Cycle of the Pumpkin

I am sure many of you are familiar with this fun project – I saw it at a conference many years ago.  After I cut out the dip at the top of 2 plates for each child, they paint the entire plates orange – a bit messy but fun!  Then I staple the 2 plates together and staple a heavy duty piece of green yarn near the top of one side.  As we learn about the cycle of the pumpkin the children add one piece each day – the seed, the vine, the flower, the little pumpkin (green), the big pumpkin, and then they paint a jack o lantern face on one side.  As we retell the cycle we show the pumpkin side until the very end.  Sometimes I have the children put a big orange pumpkin on the string, sometimes we just use the plain side of the pumpkin for the big pumpkin.  The children love doing this and it is great reinforcement for cycles.  There are many choices of great books to go with this.

You could do this project in one day, but we add one piece each day – that gives lots of time to reinforce the cycle.  Along with this project we made a book.  The words were in the pocket chart and we reread them every day.

I used this title because we also learned a song to go along with this.  I love using so many modalities for children with different interests and strengths.

The song is to the tune of  Mary Had a Little Lamb – we act out hand motions that go with it.

Do you know how pumpkins grow

Pumpkins grow

Pumpkins grow

Do you know how pumpkins grow

In my garden?

First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed

First I’ll plant a pumpkin seed in my garden.

Rest of the verses:

Then the vine and leaves will grow …

Then the blossoms will appear …

Then the little pumpkins grow …

At last the pumpkins will turn orange …

Then I’ll carve a funny face, funny face, funny face.

Then I’ll carve a funny face on my pumpkin.

Depending on the group of children I have each year, and how many sight words I have introduced – I often change this text to read “I can see the seed.”  If I have not introduced I and can yet, I use this simpler text and spend that week reinforcing the word see.  I make a point of introducing the word THE very early in the year.  I’ll be sharing more sight word things.

For this seed page I just had the children color the page brown for dirt and stick on 2 white stickers.  If I was not doing the pumpkin project already using real pumpkin seeds I probably would glue those on.

On the pumpkin project we fold up a coffee filter and dip it into yellow food coloring.  For this page I just folded up cupcake papers.  You could do either one.

It is really fun if you can bring in a pumpkin growing on the vine with a blossom still attached so they can see it all.  If you can’t bring one in you could photograph one showing all the parts.  Of course there are many books too.

On this page I already had a clipart picture of a pumpkin and the children used the warming tray (meant to keep buffet foods warm) and peeled crayons to color it.  This is a really fun technique if you haven’t tried it!  You can often find warming trays at garage sales.  The crayon melts quickly and dries really fast – it looks like paint.  Of course you could just cut out or draw a pumpkin too.

Our school had an Ellison die cut machine – I precut the pumpkins and the kids put yellow paper behind the eye and mouth shapes.  You probably noticed that I included picture cues to help the children read the text as well as to help them be sure they are working on the correct page.  I almost always give the children a book that is stapled together to start with, sometimes they put a project on the wrong page if they don’t have a reminder picture.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 02:35:32

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful work! I so enjoyed looking at the books. I am retiring this year after 36 years. I have no idea what I will do with myself. Teaching has been my life and there are no Grandbabies on the horizon. It’s going to be a big adjustment. I’m thankful to have made a difference.
    Thanks again.


  2. Missie
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 09:44:10

    These are wonderful ideas!! Please keep posting them and sharing all your knowledge.
    Thank you.


  3. Rachel K
    Sep 12, 2011 @ 15:57:40

    Sorry for jumping the gun, but I am in the process of planning for October and Fall (Which just happes to be my favorite time of the year!) Do you have any ideas for fire prevention? I am thoroughly enjoying your ideas, and your blog has been my first stop for some new and fresh ideas. Teaching pre-K for 10 years, I have been getting tired of the same old “stuff!” Thank you so much for all the great ideas and words of wisdom!


  4. Laura K.
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 21:43:24

    Thank you so much for sharing ideas! Greta told me about your blog and I am so happy to have new ideas to share with my Kinders! Owen is getting so big – I remember him as a little guy from Library storytimes!


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