Meet the Sullivans: Preschooler Pumpkin Activities Unit!

October 16, 2014

Preschooler Pumpkin Activities Unit!

Don't get me wrong, we LOVE toys in our house. Keith and I (and O's grandmas) are guilty of finding an excuse to buy some new, fun, exiting toy any day of the week, but with Christmas and O's birthday just around the corner I'm looking for new ways to entertain him. I created a really fun pumpkin themed unit a few weeks ago as a guest post for Leah's Mommy School series, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share the ideas here on my blog!!

And with Fall in full swing I thought pumpkins would be a fantastic theme to go with! Most of these activities need some adult help or set up, but should provide some great entertainment for your child once they get going!

THEME:

Pumpkins

FOCUS:

Exploring the great world of PUMPKINS! In this unit children will explore their shape, texture and taste, as well as why we include pumpkins in our homes and celebrations during this time of the year.

BOOKS:


Five Little Pumpkins- A fun board book with bright & bold illustrations and the popular rhyme.

Apples and Pumpkins- A young girl spends a glorious fall day picking apples and searching for the perfect pumpkin in this refreshed classic with audio.

Pumpkin Patch- We don't own this book, but I used to have it my classroom and we've read it at the library. Color photographs of pumpkins at all stages of growth, of farmers planting them, and of children enjoying them are the strength of this beautiful book. King's sharp, well-framed and well-composed photos are sure to captivate pumpkin lovers of all ages.

ACTIVITIES:

These activities were O's favorite part of the Pumpkin Unit! Please don't feel over whelmed when looking at all of the activities. We did 2-3 activities a week over the course of two weeks. This gave me time to prep in between. 

1. Pumpkin Guts Sensory Activity 
  • PLAY - Cut the pumpkin open and let your child go to town playing with the pumpkin guts.
  • TALK - about how the guts smell, look and feel. Concentrate on words like slimy, sticky, smelly, stringy, smooth, bumpy, etc. as you talk about the inside and outside of the pumpkin.
  • COUNT - Pull out all the seeds and starting counting them together. We counted them in batches of about 15-25. I would just stop counting when O seemed to lose interest.

  • TASTE -  Separate the seeds from the pulp, and then use your favorite Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe to try them together.  I enlisted O's help in the kitchen to wash, spread out to dry, season and mix the seeds. We only roasted half of our seeds and used the other half for the next activity. 
 
2. Color Sorting with Pumpkin Seeds - Wash and fully dry your seeds. Separate them into four groups (or three, or five, however many colors you want to have) and put them in individual ziplock bags. Add a few drops of food coloring and shake to coat. Pour them out onto paper plates and let them dry overnight. 

Once the seeds are dry you can mix them together in a plastic bowl so your little one can sort them. I used colored construction paper laid out on the floor and had O place the seeds on the paper. You could also use little cups or bowls. 


3. Pumpkin Printing with Pool Noodle - We had lots of fun doing this art activity!


4. Pumpkin Spice Play Dough - Play dough is a great activity for increasing fine motor skills, as well as encouraging creativity -- and I know I always have fun with it too! I shared this recipe for play dough last week on my blog. We are still having fun with it!

SNACK: 


The day after we carved our pumpkin, and roasted the seeds, I made O a pumpkin themed snack before we got into sorting pumpkin seeds. In his snack there were (clockwise from top left: roasted pumpkins seeds, a clementine made to look like a jack-o-lantern, an Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookie and cheddar cheese cut with cookie cutters to look like pumpkins.

SONGS:
 Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "oh my it's getting late."
The second one said, "there are witches in the air."
The third one said, "but we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "let's run and run and run."
The fifth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"
OOOhh OOOhh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight. 


We've been singing this song since we took the book out of our Fall / Halloween decorations box in September. O loves the book and he loves the song even more. He knows almost all the words now! The You Tube video below is pretty cute too, and it's helpful if you don't know the tune. 



And for some other fun ideas check out my Pinterest boards!

Follow Colleen | Meet the Sullivans |'s board for Owen on Pinterest.
  Follow Colleen | Meet the Sullivans |'s board Busy Bags to Make on Pinterest.
What are you favorite toddler busy bags or activities? Check out the other mama's blogs for their ideas. And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this topic.


 
Oct 2: Toddler Diaper Bag Essentials
Oct 9: Learning to love your post-pregnancy body
Oct 16: Busy Toddler Activities
Oct 23: Keeping in Shape While Caring for a Toddler
Oct 30: Sick Day Tips
Nov 6: How to Not Lose Your Patience with your Toddler
Nov 13: Favorite Toddler Outings

An InLinkz Link-up

9 comments:

E Hayes said...

awesome post, Colleen!

Chrissy@SimpleJoysBlog said...

Wow, love all your fun activities. I'm also going to check out some of those books.

Hannah said...

What fun little activities for them to do! I've been thinking I need to get a pumpkin, so maybe once I finally get one, we'll gut it together :)

Sara McCarty said...

Colleen, I swear you are nothing short of amazing. Can my kids and I come live with you?! You have the best activities and the most creative ideas!

Sarah said...

what a great post! I've tried roasting pumpkin seeds and I failed terribly! Love coloring the pumpkin seeds, what a great idea! Off to pin this!

erin vancura said...

ok. you kids are insanely festive. and adorable. i LOVE all of these. i'll be sending lex over so she can get a dose of festive-ness ASAP.

Tami Q said...

Colored pumpkin seeds - what a cute and fun idea!

Elizabeth {Chasin' Mason} said...

I swear... you are SO creative and festive! Love this!

Courtney B said...

Whoa. You are SUPER mom! Look at all the fun you've made with pumpkins!! LOVE these ideas!