Imagine the look on the face of kids as they walk into your classroom for a session and see a school pumpkin patch. Yes, to get kids excited for the autumn weather and celebrations, it’s time to give them the opportunity to pick their own pumpkin. Write messages home to those at home to see if they would be willing to donate some small pumpkins. They are typically only a few dollars each and some may find it easier to ask for the funds and get them for all kids at the same time. While writing home, check in with everyone, paying close attention to multilingual families, to see what special pumpkin traditions they may have.
Setting Up Your Own Patch
The first item to determine is whether or not you want your pumpkin patch to have real or craft pumpkins. A lot of this may depend on space needed and what families are able to assist with. Once this is set, get large strips of brown paper and make a dirt patch on the ground in your room. Paint pumpkin vines onto the paper to make it more realistic. Place the pumpkins which were donated or purchased into the patch so they are ready when kids come for their session.
When everyone arrives for their group time, begin by talking to them about picking out a pumpkin. Does their family get one each year? If they have a pumpkin, where do they get it? Some may never have gone to a patch to pick their own within a field. Share photos of local pumpkin patches. Next, share different pumpkin traditions and ways they are used to celebrate this time of year.
Picking and Decorating Pumpkins
Take time to go over the process your group will use to pick out their own pumpkins. When everyone is done, have them meet back with the group to decorate the pumpkins. Carving them in a group is usually not an option due to safety, time, and space. Kids will still love being able to make their own pumpkin pal by decorating it.
Have a variety of different paints, puffy paint, markers, stickers, and other craft supplies for the kids to make their own masterpieces. When finished, take time to go around the group to introduce all of the new pumpkin pals. Therapists can take time to talk about similarities and differences within the group. Utilize the time to work on skills that would benefit the students in your group. Perhaps it’s taking turns, writing a story to practice fine motor skills, or telling silly stories about their friends to practice their language skills. When all of the pumpkins are finished being on display, they may go home.
Have any other fun ideas for fall or pumpkin-themed therapy sessions? Share with us in the comments section below.
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