ways to lead the children:

Level 1: Have the children identify the numbers and put them in order

Level 2: Practice one-to-one correspondence by having the children place pumpkin seeds on the stenciled shapes

Level 3: Start introducing the concept of even and odd numbers. I purposely stenciled the pumpkin seeds in columns so that the children could get a visual understanding of what makes a number “even”, and what makes it “odd”.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Math Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Math Center


I picked up some gourds and mini-pumpkins from Trader Joe’s.  We picked them to represent some of the different colors aside from orange, and also with texture in mind.  The children could look at them and/or feel them to decide if they were “smooth” or “bumpy”. You might make this extra-sensory by blindfolding the children and then having them sort.

The other part of today’s discovery was for the children to taste pumpkin-flavored foods.  I found a gluten-free pancake mix at Trader Joe’s, picked up a box of their pumpkin snack bars, and I also added some sprouted pumpkin seeds that we buy at Costco.  I also offered some of the shelled seeds that were from the bag that we used for math – they were toasted with oil and salt; also from Trader Joe’s.

photo 3 (12)

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This idea is inspired by Preschool Plan It – see the original instructions HERE 

The idea from Preschool Plan It was to do the handprint pumpkin, and the stem with a finger. I didn’t want two different colors of paint to wash off, so I pulled out our green and brown ink pads.  I started by printing a heart shaped leaf using the thumb pad and green ink. Next, I dipped the whole thumb in the brown ink. Lastly, I brushed orange paint on the child’s knuckles of a clenched hand, and then printed those onto the paper.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Arts & Crafts

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Arts & Crafts

Plus, one more activity with play dough…making pumpkins with faces (suggested by Preschool Plan It and executed with THIS play dough recipe)

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate

We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a goodbye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play for a little while so we can catch up and talk attachment parenting.