Pumpkins and Gourds

Fun Food Activities have been an important part of our children’s nursery adventure for many years. In our experience, children are more open to trying new foods and retrying previous ones when we make the process fun.

The children take great pride in, and responsibility in caring for, the plants they grow at Willow Cottage. We are always fortunate to have pumpkins and gourds come into fruit during the harvest season. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. The learning opportunities are endless.

We love to give you insight into what we have been doing. At nursery this month, some of the invitations to play, adult-led activities and child-initiated activities available have been:

  • Developing our fine motor skills by manipulating, squeezing, pinching and twisting pumpkin playdough.
  • Learning about and implementing safety skills, risk assessments and perseverance, by using hammers responsibly to knock golf tees into pumpkins, marrows and squashes.
  • Using our gross motor skills to push cookie cutters into pumpkins to cut out shapes.
  • Using our senses to explore and rescue plastic insects set in jelly inside pumpkins and making sensory bags with the pumpkin’s insides, seeds and stringy flesh.
  • Finding the gourds very funny with their knobbly skin and irregular shapes.
  • Exploring our personal, social and emotional skills with our “gratitude pumpkins”. Our teachers helped write the words on the pumpkins we said we are grateful for.
  • Giggling at our Mr. Pumpkin Heads. The people we made were so funny.
  • Using our creativity to do pumpkin printing with paint.
  • Trying different foods by making pumpkin cupcakes and having pumpkin pasta for tea. We added pumpkin puree to both. Making the delicious and warming Mr. Willow’s pumpkin soup.
  • Exploring science with our magical mixtures, they were so frothy and foamy.
  • Looking at different sizes in our autumn sensory tray. There were mini peppers with their tiny seeds and big pumpkins with their large seeds.
  • Trying really hard to manipulate tweezers to pick up the pumpkin seeds. It was so hard because the seeds were so slippery and hard.

We love to read. Adding autumn themed books to our continuous provision encourages links to be made between the seasons changing outside in the world and the pretend world of our play and imagination. Some of the books we have been reading include:

  • Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
  • A Pipkin of Pepper by Helen Cooper
  • The Very Helpful Hedgehog by Rosie Wellesley
  • Seasons Come, Seasons Go, Tree by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup 
  • The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field
  • A variety of non-fiction books about autumn and harvest, leaves, acorns and conkers.

The children found so many different ways to explore and experience the pumpkins and gourds. What a great way to round up the Harvest season.