In this post, I share 8 fun fall activities you can do with your elementary-aged students in the classroom and at home!
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As a type a, perfectionist, neat freak teacher, it took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of doing
fun messy things in the classroom.
I always made my activities fun and engaging, but messy? Nah…. But eventually, I learned to loosen up and have some fun with my kiddos. Fun that made a MESS!
Now that fall is upon us, it is a great time to incorporate some pumpkin activities in the elementary classroom.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to decorate my classroom with each season. I spend more time there than I do in my own home, so why not make it feel homey?
A few years back, my then-boyfriend (now husband) took me to a pumpkin patch at a local church (It probably helped that his Aunt worked there!) and let me pick out as many pumpkins as I wanted!
I loaded them all up and took them to my classroom to decorate for fall.
Pumpkin Activities for the Elementary Classroom
Once fall was beginning to wind down I planned some fun activities to make use of those pumpkins adorning my classroom.
I like to do this first activity on Halloween (or the day after) as a way to keep the Halloween distraction at bay and engage my students in meaningful lessons.
1. Counting Pumpkin Seeds
One of my favorite books for the fall is, How Many Seeds Are in a Pumpkin?
I read this book with my students. Then each team went back to their table and proceeded to open up the pumpkin and count the seeds.
(or, sometimes I have a special reader come in and read the book to the class!)
The students had to vote as a team on how they would count their seeds. By 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, or some different denominator.
This, then, allows for a whole range of math activities you can do after:
- Compare tables amounts of seeds
- Estimation before the seeds are counted
- Graph tables amount of seeds
- Weigh pumpkins and compare (could also lend well to Science!)
(One year, I even took the pumpkin seeds home, baked them, and brought them back the next day to eat- there’s a whole ‘nother lesson there!)
2. Pumpkin Writing
The easiest fall activity you can do with your kids is writing. You can write about:
- fall weather
- Halloween/Dia de las Muertos
- small moment writing (explained below)
- creative writing (explained below)
Another fun way to incorporate pumpkin activities into your curriculum is by writing about pumpkins. Students can write about the physical features of a pumpkin. This would also be a great time to talk about writing descriptively.
3. Small Moment Writing
“Small Moment Writing” is a strategy I used with my students to think about writing about one tiny moment of a story instead of the entire story.
The first year I did this with my kids, we used the example of a watermelon. A watermelon is big and you can’t consume it all at once!
Similar to a child’s story about their vacation- that’s a lot to write about.
Instead, with “Small Moment Writing” (or Seed Writing), you pick out one tiny moment from your vacation, using the visual of a seed in watermelon as one tiny part of the fruit.
In this instance, a kid may write about the campfire they had on their vacation, eating smores, and telling ghost stories with their family.
The following year I used this same strategy but instead of using a watermelon as an example, I used the pumpkin and its’ seeds as our visual aid.
This is a great visual, especially for our ELLs, because they can SEE the difference between two types of stories.
4. Creative Writing Activity
Another pumpkin activity for the elementary classroom (and a favorite of mine) comes straight from my time in Teacher Fellows.
I read the book “Where the Wild Things Are” and then students each get a piece of paper to draw their “wild thing.”
The catch is that they only get one color marker or crayon (I tell them this before we start) and 30-45 seconds to draw (I don’t tell them this part!).
Once the timer goes off, they have to pass their paper to the person to their right. Then another 30-45 seconds of drawing on that new “wild thing.” All the way until it makes it back to the original owner.
After the drawing, you can do the same scenario, but with writing. And you can actually use this with any book, not just Where the Wild Things Are.
They start writing their story and after a minute or so it moves on to the next student to continue the writing. Then at the end they can do a Round Robin to read each story. The kids will get a huge laugh out of the pictures and stories they create!
More Fall Activites
Sometimes it’s not even about incorporating physical pumpkins into the classroom, but including fun drops of the season into daily work.
Here are a few blogs I found with some pumpkin activities that I thought were worth showing you!
5. Investigation Foldable
A pumpkin investigation foldable to help take notes as students investigate pumpkins. This resource is geared towards lower elementary.
6. Fall Activites for Math
7. Fall STEM Lessons
I love these STEM ideas for fall. Some of them are more for home, but sometimes all we need are ideas to get our creative juices flowing and figure out how we can adapt them to work in our classroom!
8. Favorite Fall Books
The thing I miss most in the classroom is reading to my kids.
I think if I ever ventured up to middle school I would still do Read Alouds and picture books. Something about them just makes me feel so cozy and happy!
Here are a few of my favorite books to read in the fall!
Fall Leaves is a beautiful picture book written by Louetta Holland. I don’t want to give away the “secret” of the book and why I love it so much, but I think when you read it you will understand what I mean!
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin
This is the book I referenced above that I used with my students to practice counting pumpkin seeds. It was a favorite activity of my students!
From Seed to Pumpkin
From Seed to Pumpkin is a great book to incorporate into a science lesson when you are looking for fall activities to do in all subjects you teach.
The Pumpkin Book
And, of course, anything Gail Gibbons is going to be great! Her book, The Pumpkin Book, is a great book to have in your classroom library.
How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow
I had How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow in my Book on CD collection and always brought it out around Fall for my kids to enjoy.
Students love to be engaged and do fun projects and fall activities. You don’t have to do them all and you don’t have to do the messy ones! But try to find one way to incorporate pumpkins or small fall activities into your fall season.
- Count Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin Writing
- Small Moment Writing
- Creative Writing with Where the Wild Things Are
- Pumpkin Investigation Foldables
- Fall Math Centers
- Pumpkin STEM Activities
- Fall/Pumpkin Books
Keep in mind, after you bring said guest to school to read and do pumpkin stuff with your kiddos, he needs a nap! (And he wonders why I am so tired on Friday nights?!?)
Here’s a quick recap of all the links I shared in this post:
- Holiday Activities in the Classroom
- Class Decor and Classroom Tour
- Math Center Organization
- 9 Management Tips for Elementary Students
With the holiday season right around the corner, here are some other holiday-related blogs for the classroom.
Until next time,
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