Children love going to the pumpkin patch and choosing their own pumpkin for the fall season. Getting to carve the pumpkin and make faces in it is tons of fun for them, but did you know this time-old tradition could be used to help improve their math skills as well?
This fall, let your child practice the important skill of shape recognition with her familiar autumn friend, the pumpkin! In this activity, your child will work on this skill by identifying, drawing, and carving geometric shapes out of a Jack-O-Lantern face. This is a great visual and tactile activity for young kids and can even help them develop their fine motor skills as they scoop the seeds of the pumpkin out. So go on and let your child learn while having an ooey-gooey time!
What You Do:
- Get your child to list shapes. Help her draw the shapes she calls out on a piece of paper with the pencil. These shapes will be the basis for the Jack-o-lantern, so discuss and let her pick which shapes she would like to use for her pumpkin's eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Using the permanent marker, help your child draw these shapes on the pumpkin.
- Carve the pumpkin for her. Have her point out the various shapes as you cut them out.
- Let her scoop out the pulp with the spoon or her hands and place it into the bowl.
- How many pumpkin seeds did she scoop out? For added math practice, have her wash them and count. Listen to her count and assist as needed. When she's done, use a favorite recipe and bake the seeds for a nutritional treat.
When you're finished, place a candle inside and watch the Jack-o-lantern "glow" with pride!
Tina Cho has been an elementary teacher for 11 years, mainly in the kindergarten classroom. She is currently a freelance writer.