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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

The Pumpkin Post!

Published October 18, 2011 8:57 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

All through September at our school we talked about apples: red ones, yellow ones, green ones, little ones, big ones and everything in between! Now that October is upon us and Halloween is just two weeks away, it is time for our next topic of ... pumpkins! The teachers are talking all about those happy round orange friends we see every year at this time and the many things we can do with them: we carve them, scoop them, light them up, paint them, weigh them, roll them and the list goes on and on!


As the speech therapist, I have been busy developing new ways to incorporate the topic of pumpkins into my therapy sessions. In addition, I am helping to provide various pictures and communication tools to support this topic in the classroom.

Here are just a few fun pumpkin-based activities that can easily be used in preschool (and even some homecare!) therapy sessions:

  • Pass the Pumpkin This is a group activity lesson based upon the same concept as "hot potato" only you are using a small pumpkin that the children can pass around a circle as they listen to music. We did this activity this past week with a group of children who are learning how to answer yes/no questions, use one to two words independently and follow simple one to two step directions.

    It was really pumpkin perfect! When the music would stop, I would prompt them by saying, "Does (child's name) have the pumpkin?" (I would choose two to three children who did not have the pumpkin) and the children would need to say, "Noooo!" to each one. Then I would say "Who has the pumpkin?" giving the child holding it the opportunity to say "I do!" or "Me!" and giving the other children the opportunity to point to and name the child holding the pumpkin.

    It was a great activity for children who have much difficulty using independent and spontaneous speech. Also, the process of "passing the pumpkin to your neighbor" was really good practice for the children who have trouble with social skills and interacting with peers. In addition, they would need to stop every time the music stopped, which was good practice for little ones who are learning to follow directions.
  • Pumpkin Progression With one of my older groups, we talked about the size of the pumpkins -- small, medium and large. We practiced the skill of describing ("I picked a small pumpkin") and we needed to sort and categorize fall and Halloween related pictures and objects by size.

    We used three actual pumpkins and pine cones to demonstrate the difference in sizes. Then the children picked pictures out of a plastic pumpkin, which included images of small, medium and large bats, owls, cats, ghosts and so on. Using the actual pumpkins was a great way to teach the concept using relevant curriculum material!

Join me next week for more pumpkin related speech and language activities! Are there any you can share with us on the blog?


Good ideas.  We have been using a large plastic jack-o-lantern (purchased at target) for Halloween themed activities.  Each child gets to cut out paper to decorate the jack-o-lantern (i.e. eyebrows, mustache, hat, speech bubble to make him say something) and then we "feed" the jack-o-lantern words or sentences that he might like.  For example, after decorating the pumpkin, we practice /r/ words as we put them in his open mouth.  kids would take turns taking pictures with the pumpkin (each picture required correct production of a target goal). The kids make quite a production and love to bring him to life!

James Brinton October 20, 2011 10:48 AM
Washington DC DC

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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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