This Big Pumpkin sequencing activity is a must-do when it comes to Halloween activities for preschoolers and kindergartners! It was a huge hit in my classroom, and I bet you’ll find the same.
With the Big Pumpkin book activity, young children retell a favorite Halloween story in fun and engaging ways. Get crafty and make character headbands for your students to wear as they retell the book. Or use the Big Pumpkin sequencing printable to do the same.
Or use BOTH for a double dose of Halloween fun. Either way, your students are practicing important early literacy skills along the way!
When I taught kindergarten, a friend and coworker introduced the book Big Pumpkin (by Erica Silverman) to me. And I’ve loved it ever since! I love the illustrations, the repetitive (but not annoyingly so) text, the teamwork the characters display, and the way it’s read on tape (yes, I said tape)! Ok, enough gushing on my part.
Although I would like to point out that every child I’ve ever read the book to has loved it just as much as I do! Hands-down, it’s my favorite Halloween book to read to kids. Below, you’ll find some ideas for retelling this fun story with your students!
Big Pumpkin Sequencing Activity
The very first thing you need to do is read Big Pumpkin to your students. Get into the story as you read it to them, and encourage the children to join in when they catch on to the repetitive parts.
Then it’s time for some retelling and sequencing fun. I have two ideas for you below. One is a bit on the craftier side with headbands to make out of construction paper. But they’re very simple, I promise. The other involves printable Big Pumpkin sequencing pictures, words, and numbers. (You can get the printable at the bottom of this post!)
Big Pumpkin Character Headbands
Before you jump into making the headbands for the Big Pumpkin sequencing activity, you need to grab a few materials. As I said earlier, they are really simple to make. So you don’t need too many supplies, and you likely have most of them in your classroom already. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Construction paper – black, orange, and white
- Black markers
Oh, and you definitely want a copy of the book, too! You can even grab a read aloud version on Audible if you prefer that. I cannot locate the tape that went with the book back in the day. It was a FAVORITE because of how the reader made it into a singsong reading. Here’s an example of it (if you know the reader’s name please leave me a note in the comments so I can credit them!):
And that’s about it! I think that’s doable, what about you? Once you have the materials ready to go, it’s time to make the headbands. You can make one of each on your own, or you can work with the children to make multiples. That’s completely up to you.
How to Make the Big Pumpkin Headbands
Let’s start off with the witch:
- First, cut black construction and orange construction paper into strips.
- Cut a triangle from black paper, as well.
- Then staple the black strips together until you have the appropriate length to go around a child’s head.
- After that, staple or glue the black triangle in the middle of the strips.
- Next, “crimp” the orange strips by folding forward and backward in small squares.
- Finally, Staple the orange “hair” to either side of the triangle.
Next up is the ghost headband:
- First, cut white construction paper into strips and staple together to create a child’s headband.
- Next, cut an oval-like shape from white paper for the ghost’s face.
- Then cut two eye holes in the face and add a smile with a black marker.
- Finish by stapling or gluing the face to the headband, ensuring that the eye holes line up with a child’s eyes.
Now it’s time for the vampire:
- First create a headband using black construction paper strips.
- Then cut white triangles out of construction paper to make the “fangs” of the vampire!
- Staple or glue the fangs to the black headband.
- Finally, cut a simple bow-tie shape out of black paper, then add yarn so the student can tie it around their neck.
The mummy headband is super simple:
- Cut strips of white construction paper, then staple or glue them together (to look like fabric strips around a mummy’s head).
Last but not least is the bat headband:
- Cut black construction paper into strips, then create a child’s headband with the strips.
- Next, cut two wing shapes out of black construction paper, too.
- And then glue or staple the “wings” to either side of the black headband.
How to Use the Big Pumpkin Character Headbands
Now that you have all of the headbands made, it’s time to put them to good use for a Big Pumpkin sequencing activity. You can do this as a whole group or small group activity. That really depends on how many students you have and your own preferences. We did this as a whole group, almost like a play. The kids took turns acting as performers and audience members.
Start off by choosing actors for each character. Then help those children don the appropriate headband, of course! Try not to coo at how adorable the children look in the headbands.
From there, retell the story with the children. Encourage the actors to really get into their parts! If you want, you can grab a giant orange pillow to play the part of the big pumpkin. Or just let the kids pretend there’s a giant pumpkin there.
If you want to, you can read aloud from the book as your actors work their magic. Or you and the kids can make up your own script along the way. Be forewarned, there will likely be a lot of giggles throughout the Big Pumpkin sequencing activity. At least, there were the many times we did so!
Big Pumpkin Sequencing Activity Printable
For a more individual Big Pumpkin sequencing activity, use picture cards! I think this works best using a pocket chart, but you can change things up based on your own preferences.
First, grab the printable at the very end of this post. Be sure to save the file to your computer. Then open it in the most up-to-date version of Adobe Reader and print it out. Make extra copies if you want to. Cut the words, numbers, and pictures apart. Laminate everything if you’re planning to use the cards over and over again.
Place the words “Big Pumpkin” at the top of your pocket chart, with the pumpkin that says “by Erica Silverman” next to it. Then arrange the numbers in order from 1 to 7. Keep the picture cards set aside for now.
Review the story with your students, using the book as a reference if you need to. Work with the kids to place the picture cards next to the appropriate number. Here’s the order:
- 1st = big pumpkin
- 2nd = witch
- 3rd = ghost
- 4th = vampire
- 5th = mummy
- 6th = bat
- 7th = pumpkin pie
Of course, you can keep it a little simpler if you’d rather just focus on the characters of the story. That would take it down to numbers 1 to 5 instead. That is completely up to you!
Once your students understand the concept, you can keep this pocket chart Big Pumpkin sequencing activity up during center time. Challenge your students to retell the book with their peers!
More Book-Inspired Halloween Activities for Kids
If you’re looking for even more Halloween ideas that are focused on books, I have got you covered. Click on the links for even more ideas to share with your students. There are so many fun ones to choose from:
- Halloween Slime
- Go Away Big Green Monster Craft
- Spookley the Square Pumpkin Inspired Drawing
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything Printable Craft
- Monster Dancing and Eyeball Games
- Five Little Pumpkins Counting Activity
- Click, Clack, Boo Sound Effects Box
- Runaway Pumpkin Halloween Experiment
- Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin Bowling Game
- Monster Pizza Parlor Halloween Sensory Play
- Ghosts on the Light Table
- Halloween Necklace Craft for Kids
- Pumpkin Wand and Pumpkin Crafts
- Halloween Letter Puppets
- Alphabet Halloween Sensory Bin
- Sheep Trick-or-Treat Craft
- DIY Kids Spider Costume
- Glitter Pumpkin Suncatcher Craft
If your students enjoyed the Big Pumpkin sequencing activity, they’ll likely get a kick out of those activities too!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
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Get the Big Pumpkin Sequencing Activity Printable
As promised, here’s the sequencing printable for Big Pumpkin! It’s available to members of Fun-A-Day’s (free!) email community. If you’re a member, enter your email in the form below to have the download link sent to your inbox. If you’re not a member, join us by typing your information in the form below. You’ll get the free printable as a welcome gift!
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Originally published October 2016.