Surely this time of year gives rise to pumpkin patches, picking our favorites so we can take them home. And surely there will be carving them into jack-o-laterns soon. But what about mini pumpkins? What can we do with those? Well, it turns out there is plenty to do, so while you are in the pumpkin patch, be sure you pick up a few mini pumpkins (and gourds) while you are there!
With your mini pumpkins, think about painting them with washable markers. Outside, in a tub of sudsy water, your children can give the pumpkins a bath, pat dry. Repeat. Paint again, over and over. By washing the pumpkins, they might learn about germs being washed away and they are learning about self care. Friendly reminder: Be sure to supervise any water play. While you are having fun with water play, let your children play a game of sink or float. Gather items that will float. They can guess, (make a hypothesis!) on what will float and what will sink. Think of the great vocabulary you can introduce around this activity!
What about gourds? Be sure to pick up a few! They are wonderful to touch and feel. They are great for sorting. Bumpy textures and fun shapes abound and in addition to sorting, they are just begging to be sketched. Let your artists draw and paint on easels what they see. You may be completely surprised as they bring forth fabulous color combinations and drawings that are highly imaginative.
Now, let’s see, back to mini pumpkins. In addition to painting, try measuring and weighing. Include descriptions as you compare the pumpkins. What color?… yellow orange, rusty orange? Remember–you are helping build vocabulary, so lead the way for your little learner.
For your larger pumpkins, before you carve, think about the learning potential on the outside. If you have access to tapping nails or golf tees, pumpkins make a grand surface for pounding the tees into. This action supports hand and wrist strength of course and it’s a fun activitiy.
Have a contest and guess how long the string will be that goes around the circumference of the pumpkin. Who has the longest string, the shortest? Who made the best guess or estimate. (Lots of language to use with this activity!)
When you take the “cap” off the top of the pumpkin, let your children take in the sensory experiences in front of them. First is the smell! Did you know that smell is the only sense that is not filtered? This is why you have such a strong reaction to pungent scents. Then, of course there is the sensory experience of touch. If your learner doesn’t want to touch, that is fine. No worries! But many children love to get their hands into the gooey mess of a pumpkin. Take out magnifying glasses and look at the seeds and the “guts”. Give your children tongs and let them transfer the gooey insides to a garden. Count the seeds or plant the seeds.
And finally, carve the pumpkin. This is an adult activity but the children can give you suggestions along the way about what they want to see in their pumpkin!
As a side note, if you don’t wish to carve your pumpkin, then get creative and think of decorating your pumpkin. Maybe it is decorated with feathers and turns into a turkey! You get the picture.
And of course, soon you will be making pumpkin pie someday soon. More to come on this at a later time.
For today, I hear a Jack-O-Latern calling!
See you tomorrow,