This, my friends, is a work of art. And a fantastic display geometric/mathematical prowess. And it’s the sweetest pumpkin face I’ve seen in a while because it was made by one of my darling boys!
For a great way to talk about shapes and still get all the fun of fall and Halloween in, Jack-o-lanterns are an easy choice! I start out first of all with an attention-getter like the Five Little Pumpkins Fingerplay, or The Surprise Pumpkin, or any number of fabulous pumpkin picture books. We talk a bit about how pumpkins become Jack-o-lanterns when you add a face, and we explore how different those faces can look.
I then show the children the pre-cut shapes they can use to create the Jack-o-lantern faces. I use triangles, squares, circles, and crescents. I hold up each shape and talk about its characteristics, what it’s called, and we brainstorm the different ways it might be used to make a pumpkin face. Explain and explore to the appropriate level for your children. Some may just be mastering the concept of a square. Others will point out that a square turned on its corner becomes a diamond. A rare child will even want to call it a rhombus!
After a little shape talk, I give each child a paper pumpkin shape. (You can trace your own or print this color pumpkin shape or an outline as a template for cutting construction paper.) Each child is also supplied with a variety of shapes and either a glue stick or supplies for this gluing method. Emphasize that the children can use the shapes however they would like to create their Jack-o-lanterns. Talk with them as they create, using the shape names and locators like “above” and “below”.
Be sure to invite your little ones to talk about their creative ideas. I have to admit, when I first saw my son’s pumpkin face creation above, I thought perhaps he had not discriminated between his squares and circles (the eyes) and that he had added a mustache. When I asked him to tell me about his pumpkin however, I was surprised at his intention and creativity. He said that one eye was “twinkling” (winking – hence the different shapes), there were eyebrows above the eyes, his nose was made from a diamond constructed out of two triangles (good geometry skill) and the pumpkin was talking, which was why there was an upper and lower lip – not a mustache! So be sure to ask about their creations. You might be surprised at how much they know when you let them do the talking! You could even extend this math/creative activity into a language/literacy activity by asking your child to tell a story about this new pumpkin character and writing it down to be read again!
*One more bonus! You can do this same activity, using felt for your pumpkin and shape pieces, and use it at a flannel board center. Just sayin’.
For more favorite fall activities, click here!