Pumpkin Nature Study and Activities

Pumpkin Week – Exploring Nature with Children

We love following the Raising Little Shoots Exploring Nature with Children Curriculum. October sees Pumpkin Week and Floss our daughter has been incredibly excited as we have been gathering together different types of pumpkins to explore. I love the range of sizes, textures and colours that these beautiful orbs come as; each totally different and unique. Our plan is to explore the pumpkins, use them as decorations in our home and then cook with them.

This post was originally published in 2019 and I’ve given it a little update for 2020.

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Child Led

Exploring Nature with Children gives you a very flexible framework to work with that suits us well as we can dip in and still go with Floss’s interests at the time. Right now she loves learning new words and the names of things, counting, spotting letters, cooking, small world play and making things, so these are the activities I’ve focused on for this week on pumpkins.

Gathering Pumpkin Resources

Unlike some of the previous weeks so far I didn’t have hardly any resources already for this week. So, it was very much starting from the beginning. One thing I love to do is explore ideas on Pinterest to get me started, here’s the link to my Pumpkin Week Board.

One of the main activities we’ll be doing is visiting a pumpkin farm. I think it’s very important for children to understand where things come from, how they grow and are connected to the earth. We’re not sure if this will be able to happen this year with Covid-19 restrictions. We’ll just have to gather our own pumpkin farm.

Montessori Pumpkin Resources

I’m a big fan of My Montessori Hub bundles and lots of the pumpkin resources came from their Autumn/ Fall Bundle I purchased in 2019. You can purchase them separately too. The two main sets I’ve chosen to use are Fiddlesticks.Kids (FANDF15 discount code) and the Carrots and Oranges Set. Both sets are quite large and I’ve only chosen to use a selection from each that I feel are suitable for Floss right now. We’re using the same sets for this year, but I will be including a lot more from each of the packs. Floss’ interest in numbers and phonics has very much increased and so we will explore these areas through our pumpkin topic.

Pumpkin Activities with Printables

  • The cutting strips I’m going to be using as tracing lines for a simplified fine motor activity using chunky orange pens. We’ll be doing lots more cutting practise this year too.
  • Naming different types of pumpkins using three part cards. Floss can’t read yet, but she sees three part cards as a problem solving puzzles. Her interest in words means she often has a good go at working out which word may be which by looking at sounds she knows such as initial letters. If your little one is interested in phonics you might like to check out my phonics series of blog posts here.
  • Naming different parts of the fruit. We’ll do this before we cook with the them so we can take a very good look inside the pumpkin.
  • Matching upper and lower case letters. I’ll be picking out just the letters we’ve been looking at recently rather than all of them. For older children they could come up with Autumn words to match each letter of the alphabet.
  • Floss has been enjoying drawing lines between things so the one labelling activity we’re going to have a go at together. I’ll read out the label and let her draw a line to where she thinks on the diagram. Older children could draw and label their own pumpkin.
  • Matching the number numeral to the number of objects. For older children you could detach the numerals off the bottom and using the pictures for addition and subtraction problems. You could print off extra copies and using them for multiplication problems too.
  • We’ll also be doing some nature journalling – if you’d like to find out more about journalling with your children check out my blog post here where we’re exploring minibeasts in our journals – it’s never too early to start and a beautiful keepsake.

Pumpkin Handcrafts

  • We recently made the pumpkin lantern above using crayons and vellum. A lovely little activity that even really little ones can help with. Full instructions here.
  • A sun catcher is on our list of crafts to make – we’ll be following the instructions from this blog post.
  • Mini felt pumpkins – this craft is one for older children. I’m going to do it as a handcraft for me while Floss is getting on with her own craft. Here’s a lovely little tutorial.
  • I couldn’t not add this cute little pumpkin purse into the mix too. Again a craft more for slightly older children or with quite a bit of adult help.
  • If you’re looking for a family or setting collaborative project then this would be ideal and allow a range of ages to contribute at a level appropriate for them. Pumpkin wreath project.
  • We made a lovely little Autumn scene in 2019 with lots of homemade bits and bobs. Here’s the link to the blog post on how we made the different pieces. This year we’ll be getting these treasures back out and adding to our collection.

Recipes

Floss has to be dairy free and gluten free so both of these recipes follow this diet. Here’s a pumpkin soup recipe that we’ll be trying and we do love a bit of chocolate in our house so can’t wait to have a go at making these chocolate pumpkin muffins.

Pumpkin Resources

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Crafty Felt Ideas and Pumpkin Blanks

Pumpkins Galore (BUSY10 for 10% discount – T&Cs on website)

Books We’re Exploring

Christopher Pumpkin Book with pumpkins and lanterns on a wooden table

This one is a perfect book for those looking for a more realistic, Montessori style book to explore the life cycle of a pumpkin.

You might also like to check out my blog post on making your own Autumn small world play scenes and my Autumn nature table post.

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