While you may not be able to take children pumpkin picking during your sessions, you can bring a pumpkin patch to them. Check in with families and see if they are willing to send in small pumpkins for you to use with their children. If you are able to, you could also buy a few inexpensive pie pumpkins, or make a paper pumpkin patch.
Setting up Your Pumpkin Patch
When children arrive into your room, allow them to settle in and talk about pumpkins and pumpkin picking. Ask them if they have ever picked their own pumpkin in a field or at a store. Ask what makes the perfect pumpkin. Take turns talking and answering. Remind them to use details and focus on proper use of autumn vocabulary that you may be working on.
Take them over to the area where you have set up a mini pumpkin patch. Use construction paper to mimic the field and string for vines on the pumpkins. Whether you have plastic, paper, or real pumpkins act out the process together and make it fun. Discuss the sequence of events needed to pick a pumpkin.
Creating Pumpkin Pals
Once your pumpkins are picked, head to a table with pumpkin pal making supplies. Have permanent markers, stickers, sequins, pipe cleaners, and other crafting items for them to decorate the pumpkins with. Paint may work well if you have real pumpkins, but the mess may be too much in a short time span. Remind everyone to be creative and think about the personality of the pumpkin. Who will this pumpkin be and what will they name it? Remind everyone that, once they are finished, the pumpkins will be on display for everyone to look at together.
Sharing Pumpkin Creations
Have an area for your completed pumpkin pals. Make them a name tag as well. Once the gallery is ready, coach everyone to pick something that they like about each one. Go around talking about each pumpkin pal. Practice responding to why they are feeling that way. Another option is to compare all of the pumpkins. Are their similarities and differences? If there are what are they and why do you think this happened? Word questions based on the needs of the students and the goals they are working on. When all of the pumpkins are finished being on display they may go home to families.
Do not forget to ask families that may celebrate Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, whether they have items they would like to share for enrichment. They may provide additional lesson ideas that you may be able to incorporate. This is a fantastic time of year to connect to celebrations that many bilingual families hold near and dear to them and embrace their cultural identities together.