Counting skills are fundamental to overall math success, and preschoolers love having a variety of ways to practice. With these free pumpkin counting cards, your preschooler gets in twice the counting practice all wrapped up in some autumn theme playdough fun, too! For all my best autumn activities, click here!
Now, these pumpkin counting cards are a FREE printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of the post!
Pumpkin Counting Cards and Autumn Playdough Activity
You know what is awesome about pumpkins? That preschoolers are obsessed with them, yes, but really what is most awesome is that when you add a little bit of pumpkin to your activities that excitement carries over to whatever you’re teaching. In this case, number identification and counting with these free pumpkin counting cards.
Be sure to grab your free printable at the end of this post, and take some time to check out some other pumpkin activities from some of my blogging buddies.
Our Pumpkin Plants
So, we have not one, but two, volunteer pumpkin plants in our garden. The funny thing is, we installed those raised beds seven years ago and in that amount of time we have never, ever planted pumpkins. We’ve planted tomatoes, green beans, onions, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, spinach, chard, sunflowers, lots and lots of herbs, and so many other plants, but never once have we planted a pumpkin seed.
Which has been super fun to explain to my kids.
Because the most likely thing is an animal walked by and used the garden as a bathroom, which makes my kids laugh hysterically every time they ask.
And they ask a lot.
Even though the pumpkins are already bright orange and ready to be autumn decor on our front porch, which means I’ve explained it a thousand times. But I get bonus points for using sound effects.
What? I’m raising four boys!
Anyway, my little boys go out and pat our pumpkins most days, under the shade of the jungle of sunflower plants that are also volunteers, and they talk to the pumpkins. They thank them for growing and being orange because apparently orange is their third favorite color. It’s so stinkin’ cute!
Then they asked if they could plant some pumpkins, but being September, it’s just a tad late in the season, you know?
So, on a whim one morning I made up these pumpkin counting cards so my little boys could plant their own pumpkin patch, and that seemed to suffice.
These pumpkin cards are a free printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of the post as well as check out all the other great pumpkin activities by my favorite kid bloggers!
Free Pumpkin Counting Cards Printable and Playdough Activity
The basic premise of this activity is that kids get to use the counting cards to count out a set of pumpkins, and then they transfer them to a “pumpkin patch” of brown playdough (and count again). My boys loved planting their pumpkins into the playdough, and I loved all the extra counting they got!
- acrylic pumpkin table scatter (or orange pom poms or buttons)
- brown playdough (You’ll love how I colored it!)
- FREE pumpkin counting cards
Start by making the playdough. My go-to recipe is this no-cook playdough that doesn’t call for cream of tartar. To color it brown, I just exchanged about 1/4 cup of the flour for cocoa powder. In hindsight I would have exchanged for a little less, maybe just two tablespoons, and since cocoa powder and flour respond almost exactly the same, you can do what you want.
But we ended up with cocoa scented playdough, which was delicious smelling and fun. Not exactly a fall scent, which would have been more appropriate, but certainly the very easiest way to make brown playdough. And you can’t have a playdough pumpkin patch without brown playdough.
Set the pumpkin counting cards out, with a dish of acrylic pumpkins and the playdough, and invite your preschoolers to have some fun planting pumpkins.
The Pumpkin Patch Counting Activity
Here’s how to use the pumpkin counting cards.
- Draw a card from the pile and identify the number.
- Place an acrylic pumpkin on each pumpkin picture on the card while counting at the same time.
- Then, transfer the pumpkins from the pumpkin counting card into the “pumpkin patch” (playdough), and count again.
See, twice the counting in one single activity!
Remember, these are a free fall printable, so be sure to download your copy at the end of this post!
He added the acrylic pumpkins to the card, counting as he went, which helped him identify the number on the card.
Sometimes, he got a little distracted and lost count, so we would practice it again.
And then he counted another time once all the pumpkins were “planted”.
My boys liked pushing the acrylic pumpkins into the playdough because when pulled out they left pretty, flower-like impressions. And I can still smell the chocolate playdough as I type this…maybe it’s still on my hands.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE pumpkin counting cards at the end of this post!
3 More Ways to Use These Pumpkin Counting Cards
Everyone loves a free printable like these free pumpkin counting cards, but you know what makes them even better? When you can use a single free printable in multiple ways! Here are some activities to help you teach a range of levels:
- For older preschoolers, challenge them by asking them to identify the number first and then count the quantity on the table before matching to the pumpkins on the card. This demonstrates how strong their number sense skills are.
- For average preschoolers, invite them to sequence the cards in numerical order and start the activity with smaller number cards first. Choosing the most manageable numbers first helps preschoolers feel successful.
- For younger preschoolers, invite them to first count the pumpkins on the card by pointing to each one, helping solidify one-to-one correspondence. Then show them how to add a single pumpkin to each pumpkin picture on the card, and then help them transfer the pumpkins to the playdough. Each step here increases in difficulty in teaching one-to-one correspondence.
Get Your FREE Pumpkin Counting Cards
Think you could use these counting cards in your math center this fall? Just click the image below and grab your copy! Then, take a look at even more pumpkin activities below.
Looking for More Pumpkin Activities?
These will not disappoint!
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Want More Fall Printable for Preschoolers?
These make the best literacy and math centers, but I also love them for small group and circle time activities.
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I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction