This week we will discuss how one pumpkin can bring weeks of curriculum into the classroom through multiple opportunities of exploration.
Have you ever tried pumpkin rolling in your classroom? Just like walking the line the challenge for the student is to roll the pumpkin, while keeping it on the line. Place a line of tape on the floor then model rolling the pumpkin on the line. This motor challenge is perfect for toddlers and young children who need to move.
First take a small pumpkin and allow your young child to decorate the pumpkin with markers. This art activity will stay out for the day and the pumpkin will be a collective art project. The next day have the children scrub the pumpkin use the
new toddler scrubbing kit. The toddler student will love the colors made in the water when scrubbing off the marker. Aprons keep the child dry while doing messy activities but are also great to practice putting on and taking off clothing.
Have you introduced hammering to the children in your classroom? Learning how to use hammers and other tools is a wonderful addition to the practical life section of your classroom. Children who learn how to use tools properly spring into action when something in their classroom needs to be fixed. Plus, with proper lessons, they can actually help you screw loose chairs, hang up pictures or build shelves for the classroom. Add this tool three part card work to your classroom to enhance the unit.
Add the clay hammering job onto your practical life shelf. Through this lesson, children will learn how to properly line up a wooden nail and tap it gently into the modeling clay. At the end of the lesson, they can remove all of the wooden nails to prepare the work for the next child.
After they have practiced this skill, you can expand their hammering exploration through hammering a pumpkin. Simply bring in a pumpkin, small hammer and nails from the hardware store. Place the pumpkin in a safe spot outside and allow the children to hammer in nails as they please. You can limit each child to a certain number of nails or allow them to use as many as they would like as long as they wedge out the nails at the end of their practice.
As the pumpkin gets full of holes, simply turn it to give more room for practice. Once the pumpkin has reached the end of its life, it's time to gut the pumpkin during a group lesson.
Parts of a pumpkin
Now that the hammered pumpkin is ready to be carved, it can become a lesson on the parts of the pumpkin. Begin by talking about the outside of the pumpkin. Talk about the thick orange skin and woody brown stem. Then, use a sharp knife to carve the top of the pumpkin off.
Using a giant spoon, demonstrate how to scoop out the seeds and flesh of the pumpkin. This is a wonderful sensory experience that many children will love to be a part of. Invite them to help you take out the seeds and inner gooey flesh of the pumpkin with their hands. Keep all of the seeds and flesh in a big bowl or storage container for seed sorting. Seed sorting and cleaning can be an easy addition to a water table. Children can use strainers and water to clean and separate out the pumpkin seeds.
This week’s worksheet is related to the parts of a pumpkin. Children will love matching the labels to the diagram of the pumpkin after their hands-on exploration of the pumpkin in the classroom.