Help your preschooler learn to count using this simple printable preschool game. Race to fill up your pumpkin patch before Halloween arrives, and then race again to sell your crop.This game was inspired by a random impulse buy in Target’s dollar spot. I was there a couple of weeks ago with my two younger boys (mama NEEDED to get out of the house and Little Brother needed jeans for winter) when I was lured into the dollar spot by the promise of cute, inexpensive Halloween decor. Oh, Target…you’re a dangerous place.
In any case, I found a pack of mini pumpkin erasers for a buck and thought to myself, these would be perfect for…something. I didn’t know exactly what I would create, but I knew I could create some kind of mommy school game with them that the boys would (hopefully) get a kick out of. So, into the cart they went.
As I finished my shopping trip, I brainstormed about how to use my nifty little erasers. They would be perfect for counting practice, but how could I make it fun?
The answer…make a pumpkin patch!
In my opinion, the best part of Halloween is visiting the pumpkin patch. I love wandering through the fields, looking for the perfect jack-o-lantern-to-be, taking hayrides, feeling the crisp fall air outside. It makes my soul happy.
My kids are the same way, so I knew they’d enjoy making their own pretend patch with our erasers. I whipped up a quick game board, got out the dice, and we tried out my idea.
Interested? Read the instructions below and print your free game board to play with your own kiddos.
FYI, if you don’t want to take a trip to the Target dollar spot, or if your store doesn’t have my cute erasers any more, I have included a printable page of pumpkins you can cut out and use for the game. Or, you could buy a bag of candy pumpkins to use.
If you think you’ll want to play repeatedly, I highly recommend laminating any paper pieces to keep them from getting destroyed. (P.S. – a laminator is great investment for anyone planning to do preschool activities at home. They’re pretty inexpensive, but I have used mine a ton!)
The Great Pumpkin Race
A Halloween Preschool Counting Activity
What we’re learning:
- one-to-one correspondence (matching objects with numbers)
- Free printable pumpkin patch game board (see below to download)
- Small pumpkin toys (or printed pumpkin pictures/candies)
How to play:
- Put your mini pumpkins in a bowl or a pile in between the players.
- Give each player a pumpkin patch game board.
- The first player rolls a die. The player adds the number of pumpkins rolled to his pumpkin patch, placing one pumpkin in each box.
- Players continue to roll, count, and place pumpkins until someone fills their entire patch and wins!
- If desired, you can repeat the game in reverse. Start with a full pumpkin patch, and roll to see how many pumpkins you “sell” each turn (taking the rolled number of pumpkins off the board now). The first person to sell out first wins.
Note: If you want to make the game more complex, you could make rolling a six a “bad” roll, requiring players to lose (or gain) pumpkins.
For the “fill the patch” version, if you roll a six, you have to roll again and then lose the number of pumpkins rolled. (You can say that a frost destroyed some of your crop).
For the “sell the pumpkins” version, do the same thing except you add that many pumpkins back, saying that a customer returned the pumpkins.
Other Pumpkin Learning Activities
When you’re done playing the Great Pumpkin Race game, try one of these other simple activities.
- Draw a (large) letter, number, or shape on a piece of paper and have your child cover the lines with pumpkins.
- See who can stack the tallest tower of pumpkins (count as you stack).
- Play roll-and-cover with this free printable.
- Do some Halloween counting cards from Kindergarten Connection.
- Practice fine motor skills by transferring using tongs
- Play alphabet BINGO
- Make your own monster and then “feed” him pumpkins (roll a dice to know how many to feed at a time)
Can you think of other ways to play with these little erasers? Share in the comments below!