For early learning at it’s best, head over to your local pumpkin patch this fall.
Pumpkin patches are appealing to children of all ages. There’s a lot more to do than pick a pumpkin. Pumpkin games, pumpkin stories, pumpkin pictures, and pumpkin snacks make a fun family outing. Look for fall festivals, too. Many pumpkin patches include a family festival.
Look at the pumpkin patch as full of opportunities to explore words and ideas with your young child. Turn a walk through pumpkin rows into a time of wondering.
I wonder … What a beautiful way to open a conversation about anything with a child. Just say out loud what you’re wondering about in your head. Connect “I wonder” thoughts to a child’s senses, even a little one who cannot yet tell you what she’s thinking. Pause a moment and let your child’s brain take the challenge.
- “I wonder how pumpkins feel. Let’s touch. Now rub. Can you tap?”
- “I wonder if pumpkins smell. Let’s smell one up close.”
- “I wonder how pumpkins grow. Let’s find the stem.”
Listen and look well with your child. Remember to ask the questions your little ones might be thinking.
- Why are pumpkins big and small?
- Where does a pumpkin stem come from?
- How do pumpkins get to the pumpkin patch?
Here are some more simple ideas to turn a visit to the pumpkin patch into experiences of learning, on the spot. Encourage your child to:
- Talk about everything you see. Find pumpkins and gourds, smooth and bumpy, orange and yellow. Look for long stems, short stems, and no stems.
- Play “pretend”. “I’m pretending a rabbit hopped into the pumpkin patch. What should we do?” “I’m pretending …”
Your little one’s learning is worth every minute.