Austria loves the pumpkin! In October they are to be found everywhere, from decorative plastic pumpkins celebrating autumn in every shop window, to colourful varieties of every shape and size piled high in wooden crates and baskets in the farmers’ markets. Even the supermarkets have four or five different types to choose from.
I brought in three different pumpkins for the children to look at, and we began the class by passing them around and discussing the different shapes, the colour variations and the surface markings they could see.
Then I gave each child three A4 sheets of paper in yellow, orange and green, on which to draw the shapes of the pumpkins. With older children I would probably provide white paper, but the little ones have a shorter concentration span so I wanted to give them a head start with the correct basic colour for each pumpkin. That way they could concentrate on adding some texture and variety rather than facing the onerous task of covering each entire pumpkin shape with tissue paper.
After cutting out their pumpkin shapes, the children coated them with glue and then decorated each one with torn pieces of tissue paper, trying to use different shades of green and orange. A couple of the children had a go at recreating the striped pattern on the long yellow and green pumpkin. Then we added a stalk to each pumpkin, by tearing a small piece of brown or green paper and gluing it on.
Before the class, I had prepared a ‘basket’ for each child to display their pumpkins. These were made by simply folding over the four sides of an A3 sheet of brown paper and stapling them in place at the corners, allowing the bottom corners to stand out slightly so that the pumpkin shapes could be tucked behind.
The children used oil pastels to draw a basket-weave pattern around the folded edges, and then the pumpkins could be arranged in their baskets, ready for the market! As a finishing touch I added a price sign (made from corrugated cardboard) to each basket, with the child’s name. Older children would enjoy writing their own sign and deciding how much to charge for their produce.
I am really pleased with the way the folded baskets create a kind of picture frame for the colourful collaged pumpkins. A little glue could be used to fix them in a pleasing composition, but I decided to leave the pumpkins and the signs loose, so the children could enjoy playing with them and rearrange their market display at will!
To view more of the children’s colourful collage pumpkin baskets, click through the gallery below…