Think­ing of vis­it­ing a pump­kin patch with chil­dren this fall? Great idea! Vis­it­ing a pump­kin patch is a fun and edu­ca­tion­al activ­i­ty. Chil­dren vis­it­ing a pump­kin patch learn about a vari­ety of top­ics includ­ing plants, ani­mals, and vehi­cles. Addi­tion­al­ly, vis­it­ing a pump­kin patch pro­vides chil­dren with a shared learn­ing expe­ri­ence that can fuel many future con­ver­sa­tions and activities. 

In this blog we will discuss:

  • prepar­ing for a trip to a pump­kin patch
  • how to facil­i­tate learn­ing dur­ing the trip
  • fun ways to extend the children’s learn­ing afterward
fall squash and pumpkins

Preparing children for a trip to a pumpkin patch

Intro­duce the top­ic by show­ing chil­dren a small pump­kin and read­ing books about how pump­kins grow. Addi­tion­al­ly, dur­ing cir­cle time, view Google maps in your area and point out places near­by that grow pump­kins. Ask chil­dren if they would like to go on a field­trip to pick some of their own. They will cer­tain­ly enjoy pick­ing them fresh off of the vine!

Give par­ents ample notice of the upcom­ing field trip so they can plan to accom­pa­ny the group if they are interested. 

Above all, sched­ule your trip to main­tain the children’s usu­al rou­tine for naps, meals, and snacks. 

Many pump­kin patch­es have cre­at­ed short video tours for the pur­pose of giv­ing guests a pre­view. Search for a YouTube video tour of a local pump­kin patch for your group. Pause fre­quent­ly while view­ing the video to dis­cuss the children’s inter­est or con­cern. A pre­view oppor­tu­ni­ty can help reduce anx­i­ety for chil­dren with autism spec­trum dis­or­der and oth­ers who may not have been on a field trip before. 

Ask chil­dren what they see in the video that they expect to see on their field trip.  Ask what they would like to learn more about. This dis­cus­sion helps set tar­gets for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery. Make notes of children’s pre­dic­tions and com­ments to review as a group after the trip. 

On the days lead­ing up to the trip, mark your cal­en­dar with a sym­bol chil­dren rec­og­nize (a bus or a pump­kin). Incor­po­rate a “count­down to field trip day” into your cir­cle time rou­tine. Review the trip itin­er­ary and safe­ty pro­ce­dures. Pro­vide chil­dren with oppor­tu­ni­ties to prac­tice any unfa­mil­iar rou­tines such as walk­ing with a peer part­ner while lis­ten­ing for instruc­tions, and safe­ly board­ing and being seat­ed in a bus or van. 

Learning at the pumpkin patch

As your group enjoys explor­ing the pump­kin patch, facil­i­tate their learn­ing by ask­ing ques­tions and mak­ing comments. 

For instance:

  • Point out the dif­fer­ent kinds of plants. Are pump­kins grow­ing on a vine, stalk, or tree? 
  • Vis­it the farm stand. The farmer or guide may explain which plants pro­duced the ingre­di­ents used to make jars of pre­serves, apple­sauce, and cider. This is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask chil­dren to think of oth­er foods they eat that come from plants. 
  • Do you see a barn, chick­en coop, or pen? Name the ani­mals and the struc­tures that con­tain them. Dis­cuss the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the ani­mals. How many legs do they have? Do they have fur or feathers?
  • How many dif­fer­ent shapes, col­ors, sizes, and tex­tures of pump­kins do you see? Ask the chil­dren to describe their pump­kins and to explain why they picked the ones they picked. 
children carving and decorating pumpkins

Extend children’s learning beyond the Pumpkin Patch

Review the notes you took dur­ing your pre-dis­cus­sion when you return to your class­room. Ask chil­dren if they saw what they had pre­dict­ed and if they saw any­thing unexpected. 

Offer some addi­tion­al activ­i­ties to extend their learn­ing after the pump­kin patch field trip.

Additional Activities

  • Class Book: Chil­dren can cre­ate draw­ings of things they remem­ber from the trip and dic­tate descrip­tions for you to write on their illus­tra­tions. Use these pages to cre­ate a class book about the field trip. For exam­ple, you could fea­ture this book in your lit­er­a­cy center. 
  • Pump­kin paint­ing: Offer chil­dren the oppor­tu­ni­ty to paint and dec­o­rate their own pumpkins. 
  • Jack-O-Lantern design: 🎃 If chil­dren would like to have their pump­kins carved into a jack-o-lanterns, explain that for safe­ty rea­sons, only adults can use carv­ing uten­sils. But chil­dren can cre­ate the designs and scoop out the seeds!  For instance, they can draw direct­ly on the sur­face of their pump­kins with a mark­er, or on paper that can be used as a carv­ing stencil. 
  • Pump­kin Seeds: Pro­vide the oppor­tu­ni­ty for chil­dren to com­pare the size of pump­kin seeds with oth­er seeds. Roast the pump­kin seeds to pro­vide chil­dren the chance to taste some­thing new. 
  • Sink or Float: Pro­vide a con­tain­er of water in which chil­dren can test their pump­kins’ buoy­an­cy. Do the pump­kins float? What about a carved pump­kin? Com­pare the buoy­an­cy of apples and oth­er fruits and vegetables. 
  • Pump­kin Rolling: Take some pump­kins out­doors and have a pump­kin rolling activ­i­ty to com­pare which ones roll the far­thest and the fastest. Dur­ing this activ­i­ty, chil­dren can use mea­sur­ing sticks or non-tra­di­tion­al units of mea­sure­ment (such as blocks, or their own foot­steps) to com­pare the dis­tances. They can even exper­i­ment with the use of a sim­ple ramp to get their pump­kins start­ed. Let the good times roll! 
pumpkin seed activity with children

Gardening Center

Last but not least, try cre­at­ing a …

Gar­den­ing Cen­ter! Plant some pump­kin seeds and oth­er fruit or veg­etable seeds in your indoor or out­door gar­den­ing cen­ter. Chil­dren can help plant and water the seeds, and track the growth of any seedlings that hap­pen to sprout.

There are many ways to learn from a pump­kin patch field trip! More­over, it can be a source of inspi­ra­tion for sev­er­al great days with kids

Want to learn more? 

For more ideas about activ­i­ties you can do with chil­dren this Fall, read our blogs Fun Indoor Activ­i­ties to Do with Kids and Healthy Fall Snacks for Kids. Also, enjoy read­ing our free course, Play­ing Out­doors

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Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800–685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

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