So many good pumpkin books are out there to choose from, but one October book I like to use at circle is called “It’s Pumpkin Time!” by Zoe Hall.
(This is a Scholastic book I can’t find on their website anymore, or on Amazon or Thriftbooks, BUT.. at the time of this post, there are several copies available on eBay for around $4).
I use this typically more towards the middle or end of October rather than the beginning, when we first start learning about the pumpkin life cycle, because it touches on Halloween traditions like carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating. And while I’m all about stretching out a Halloween theme for a couple weeks, I just can’t bring myself to do it in early October when it’s usually still blazing hot here!
I typically use…
-a sensory bin of beans
-mini hand rake
-small yellow flower (used a die-cut machine)
-green pumpkin cutouts (die-cut machine)
-orange pumpkin (die-cut machine)
-crazy cube die with jack-o-lantern pieces in the pockets (googly eyes, noses and mouths cut from construction paper)
-large orange pumpkin to decorate (I made one with a large sheet of construction paper)
(PS- If you want a free printable version of what you need to reenact this and 20 other Fall books, click here to get it!)
We pretend our bin of beans is the dirt and do some digging like the kids to get our pumpkin patch ready. If you don’t have a hand rake, the kids can use their fingers to “rake” (have 2 kids at a time do this so it goes quicker!)
After raking the dirt, it’s time to plant our seeds! Last year, we dropped actual seeds in the bin, but this year I didn’t have any on hand (Can you tell I was really prepared the week I read this? ha) so we just did the action and pretended to drop seeds in.
As the book goes on, the kids see the patch start to grow and see all the stages of the life cycle of a pumpkin.
(At this point in the year, we’ve read other books about the pumpkin life cycle and they’ve gone to the pumpkin patch on their field trip, so this is a nice little refresher!)
As we get to each part, the kids put yellow flowers, green pumpkins, and orange pumpkins in the sensory bin to make our pumpkin patch.
Through trial and error, I figured out the easiest way to do this with a larger group so there’s not so much waiting, is to split the class into thirds. Have 1/3 put flowers in, 1/3 put green pumpkins in, and 1/3 put orange pumpkins in the bin.
If you have a small class or a classroom of kids who are mostly able to handle waiting for turns (it’s a tough skill, I get it!), a way to incorporate some additional following directions is by saying things like, “If you’re wearing a blue shirt, come put in your green pumpkin” or “If your name starts with M, come put in your flower”
Another direction I gave that was really interesting to see, was “Take one and pass the rest to your friend.” It was a tough concept! They would generally pass one to one friend, try to pass one to another friend, etc… rather than passing the whole pile.
Making a Jack-o-Lantern:
Afterwards, we take turns rolling the cra-z cube. 2 pockets have teeth pieces, 1 pocket has a nose, and 1 has an eye. Whatever they land on, they put on the jack-o-lantern. At the end we count how many of each, and compare whether it’s the same or different than the number of eyes/nose/teeth we have, and if we have more or less than the jack o lantern!
Have you ever used this book? What are your favorite pumpkin books?