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You can teach a preschooler complex science skills in simple ways. Just engaging in observation and having a conversation about what you are seeing, creates stronger vocabulary and classification skills. We tried out a Preschool activity that I call “Pumpkin Classification.” It is an observation activity that teaches organizational skills. We use a variety of gourds and mini pumpkins to explore colors and blends of colors in order to group the gourds and pumpkins by how they are similar and different. I include a list of our favorite books about Fall, because we read a lot in this house and connecting our activities to books always enhances learning.
What you need to try this preschool activity:
orange, green and yellow construction paper (1 sheet of each color)
a variety of gourds (different colors, sizes and shapes)
3-4 mini pumpkins
How to do the Preschool Activity: Pumpkin Classification
- Start by talking with your child about what you will be doing-looking at the pumpkins and gourds to see how they are the same or different.
- Set the pieces of construction paper on a table or the floor as shown.
- Ask your child to try to match the colors of the gourds and pumpkins to the papers. Your child can try this alone, and then you can step in to talk about what they did. Ask them why they put the yellow and green gourd where they did, or why they put the orange one where it is. Just have a conversation using descriptive words to talk about the process of classifying the pumpkins-otherwise known as organizing them by similar characteristics.
- At this point, I worked with my preschooler to look more closely at the gourds and pumpkins. I asked her pointing to a gourd, “What colors do you see on this one?” As she described that it was yellow and green, I suggested we put it where the yellow and green papers touch so we know it has both colors on it.
5. We repeated this for the gourds and pumpkins until they were all organized where they best fit. This is actually a Venn Diagram on a preschool level. We are showing the similarities and differences between groups based on their characteristics. You can use “smooth” and “bumpy” and ignore the colors if your child needs to focus on less traits at one time, but this is a really easy way to get a preschool child thinking like a scientist, using their observation skills and trying to organize. (Now if only they would do that with their toys!)
Pumpkin Order Activity
As an extension to the classification activity, we also explored order. I wanted to start teaching my daughter about 1st, 2nd, 3rd…
I took the piece of orange paper, and simply wrote 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th on it in a row. The pumpkins were a little larger than the space, but a little overhang off the paper is ok.
I pointed to each ordinal number abbreviation, saying what it was called, and asking my daughter to place the pumpkins from smallest to largest. We had talked about this before in our Pumpkin Puzzles activity. There was not that much difference in size between our mini pumpkins, so the task was challenging. She did it, though.
When we complete our “lessons” or preschool activities for the morning, we always read books before lunch to wrap up and gather all of us together. The following images are links to the Amazon listings of our favorite books about Fall and pumpkins that are actually in our home library. A few I have even had since I was teaching! They are favorites and I know your children will love them too. You can click each image to view more details about each book. Most are $7-11 dollars each.
Favorite Books About Pumpkins and Fall:
What has been your favorite way to explore pumpkins with your child this Fall?
Enjoy your time at home!