Are you having a pumpkin week? Much like apples, pumpkins are so fun to learn about, create with, and conduct experiments on during the Fall season! In October, we are inundated with Halloween activities but I know many teachers who simply aren’t able to or maybe just aren’t interested in participating in the spooky season. So I’m here to present alternatives with five pumpkin activities for the classroom.
In our Facebook group for our reading curriculum, Rooted in Reading, teachers chimed in on pumpkin-themed activity ideas and I thought I would share some of the amazing experiments, snacks, activities, crafts, and more that we came up with. I’m also sharing some of my favorite pumpkin books and two pumpkin activity FREEBIES!
The best part about Pumpkin Week has to be the stem activities! One teacher says each year she has her students predict whether the pumpkin will sink or float.
“My students always think it will sink, but I fill a large plastic tub with water and drop the pumpkin in, and they are always so surprised it floats! We also take turns cleaning out the pumpkin and counting the seeds. Then I bring the seeds home to roast and bring back for them to try the next day as a snack!”– Ashlin M.
Who else is surprised that pumpkins float? *raises hand* This is such a neat experiment and a wonderful opportunity to teach students about density and buoyancy in a simplified way! Bonus points for this pumpkin activity being on theme!
In September, my son and I experimented with apple volcanoes (you can find that post HERE.) One teacher says she does the same but with pumpkins!
“One year I took my 4th and 5th graders to the cafeteria to investigate pumpkins. I asked for pumpkin donations and the parents really came through. We investigated the insides, then one class made pumpkin volcanoes and the other made pumpkin slime inside the pumpkin so they could take it home. It was a fun hands-on activity and they used tons of science vocabulary while exploring.”– Amber D.
You can find an informative tutorial for the pumpkin volcano activity on the Little Bins Little Hands website HERE. But here’s a quick version.
To make the pumpkin volcano, you should follow these steps.
- Cut a hole in the top of a small pumpkin and hollow it (save the insides for sensory play!)
- Add water mixed with a few drops of food coloring (as desired) to about 3/4 full
- Add 4-5 tablespoons of dish soap
- Add a few tablespoons of baking soda
- Add vinegar
- Watch the magic!
Pumpkin Story Retell Booklet & Pumpkin Books
I am all for finding new and interesting ways to retell a story. Many teachers chimed in about various reading activities with a pumpkin theme they would be completing in their classrooms over the next few weeks. I thought it would be cool to have students retell a fun read-aloud on a pumpkin!
With this FREEBIE, students will craft their pumpkin booklets and retell the book of the week by sorting it into the beginning, middle, and end.
The wonderful thing about this booklet is it can be used with any book you choose! But if you need some suggestions, here are a few pumpkin book ideas.
These are 6 of my favorite pumpkin books and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Stumpkin is probably one of my favorites of all time! So much so, we created an entire Rooted in Reading unit for that book. You can find that HERE.
Here’s the list of books. I’ve linked them all to my Amazon storefront, so they are affiliate links, but these are books I know and love. And of course, you should always shop around to find the best deals!
- Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
- Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
- Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht
- Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
- Picnic at Mudsock Meadow by Patricia Polacco
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
You can’t go wrong with any of these fun reads. You can grab the FREE Pumpkin Story Retell Booklet to use in your classroom using the form below!;
You’ve heard of apple pie in a cup, but what about pumpkin? When one teacher mentioned this I just knew I had to share. It’s such a fantastic idea and a yummy snack for students!
“Since we just learned about adjectives last week in our RIR lesson, we are using adjectives to describe a pumpkin. We will learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin and make pumpkin pie in a cup!”– Ashley A.
Using adjectives isn’t the only lesson students are learning. While making pumpkin pie in a cup, students will be practicing important skills like following directions and sequencing. They could even write a how-to piece to pair with it.
You can find a full recipe from The Printable Princess right HERE but here’s a slimmed-down version.
To make pumpkin pie in a cup you’ll need cups, spoons, canned pumpkin pie mix, graham crackers, vanilla pudding cups, cinnamon, and cool whip.
- Step 1: Crush the graham crackers and place them at the bottom of the cup. Each student could use 2 graham crackers
- Step 2: Add the vanilla pudding cup
- Step 3: Add the pumpkin pie mix
- Step 4: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon, as desired.
A pumpkin week wouldn’t be complete without pumpkin research! And I have another FREEBIE to share with you.
On the outside, playing with pumpkins, crafting, and making snacks seems like all fun but there are real, educational components that you can accompany them with to still ensure your students are gaining exposure to certain skills and hitting those grade-level standards.
One of those skills is research and as a class, you can complete a pumpkin research project. The research goes over even better when you have real pumpkins to look at, too!
With the project, students will learn fun facts about pumpkins like their habitat and the various ways they can be used. Students will be practicing finding information, recalling facts in an organized way, sorting evidence, problem-solving, and more.
You can grab this Pumpkin Research FREEBIE plus a few more using the form below!;
What are some of your favorite pumpkin activities? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to save the image below so you don’t forget these pumpkin activities for the classroom.