Halloween Pumpkins for emotional learning - ELSA Support

Halloween Pumpkins for emotional learning

Halloween pumpkins for learning about emotions

I think emotional literacy and so many other things can be taught in  things we do in the classroom on a daily basis. For example, a few years ago (before I was an ELSA) I did some pumpkin carving with year ones and we had a really good session. There is so much learning in something as simple as carving a pumpkin.

  • Turn taking
  • Emotional literacy – discussing feelings, designing expressions
  • Sensory experience – smell, sight, touch
  • Describing and talking
  • Listening
  • Motor skills
  • Design skills
  • Risk assessing

Here are some of the things I did.

    • We looked at the shape of the pumpkin and felt how heavy it was.
    • Discussed the colour of it. Where it came from, how it grew.
    • Cut the top off and looked inside.
    • Discussed safety using a knife and sharp objects.
    • Described what we saw.
    • Described the seeds and discussed drying and growing pumpkins for next year.
    • Talked about how you can roast seeds in the oven to eat them.
    • All had a smell of the pumpkin then discussed what we thought of the smell. Was it a nice smell or a horrible smell? How did it make us feel to smell it.
    • We all stuck our hands in and felt the seeds and slimy mess. Some of the children were disgusted and that was a brilliant introduction to the emotion of disgust.
    • We all had a go with a spoon at taking out the seeds and some of the flesh.
    • Talked about how you can make the flesh into a soup or eat it cooked as a vegetable.
    • Got children to draw on a piece of paper a pumpkin and how they wanted the face to look….a little designing. Did they want a ‘happy’ pumpkin? ‘sad’ pumpkin, ‘angry’ pumpkin or a ‘scared’ pumpkin.
    • We voted on what shape eyes to have. What shape nose and what shape mouth. I carved the features out …. we had triangle eyes, a rectangle nose and a smiley mouth.
    • I asked each child to get a paper towel each and they had to count out 10 seeds each to wrap in their towel to take home. They had to write their name on the paper towel. Some found the fine motor skills to pick up the seeds very tricky. They all counted intently.
    • Talked about putting light in the pumpkin to make it glow either a candle or a torch

A really good session and I am sure you can think of some other ideas. Below is a download to a pumpkin printable for children to design a face with. You can laminate and children can use white board pens or playdough to make their faces.

Download: PUMPKIN DESIGN SHEETS

We have some other bits on Pumpkins and Halloween.

This is a free download to discuss scary words – Reach the pumpkin

And this might be useful Make a face halloween

This Halloween house might be a good activity to do which looks at senses and we also have a Halloween roll a story


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