Mini pumpkins make great tools for science and math exploration in the Pre-K classroom. We used mini pumpkins for exploring weight, measurement, and estimation.
These activities can be added to your Science Center or Math Center as a learning display. Children love anything mini, and I like to include real pumpkins for children to explore in the Fall. These were also inexpensive. The orange pumpkins came in a bag of 5 for $3.00, so they were less than $1 each. (I got them at Walmart.)
I also like to add a sign to each display which asks a question or gives a direction to include some print in our center. To make each sign, I wrote on a piece of copy paper and slipped it into a clear plastic stand that I bought at an office supply store.
The varying sizes and weights of mini pumpkins make them perfect for a weighing activity. At this activity, children place two pumpkins in the balance scale to see which pumpkin is the heaviest. Once they find the heaviest one, they can compare it with another pumpkin. Our sign says, “Which pumpkin weighs the most?” Children can practice lots of vocabulary: weigh, scale, heavy, heavier, heaviest, light, bigger, large, small, most, least, etc.
With this activity, I placed the pumpkins on the table along with a basket containing a tape measurer. Our sign says, “Measure the pumpkins.” I used the type of tape measurer that people who sew use, not the kind from the hardware store. For the children’s use, I cut this tape measurer off at 20 inches. Children can wrap the tape measurer around the pumpkins to see how big around they are.
This is a measurement estimation activity. I picked out one of my larger mini pumpkins, but you could use any size, even a medium or large pumpkin. I only put one pumpkin in the display. I wrapped ribbon around the pumpkin and cut it off at exactly the right length, and I cut three more ribbons shorter. Our sign says, “Guess! Which ribbon will wrap around the pumpkin?” Children first guess which ribbon they think will fit around the pumpkin and then try each one to see whether it fits.
I have a small display table beside our Science Center shelf for different science displays like this throughout the year. All of these pumpkin activities are not out at the same time — I have one for awhile and then change to the next one.
Find more Pumpkin and Halloween activities here!