Every year my field trip buddy, Carmen, plants an acre of pumpkins at her family’s Bettencourt Farms. She plants a great variety making sure to have giant, tiny, heirloom, and different colored pumpkins. Then she opens her patch to local kids to come and enjoy. I get to be the official pumpkin presenter.
Yesterday, Hanford Christian kindergarten and first graders boarded the bus and drove on over. They came singing pumpkin songs and ready to find their very own perfect pumpkins.
I love to talk about the life cycle of pumpkins. I fill a table with seeds, vines, flowers and pumpkins. The children taste raw and salted seeds as well as cooked pumpkin. I only share three books because five and six year olds in a pumpkin patch don’t like to sit for long. Here are my book choices for this year:
Pumpkin Circle the Story of a Garden by George Levenson (author) and Shmuel Thaler (photographer) Tricycle Press
Written in simple, poetic text accompanied by glorious photographs, this book is the next best thing to actually growing your own pumpkin patch. The life cycle of pumpkins is told from seeds to sprouts to Jack O’ Lanterns. The story comes full circle when the seeds are planted for next year’s crop. The book includes tips on growing your own pumpkins.
Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz (author) and Dwight Kuhn (photographer) Creston Books
What happens to a pumpkin when it is no longer needed as a Jack O’ Lantern? Why, it goes back into the garden where it rots, of course. Cleverly told from the perspective of the pumpkin and visitors like a mouse, slug, fly, earthworm and mold, the process of decay becomes a fascinating tale. It ends on a hopeful note as a seed emerges to become a new pumpkin plant. The kids squirmed and squealed and loved the “ickiness” of this book. Now, they all want to throw their old pumpkins in the garden to see what happens. The book includes investigation suggestions for kids.
The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown (author and illustrator) Peachtree Publishers
Before making helping the kids to make their very own scarecrow, I shared this cumulative story about a chicken that admires the scarecrow’s hat. The scarecrow likes his hat but he really wants a walking stick. The resourceful chicken visits various animals and gets them what they want and finally ends up with the scarecrow’s hat that becomes a perfect nest!
Gavin shows off the class scarecrow.
A most successful day in the pumpkin patch.