Pumpkin Activities: Fall Centers

I LOVE fall! The colors, the smell, the temperature! (If you don't live in the south, you can't possibly understand how excited I get when I wake up and it's not above 70 yet.)

Of course, my love of fall has to pair up with my other love...teaching.

In my preschool, we follow weekly themes. There are many reasons I use themes, too many to list here. (If you're interested in finding out why I use themes, check out my post Why teachers use themes?)

I line my themes up with the state preschool standards for Science and Social Studies and one of these standards (thank you, Lord!) is seasons! I spend several weeks in the fall talking about different aspects of the season (Apples, Harvest, Thanksgiving, etc.).

I try to go all out for my themes. What's the point of having a theme if all you are doing is reading a book about it? I try to tie ALL of my activities into my theme.

Of course, I want to share those lovely activities I have made. So today, I am sharing my Pumpkin Activities. I do have a bundle where you can get all of my Preschool/Kindergarten Pumpkin Activities.

Pumpkin Themed Preschool and Kindergarten Unit with 8 activities

Here is a break down of the exact activities included in this resource.

Colors: Pumpkin Color Sorting!

Pumpking Color Sorting Printable Activity

I have to say, my kids loved it. I did this activity one on one with my kiddos because it was the first time they were seeing the color words. As I was working with one student, the next one was looking over longingly. I had to shoo away students several times. They were just excited! (One of the reasons I use themes!)

And, guys, this is such a simple activity. Lay out all the Color Name Cards.

Pumpkin Color Words laid out and ready to sort

Then, the kids will sort through the pumpkin cards, laying them under the color name.

Pumpkin colors sorted under their color word

I hid the pumpkin cards in a sensory bin (dried pumpkin seeds to stick with the theme). The kids used plastic pumpkins and spoons to search for the pumpkin cards. They sorted the pumpkin cards to the correct color name as they found them.

Another activity I am planning to do with this set is a race. I'm going to split the pumpkin cards into 2 baskets and laying the color name cards at the other end of the room. I will let 2 kids play at a time. They will take 1 card from the basket, match it to the correct color name, and go back for another card.

Counting/Cardinality/Place Value: Pumpkin Counting Clip Cards & Ten Frames

Pumpkin Ten frames and counting clip cards

This resource includes 2 resources that work on: counting, number recognition, one to one correspondence and place value.

For the clip cards, students will count how many pumpkins are on the card and place the clothespin on that number.

For ten frames, students will draw a card and use the little pumpkins to fill in the ten frame representing the number on their card.

Measuring: Pumpkin Measuring Cards

Pumpkin Measuring cards

This resource also includes two activities: measuring cards, and pumpkin squares.

For measuring cards, students will use a ruler or manipulatives to measure the pumpkins. All the pumpkins are created to be measured in inches. Linking cubes, fun size Hershey Bars, or candy pumpkins are perfect to use with this activity.

Kids can use the pumpkin squares to measure items around the room or outside. Measure: desks, white board, tables, chairs, computers, or have the students lay down and measure each other.

Letter Recognition/Sounds: Pumpkin ABC Match

Pumpkin themed letter match set

This resources has 2 different sets of ABC match: upper to lower case match and upper/lower to upper/lower match.

I personally use the upper/lower match with students who can't identify letters yet. Many people teach upper case letters first and then come back and teach lower case letters later. This is highly ineffective. It actually makes it more difficult to students to learn how to read and write appropriately.

Instead, teach upper and lower case letter simultaneously. By using the upper/lower match set, students are seeing both upper and lower case letters and identifying them as the same letter.

Once students are recognizing the majority of the letter, I switch the upper to lower case match. This allows you to check and make sure students do recognize both forms of the letters.

More than simply using this set as a match, have students identify sounds. They can either say the letter sound as they match the letters or you can say the letter sound and have them find the correct letter.

I do these activities with my students every week. Kids learn through repetition. I simply use different themed sets or hide cards in sensory bins to change it up a bit.

Shape: Pumpkin Shape Memory

Pumpkin themed shape match activity

This resource includes 14 2D shapes. If you are working with students who are just learning their shapes, you may want to remove half of the shapes. Once the students know the first seven shapes, you can add in a few more at a time.

With my younger students, I play this game as a simple match. All the cards are facing up and they are just looking for the same shape.

I have found that my preschoolers really struggle with memory games (memory may work better in kindergarten). So, with my older students, I leave the cards facing up but will tell them the shape to find.

Patterns: Pumpkin Pattern Cards

Pumpkin pattern cards activity

This set includes beginner to intermediate patterns.

I have been doing 2 of these cards everyday during my morning group time. I hold the card up and have the students say the pattern with me. When we get to the end of the card, I ask the students what would come next in the pattern.

What I really like about these cards is that patterns are based on more than just colors. Some of the patterns are just different colors, but some are different sizes, and others are both size and color. This really challenges students to see the entire pattern instead of just looking at the color.

When I use these cards as a center, I pair them with the pumpkin squares that I have attached to clothespins (I use clothespins for a lot of activities. Instead of having 10 thousand clothespins I have to store, I put Velcro on my clothespins. Then, I can attach whatever I need for a specific activity.)

Students will use the pumpkin clothespins to match the pattern and to extend it. They can also use the pumpkins to create their own patterns. (Remember that matching, extending, and creating patterns are all different skills. Make sure you are practicing them all.)

There it is, my Pumpkin Bundle. I have used this a ton in my own class. I hope you are able to get a lot of use out of it, too.

Have suggestions on what activities you would like or need in your center bundle? Let me know in the comments below.

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