The Green Desk

Beyond the Jack O’ Lanterns: Using Pumpkins to Support Learning

Pumpkins fascinate even infants as large, round, orange objects appear in Autumn, ready to be creatively carved into jack o’ lanterns. BUT… even more intriguing is watching pumpkins grow from tiny seeds, extending vines across the ground, sending forth huge yellow flowers that become small green balls before slowly transforming into “big orange things.”

Maybe some science learning (STEM) fun can happen along the way! Let’s use the tactile sense to playfully measure, float, scoop, count, look, roll, compare, talk, read, play, and learn all about this wonderful natural object. Are pumpkins fruit or veggies? What does Agrilife (Texas A&M University), have to say?

Seven Fun Pumpkin Activities to Try (Pre-K to 2nd Grade)

Go together to the garden to harvest a giant pumpkin!

Both girls are fascinated by the large, orange object matching their size. Curiosity is prompted by its shape, texture, bright color, and rough green stem on top. Both girls are learning sensory navigation, which stimulates healthy brain development.

Assorted Pumpkins & Gourds

Add all kinds of pumpkin and gourd shapes, sizes, colors, and textures to expand the level of sensory curiosity, exploration, discovery – and fun!

The SEVEN FUN ACTIVITIES come from a workshop created and conducted by landscape architect Sarah Little (who grew up on a pumpkin farm), while at NLI, for the 11th Annual Natural Learning Design Institute.