Fall is finally here! So many fun fall activities go on during the month of October. One of the topics we really enjoy doing is pumpkin exploration at YSA. This year we are unable to do some of the normal sensory and exploration with pumpkins that usually happens during this month due to Covid. I wanted to give parents a few activities and ideas that are easy to do at home with your preschooler that will for sure keep them busy and excited during the fall months!
Go over the parts of the pumpkin with your kiddo. Explain how pumpkins grow and give them the details of the life cycle of a pumpkin. If you happen to visit a pumpkin patch, point out the area where the pumpkins grow so they can see them on the vine and make that real-life connection. If you have talked about the life cycle beforehand, let your child pretend to be the “teacher” and let them walk you through the details. It’s extra fun for them to take that role and having them explain the details of the pumpkin life cycle back to you is taking that knowledge base a step further.
One of the gooey fun activities is exploring a pumpkin. Have your preschooler help you pull the gooey guts out of the pumpkin. For some, this will be the first time they have ever touched the inside of a pumpkin. There may be some mixed reactions at first. Be encouraging, allow them to take their time reaching in and pulling out the stringy insides. This is a new type of sensory touch for some, sometimes having gloves on hand is a good idea. Some children will not want to touch and manipulate the pumpkin guts, just be patient and demonstrate for them. Lay the pumpkin goo and seeds on a baking tray, save the seeds! Let your preschooler pick through and sort the seeds from the slime. This is such great exposure to a new texture and use of fine motor skills.
Pumpkins seeds are a fantastic manipulative to use. After your seeds have dried out, it’s time to put them to use! Have your child use the seeds to do basic math problems. They could practice counting the seeds, this is called 1:1 correspondence and it is a skill we work on and assess at YSA. Being able to count objects and make that connection can be challenging for a kiddos at times, so this is a fun way to practice at home. Have your child touch and count the seeds in different quantities. Keep practicing! If they don’t get the hang of it right away, model how to touch and count for them. If their math skills are more advanced, you can have your kiddo use the seeds to do simple addition and subtraction. Even create a story problem while using the seeds! They will really enjoy “playing” with seeds while working with you!
Another fun activity to do is create pumpkin faces using the seeds as teeth. Depending on your preschoolers age, either draw a pumpkin outline for them or let them draw their own pumpkin face. Don’t fill in the teeth! Let your child glue on seeds for teeth, there will be some silly and fun smiles from your child once they create their masterpiece. This is also a fun art project that grandparents would love to get in the mail around Halloween time!
Have fun this fall with pumpkin exploration! There are so many fun pumpkin activities that you and your child can work on together. These are just a few that encourage science, fine motor, math, and art! Be creative and think up your own, the pumpkin play is endless!
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher