A Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch Art Project! Posted on 11 Oct 15:13 , 0 comments

A Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch - HeidiSongsA Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch - HeidiSongs

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch by HeidiSongs
 

Today I am going to tell you how to make a pool noodle pumpkin patch art project with your little ones!  It is very easy to make and lots of fun for either a fall or Halloween craft, and it can be used along with a mini non-fiction science unit on the life cycle of the pumpkin plant and an accompanying writing assignment!  I tried this out in my friend Mary C.’s first grade classroom, but I am certain that it would be easy enough for Kindergarten or preschool, with some modifications.  My good friend Mary deserves credit for helping me brainstorm this fun project, too!  I just love collaborating with her and I am so glad to be welcomed into her classroom!  I am also looking forward to posting more of the ideas that I have been trying out in her room, too!

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch Student Samples from HeidiSongs
 

Here are the materials you need:

-One pool noodle, cut into sections that are small enough for your childrens’ hands to pick up.  I cut mine using a serrated knife pool noodle into sections of about two to three inches wide.

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Table 1
 

-Orange and green paint tempera paint.

-Thin paint brushes for the vines.  (Or, you can use fingers and finger paint if you have finger painting paper that is a color that you like!)

-Plates to put the orange paint on (I used paper plates,) and small dishes for the green paint.

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Table 2
 

-Small pieces of brown construction paper for the stems.  Ours were cut 3/4 inch square.

-Green construction paper for the leaves in two shades of green.

-Leaf punches, unless you would rather cut them out yourself or have the children cut their own.  We chose to punch out the leaves ahead of time.  For children younger than first grade, just use the largest punches you can find that are at least 3/4 – one full inch wide.  The smaller leaves are very hard even for the first graders to pick up and glue down.

Leaf Hole Punches
 

-I collected these leaf punches at Michael’s craft store over the years, using coupons.

-Glue to glue down the leaves.  I recommend glue bottles rather than glue sticks for this project.  Otherwise, you’ll get paint all over the glue sticks!

-Paper for the background in whatever color you wish.  If you want to have your children finger paint the vines, then you’ll need paper that is glossy for best results.  We pre-cut the brown paper into the rounded edge shapes that we wanted for the pumpkin patch.

-Paint shirts, unless you like living dangerously!

 

Giving Instructions for the Pool Noodle Pumpkin Patch
I always fully demonstrate every art project that I give my students, unless it is supposed to be an open ended project where they create their own design.  So this is how I recommend instructing your students to complete this project if you want it to come out like the sample!  Otherwise, give them the materials and turn them loose!

-Have the children write their names on the back of their papers and turn them over.

-Tell them to dip the pool noodle into the orange paint and scrape some off so that there is not too much on it, or they’ll wind up with great puddles of paint on the paper that take a lot of time to dry.

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Stamp 2
 

-We told our students to crumple up the paper and then flatten it before painting in order to make it look like real dirt. HOWEVER, that didn’t work out well at ALL! The children had even more trouble making those curly Q vines on the crumpled paper, so I ditched that idea after the first group!

-Have them make no more than four or five pumpkins on their page, or there won’t be any room for the vines!  (We found this out the hard way!)  My class always sang color songs while I cut, colored or painted.  For example, if I was cutting orange paper, then we sang the orange song while I cut, etc.  Here’s a video from my Colors and Shapes DVD!

 

-Show the children a real pumpkin vine if you can.  Our school’s first grade classes have a very large REAL pumpkin patch right outside their doors, so the children have been able to go outside and investigate.  They should notice that the vines are curly, not straight.  Show them them how to make curly vines with just the TIP of a fine tipped paint brush.

 

Getting the children to make curly lines with a paintbrush turned out to be TRICKY!  Many of them simply could not do it!  I tried lots of different ways to describe it:  Make a roller coaster, make squiggles, make curly lines, make a lots of “S’s,” make snakes in the grass….  Since then, I thought of another way to help them, such as having them put their fingers on the carpet or desk and have them draw squiggles on it to practice.  (Hindsight is 20/20!)  Some of the children with better fine motor skills and more advanced drawing skills got it, as you can see below:

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Kid's Work 5
 

And some of them did not.  Lines that were mostly straight were all we were getting!

Pool Noodle Pumpkin Stems
 

And others were so happy to be painting that they were not interested in stopping with the vines- so they filled in the entire background of the pumpkin patch green!  Well, it was their artwork, after all.

As you can see, this child was enjoying the art process more than the product! This was also before I gave the instructions about "only four or five pumpkin stamps per page" and before I started trying different ways to explain how to make the curly pumpkin vines.
 

As you can see, this child was enjoying the art process more than the product! This was also before I gave the instructions about “only four or five pumpkin stamps per page” and before I started trying different ways to explain how to make the curly pumpkin vines.

-Then glue on the stems and leaves.  I showed the children how to just tap the glue bottle on the paper, making several dots of glue all over the paper at once, singing the Glue song from the Classroom Management CD/DVD (with no CD or anything, just acapella).  Listen to it on iTunes here.  Making several dots of glue at a time is essential if you need your children to finish this project in a reasonable amount of time!  Otherwise, the process of gluing on leaves and stems could take a LONG time!  (We found this out the hard way, also!)  Of course, tapping the glue bottle right on the paper means that you’ll have green and orange paint all over your bottle, but it does wash right off!

The Glue Song
 

I made a sample of this project on glossy card stock paper, making the vines with my finger.  But since the paper was WHITE, it really didn’t look so much like a pumpkin patch!  This is how it turned out below.  The Creatology brand tempera paint that I made the sample with in our HeidiSongs office was purchased at Michael’s, and it is terribly thin, and is in my opinion, a very poor quality of paint.  As you can see, the green is barely showing up at all, even on the white paper.  And THAT was their full strength paint!  I really wish that I could get my money back on that paint!  It’s the worst paint I have ever used.  I have purchased and been happy with a lot of Creatology brand supplies, but do not buy Creatology Tempera paint.  You could easily get a better quality paint and water it down if you wanted the effect seen below.

This sample was done with finger painted vines! I love the way it turned out! But since we did not have any brown finger painting paper, we decided to use brushes and regular brown paper for the background. One good thing about the white paper is that is causes the green and orange to really just POP, doesn't it? This sample was done with finger painted vines! I love the way it turned out! But since we did not have any brown finger painting paper, we decided to use brushes and regular brown paper for the background. One good thing about the white paper is that is causes the green and orange to really just POP, doesn't it?
 

This sample was done with finger painted vines! I love the way it turned out! But since we did not have any brown finger painting paper, we decided to use brushes and regular brown paper for the background. One good thing about the white paper is that is causes the green and orange to really just POP, doesn’t it?
This sample was done with finger painted vines! I love the way it turned out! But since we did not have any brown finger painting paper, we decided to use brushes and regular brown paper for the background. One good thing about the white paper is that is causes the green and orange to really just POP, doesn’t it?

 

It has been very interesting for me working with the children once a week in Mary’s first grade class!  Only two of them were in my own class last year, so it’s hard for me to know exactly what they were taught, and how they were taught it- even though they came from my own school!  For example, I did TONS of guided drawing in my class last year.  This increases visual perception, fine motor control, and confidence in doing art projects like the vines on this one.  (Of course, the only two children in the class that were IN my class last year were absent on the day we did this project, so I was unable to draw any useful comparisons!)  But there was a little bit of anxiety over this project amongst some of her students- an anxiety that I would not have expected to see in the students in my Kindergarten class.  Yet I do know that all of my team mates did an art project with their students daily.  Could they all REALLY have forgotten these skills already over the summer?  They don’t do many art projects in first grade in comparison to the daily dose that they got in Kindergarten, because they are so overloaded with the heavy curriculum that must be followed and by the fact that they do not have an aide to help them with this sort of thing.

I did a guided drawing project (with dinosaurs!) last week in Mary’s first grade class, and there was a definite difference between my students and the children from the other kindergarten classes, some of whom did seem a little freaked out by my requests that they do things like “make an oval.”  (Oh my goodness!  So we learned our shapes, but not how to draw them?)  I guess it just goes to show you that the skills that they learn in guided drawing don’t just come naturally to some children; they need to be taught.  And just the fact that children are getting older and going into the next grade level doesn’t mean that they are going to have those skills, if no one teaches them explicitly.

If you would like to download some of my free guided drawing lesson plans, just find the “Search This Blog” box on this page and type in the words “guided drawing” and you’ll see all kinds of lessons come up!  Here is a link to my Halloween Guided Drawing lesson below.

Halloween Guided Drawing FREEBIE!
 

Click here for the Halloween Guided Drawing FREEBIE!

 

I hope you got some ideas you can use from this post, and that you found this helpful!  If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to follow HeidiSongs by email feed by checking at the top of the side bar, or follow using Bloglovin’ or some other type of email reader. Don’t forget to follow Heidi on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and subscribe to our channel on YouTube, too!