It’s fall and that means it’s time to change the dramatic play center into a Pumpkin Patch! Students learn SO much through play in the dramatic play center. Fill your Pumpkin Patch with math and literacy play opportunities, and your students won’t even realize they are learning.
When creating props for my dramatic play centers, my students make as many things as possible. This is great for two reasons: first, they are the ones creating, developing fine motor skills and writing! And let me tell you a little secret: if students are in charge of the center, they will be more invested in their play and they will take better care of the props. Reason two is that I don’t have to go to the store and spend a ton of money on props!
You can’t have a pumpkin patch without pumpkins. We made pumpkins using paper bags. Just fill, tie and paint.
Students twisted butcher paper to create the branches on our tree and vines in our pumpkin patch. They crumbled up paper to make the leaves on our tree. They cut and crumbled paper to make kettle corn. They also made paper cookies for our snack shop. Making props is an authentic way to build all those little fine motor muscles and to develop scissor skills.
Making props take some time. The dramatic play center was closed for four days while we were setting up and creating our pumpkin patch. Students who picked to go to dramatic play during center time went there to make props, not play.
How cute is this pumpkin stand? Students painted a few boxes yellow. Then glued yellow paper strips to it to create hay bales! The bags in the middle that are painted yellow, green, and orange are gourds (if you can’t tell).
Here is our pumpkin patch!
The dirt in the wheel barrow is just crumbled up brown paper. I taped a large piece of brown butcher paper to the ground to create the field. These two farmers are planting more seeds in our pumpkin patch. Look closely and you can see the seed (rock) they are planting.
Students painted the corn stalks to create a corn maze. This activity strengthened their upper arm muscles. The yellow tape was the path students could walk on. It went all around the pumpkin patch!
Hay rides are a must at the pumpkin patches near us. The tractor is just a box with the bottom cut out and a hole cut in the top. The wagon is a yellow piece of poster board I taped to the ground. Students would make sound effects and pretend it was bumpy!
Hungry? Customer could stop by the snack shop to buy some cookies, caramel apples, spiced coffee and kettle corn.
Students LOVED to pretend to drink spiced coffee just like their moms and dads! Just ask Starbucks and they will give you a few cups for free.
The customers could order pumpkin, apple or candy corn spiced coffee in small, medium or large. The pom poms were the spices! Adding tweezers sneaks in some fine motor work. The different sized cups sneaks in math too.
Embedding math, literacy, fine motor and science concepts into their play is easy if you intentionally plan for it.
Add a scale and students can weigh and compare apples!
Add tickets for students to buy!
Add money for students to count!
Add a number line and paper for students to copy numbers and write receipts.
Add signs, menus and labels all over the center for students to read and increase their vocabulary!
Create a student web with their thoughts and ideas. You can see my students wrote at their own level. Some are scribbling, some are writing random letters and a few are beginning to sound spell. Don’t forget that scribbling is the first stage in writing and it has value too!
I know that was a lot to take in when planning a pumpkin patch in your classroom. Pin this image to reference it later.
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Save time and grab my Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play set from my store. It has tons of printables, patterns, directions, even more classroom photographs, tips and ticks, prop lists, a parent letter and more.
Check out tons of fall activities in action in the blog post below!