Flannel Friday: Early Math in the Pumpkin Patch

Interrupting my nostalgic summer storytime blog posts to bring you a fun fall flannel – PLUS a template!

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I’ve learned a lot this year about early math and have been working hard to include more opportunities for math talk in my storytimes. This means making flannels with specific variation in mind – e.g. size, length, color, type, etc. The more opportunities to talk about things are the same/different, the better!

So I made a pumpkin patch with math in mind. Here’s some of the songs we sang and ways we used these pumpkins:

One Orange Pumpkin

Tune of “5 Little Ducks”

One orange pumpkin went out to play,

In the patch so far away.

It had such ENORMOUS fun

It called for another pumpkin to come!

“Oh Pumpkin!”

(roll hands)

Repeat with 2, 3, 4, and so on…

5 orange pumpkins went out to play

In the patch so far away.

They had such ENORMOUS fun

They played until the day was done!

_____

Credit: adapted from “One Elephant Went Out to Play”

I love this song because it has a lot of repetition and COUNTS UP (which cognitively comes before learning to count down). Here’s some opportunities for even more math talk in the pumpkin patch to support a variety of early math skills:

  • How many pumpkins do you think we have?
    • PSA: DO NOT ALWAYS USE FIVE OR TEN FLANNEL PIECES. Variety is the spice of life and leads to more meaningful math understanding!
  • Let’s count and see how many pumpkins we have for sure!
  • How many pumpkins did we just count?
  • Can you show me (number) with your fingers?
  • Can you make (number) using fingers on both hands?
  • How are these pumpkins the same/different?
  • Which one is the tallest/shortest?
  • How can you tell?
  • Which one is the widest?
  • Is the widest, fattest pumpkin the same as the tallest pumpkin?
  • Which pumpkins would you want to take home together? Why?
  • Which pumpkin is best to carve into a Jack-o-Lantern? Why?

Just like I would never ask all of the questions on all of the pages of a book while reading aloud, I pick just a few age-appropriate questions for my group. This time we talked about how these pumpkins were the same/different and compared sizes. They picked the roundest pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern because it “has the most room for a face.”

Once I Had a Pumpkin

Tune of “The More We Get Together”

Once I had a pumpkin,

A pumpkin, a pumpkin.

Once I had a pumpkin with no face at all!

So I gave him some… eyes.

And I gave him a… nose.

And I gave him a… mouth.

Now I have a Jack-o-Lantern who likes to say BOO!

______

Credit: original

While singing this song the first time through, I paused to let the kiddos help me figure out where to carve the face parts. These are they eyes:

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“Is that right? No! Your eyes don’t go on the top of your head. Where are your eyes?” I encouraged the kiddos to use spatial vocabulary to help me figure out where to carve the eyes and the nose and so on. Figuring out where to put the nose was a real challenge – they kept saying “IT’S IN THE MIDDLE” and “THERE!” So I put the nose exactly in the middle and they just about fell over themselves laughing:

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Once we had a fully carved face, we sang the rhyme again all the way through. They love saying BOO!

“How do you think this Jack-o-Lantern feels? How can you tell?” I asked, setting us up for our next rhyme…

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Jack-O-Happy

This is Jack-o-Happy,

This is Jack-o-Sad.

This is Jack-o-Scared,

And this is Jack-o-Mad!

This is Jack-o-Broken

Into pieces small.

Baked in pumpkin pie

Is my favorite Jack of all!

______

Credit: Dr. Jean and Friends

Want to try some of these flannel songs and rhymes out? Here’s a free printable template with 5 pumpkins of various sizes and facial expressions for a Jack-o-Lantern!

pumpkin patch

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