I am extremely behind in getting my holiday stuff posted, but am excited to get back on track and hopefully help you get some last minute ideas to help keep those planners full of fun filled activities for your kiddos.
The first thing I think of when I think of October is Pumpkins and Jack o’ Lanterns. I figured this would be the most obvious place to start so here with go…
Gourd Stamper:. I have the kids roll the mini pumpkin gourds in paint and then stamp them onto a piece of paper.
Mixing red and yellow to make orange, on the science project. If you don’t use this on the pumpkins just try using baggies with a pumpkin drawn on the outside, then put red and yellow into the baggie, seal tight, I even used scotch tape around the edge just to make sure no paint gets out. Then have them mix the colors using their hands.
Fist Pumpkins: You have the kids make a fist with their hands, and then paint the knuckle area orange then have them stamp it onto a brown sheet of paper. The brown is to be the dirt. Have them make an imprint about 5 to six times. Then connect the pumpkins with a vine, kind of like connect the dots, and add thumb print leaves on top. That is it for your pumpkins, simple and a whole lot of fun. The kids love doing this, and often times make too many pumpkins. When they make too many pumpkins, you could pull out the book, “Too Many Pumpkins!” Great book and it will make them giggle that they made too many pumpkins.
shape: Our shape for this week is Circle. To Reinforce the shape I have them each use a scissors to cut out Orange circles. (Have lots of extra copies made so that if they make a mistake you have back up.) Then I hand them out shape stampers with black ink, or I cut out a bunch of different shapes and let them use them to design their pumpkin faces. As they are working on their pumpkins I ask them math facts like which shape has three sides. Which shape has no sides. I see who can point at the shapes and who knows the names of the shapes. I always reinforce sometimes two to three times the name of the shapes to help reinforce any students that still may be struggling with recognizing shapes, or may just be learning them.
Graphing: Graphing our favorite jack o’lantern faces. Counting up the favorites, and comparing to find the winning face that we will use on our jack o lantern. Also counting the seeds from the pumpkin by making stacks of ten, sometimes even using little bathroom cups to help separate the piles. You will go through a lot but it really works on grouping the tens together and making it more visually distinguishable when counting by tens later.
PUMPKIN CUT OUTS: I also have little pumpkins that I cut out from using a copy master from Mailbox magazine on orange paper of some pumpkins. I laminate these and use them for many many things. One thing I have them do is I write numbers on the pumpkins using a dry erase marker and then they have to put that many seeds in the pumpkin.
Science: This is an easy one, I have the kids learn about the pumpkin life cycle. I read the a book entitled “Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie” from National Geographic Kids. Then I have them tape a seed to a brown square. The brown square represents the dirt. ( I use tape because; it uses more fine motor skills, secondly, it holds the seed on better then glue, and finally the tape over the seed symbolizes the covering of the seed in the dirt.) then I punch a whole in the bottom and the top of the paper. If you put it diagonally there is usually more room to punch the wholes. I then have them make a green sprout using pipe cleaners on brown paper. I then have them cut out a small green circle which represents the unripe pumpkin and tie that to the other two items, and lastly I have them paint the backs of two paper plates orange (can practice mixing colors red and yellow to make orange to paint the pumpkin) and tear two green leaves. Once the paper plates are dried I punch a whole in the top and tie the paper plate to the other 3 things, and then I staple the bottoms of the two orange paper plates together and the sides, just leave the top part open so that you can stuff the rest of the project inside, or you can hang it up and have a whole pumpkin life cycle hanging from your ceilings. Putting the first 3 parts inside the pumpkin also makes for easy take home later.
Floating Pumpkins. For this project it is best to get the biggest pumpkin you can lift, and a big tub of water that is pretty deep and wide. Then ask the kids if I put this pumpkin in this bucket of water do you think it will sink or will it float? (most will think it will sink) Place the pumpkin in the water. Have them watch what happens. Then draw a picture of what they thought would happen, and what happened. (science journals are a great way to increase writing in the classroom, even if its drawings. It is using drawings to convey information. Something new students may not be used to.
Pumpkin Pie Play dough for most of the week.
Pumpkin guts on the last day. We will have planned out our faces during the week in math class, and the next day voted on their favorite face (social studies), finally added up and compared the totals (math) to find out who the winning face was, we will finally be able to carve our pumpkin together. Allowing us to have access to pumpkin guts. I only do one, because I don’t trust little kids with knives (duh) but also because I can’t carve 10 or 20 pumpkins by myself while educating all of these kids. I can however, have them help me scoop out the seeds and the GUTS (as they like to call it). Then once they got tired, I would quickly finish up and have them start counting seeds while I finish the face.
Also just in case the kids have very short attention spans this particular day, have an extra adult around to read another pumpkin story while you finish up the face.
Farmers: who grow pumpkins. Read about where pumpkins grow, and then of course this is a great way to include a field trip.
Field Trip: Pumpkin Patch. If you can find one that also teaches about different kinds of pumpkins or squash, or have some type of a read aloud, all that much better.
The Story of the Sermon on the Mount: Tell the story then talk about how Jesus said we are to be the lights of the world, and let his light show through us. Use the Jack o’Lantern as a symbol. God created us and helped us grow, then because of Jesus he took out all our yucky stuff(sin) and created a new us through Jesus (carving of the face) and put his spirit in us and the love of Christ in us to shine in this dark world of sin (just like we put a candle in to the Jack o’ Lantern.
LES: For this I read Too Many Pumpkins and we discuss what we would do with too many pumpkins and I write it in a LES. I love this story and the kids really get into it. I like to act like the cranky lady. This is a link to Amazon website, if you are interested and would like the book. I would like to just say that, I do make a commission if you buy this book through amazon, but I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t think it was an awesome book, that the kids loved. If you buy it from Amazon, it is just a little encouragement for me.
Letter of the week is P: Tracing P’s, Finding the letter P’s on a Pumpkin, listening for things that start with P.
LES: Write a list as a group explaining how to carve a pumpkin. Example steps: Create faces, vote on faces, cut pumpkin open, dig out guts, count seeds, carve face, put candle inside. If you can help by drawing pictures next to each sentence, and number the steps to help with putting things in order.
Pumpkin Rolling: Pretend to be pumpkins and roll. ( Egg Roll) Preferably use a mat. See if they can stay in a straight line, see if they can roll in a circle.
Seed, Seed, Pumpkin: Duck Duck goose, but with pumpkin words.