Nothing says fall quite like pumpkins. And not only do they make for great fall décor, they also provide a plethora of learning opportunities for your preschoolers. After stalking our local farm stand all month, the girls were so excited when they finally had pumpkins this week. We selected an assortment of pumpkins, varying in size and shape, to learn about various methods of measurement.
Methods of Measure
For this first introduction to methods of measure, we focused on three different ways to measure our pumpkins: height, circumference, and weight. We talked about what each of those different words mean, how they can be measured, and the units of measurement.
- Height – how tall something is, measured in inches with a measuring tape
- Circumference – how big around something is, measured in inches with a measuring tape
- Weight – how heavy something is, measured in pounds on a scale
Pumpkin Measurement Supplies
At the farm stand, I encouraged Big M, my 4-year-old, to select pumpkins of varying size. Specifically, we looked for a small pumpkin, a medium-sized one, and a large pumpkin. We also tried to select varying shapes as well. For our pumpkin measuring activity, we used the following supplies:
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1 medium, round pumpkin
- 1 large, tall pumpkin
- 1 measuring tape
- 1 bathroom scale
- How Does A Pumpkin Measure Up (printable)
How Does Your Pumpkin Measure Up?
With our supplies gathered, Big M started by drawing a picture of each pumpkins on our measurement recording table. Big M then named them Small, Round, and Tall. Before we actually started measuring, I asked Big M to estimate (or guess) which pumpkin she thought was the tallest and shortest, which would have the largest and smallest circumference, and which she thought would be heaviest and lightest.
Starting with the small pumpkin, we measured its height, circumference, and weight. I showed Big M how to hold the measuring tape at the bottom of the pumpkin with one hand, starting at the end with the 1, and stretch it taught upwards with the other hand to find the height. Next, I showed her how to wrap it around the middle of the pumpkin, like a belt, to measure the circumference. Last, I helped her lift it onto our bathroom scale to weigh the pumpkin.
After each measurement, we recorded the result on our measurement chart. While Big M is becoming quite adept at writing her letters, this activity taught me we still have some practice to do on writing numbers, so she asked me to do the recording for her!
We repeated this process with each of our three pumpkins. In a classroom setting, you easily could set this activity up as a STEM* center and print a recording sheet for each child in the class. Alternatively, you could make a single chart for the class on a large piece of chart paper, with students taking turns performing the different measurements for each pumpkin.
We can’t wait to use our pumpkins for more great learning activities all Fall long!
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
BIO: Meghan is a former hedge fund professional turned SAHM to Big M (4), Lil’ M (2), and a baby boy due any day now! She writes at Playground Parkbench, where she shares at-home activities for kids, parenting tips, and financial savvy for the household CEO. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!