Using Pumpkins in Speech-Language Therapy

Are you looking for a quick, easy, and affordable fall activity for your therapy sessions? You're in luck-- all you need is a bag of pumpkins (or gourds)!

I have used the following activities from ages preschool to 6th grade, although I am sure you could make them work with students of all ages.

When choosing a bag of pumpkins, I look for the following qualifications:

  • Variety of colors. I look for bags that include yellow, green, and orange pumpkins. 
  • Variety of textures. Often, these small bags of pumpkins will include some that are smooth and some that are bumpy. 
  • Variety of shapes. I like bags that contain some round, some oval, and some long, squash-shaped pumpkins.
  • Variety of patterns. I look for bags including pumpkins that are solid, spotted, and/or striped. 

Goals to target:

  • Comparing and contrasting. For younger students, you might have them draw two pumpkins, then compare/contrast them using a Venn diagram. For older students, you could compare/contrast together, but have the students write a paragraph (or two) comparing and contrasting the pumpkins.
  • Vocabulary. Pair these pumpkins with simple and fun songs, such as "5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate". My younger students love having the pumpkins to go along with the song, and can practice counting, actions, etc. as we go along with the song!
  • Joint attention. These pumpkins are a fun alternative to a ball when working on joint attention. Simply sit on the floor and roll the pumpkins back and forth. Also, pumpkins are great for joint attention because they are something different. Some children are intrigued to see and touch something so novel.
  • Parts of a whole. Students can choose a pumpkin to draw on their paper, then label the parts of the pumpkin. This is especially fun to do after discussing the pumpkin life cycle, as students are typically more aware of some of the parts of a pumpkin. 
  • Prepositions. Everybody gets a pumpkin and places it somewhere in the room. You can make this a "hide and seek" activity OR let everyone see where the pumpkins are but the student verbally discloses where the pumpkin is located (Ex: "My pumpkin is behind something you use to type" or "I see your pumpkin. It is under a blue chair.")
  • Body parts. With preschool students, we have worked on body part vocabulary by placing the pumpkin on various body parts, sort of like Simon Says. Students love to place their pumpkins behind their backs, between their hands, under their knees, and on their belly buttons! (As you can tell, you're also working on prepositions!)
  • Sorting by attribute. If you buy 2-3 bags of pumpkins, the students can work together to come up with attributes (categories) to sort the pumpkins by. You can sort by size, color, shape, or texture.
  • Describing. Use the EET with these pumpkins! Everyone gets a small pumpkin and fills out an EET worksheet over (or verbally describes) their pumpkin. Using the EET is always more fun when you have a hands-on object to pair it with!
  • Requesting. Use communicative temptations with the pumpkins to encourage requesting of objects.
Do you use pumpkins in therapy? How do you use them? Tell me below!


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