Did you know that pumpkins are fruit? Did you know that every part of a pumpkin is edible? October is one of my most favorite times of the year because it means that it’s pumpkin season! Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! Below are some easy activities that you can do at home with your child to learn all about the science of pumpkins.
- Language exploration and pumpkins. This is easy and there are many ways you can do this. What’s most important for pumpkin exploration is time. Make sure that you allow enough time for conversation to unfold. Pumpkin exploration shouldn’t be a rushed activity to find the “perfect pumpkin.” It’s easy to get caught up in searching for the right pumpkin but if you go into it without any expectations of what a perfect pumpkin looks like, you will allow for your child to engage in some vivid dialogue with you. Take ample time to notice and acknowledge all of the different attributes that pumpkins have. The most obvious would be, of course, size and color. However, what about texture? Is it soft, glossy, or bumpy? Does it lean on one side? Does it have a stem? How does the stem feel? What’s the stem shaped like? Take a deep breath to inhale the scent of the pumpkin. Ask your child to estimate how many hands it will take to lift up the pumpkin. Take notice if the pumpkin stands tall or sits wide and low. Brainstorm with your child where the pumpkin would fit in your home. Would it fit in the front window or sit outside on the porch? Have your child tap or thud on the pumpkin. What sound does does it produce? All of these questions can naturally unfold before you even purchase the pumpkin. Don’t rush the journey of pumpkin exploration, there is so much conversation to be had!
- What’s inside a pumpkin? Cutting open a pumpkin is just like opening an unmarked package, you never know what will be on the inside! One of my fondest memories as a preschooler was closing my eyes and reaching deep into a fresh pumpkin. It was cold, slimey, and gooey. It had a stringy texture with slippery seeds. The inside of the pumpkin also lends itself to language development with young children. The senses are all engaged when you look inside a pumpkin. Children use their eyes to see everything that was hidden from the outside. There are seeds that can be counted. Children smell the fresh pumpkin meat and they can describe the feeling of trying to grab the stringiness of what’s inside. They can hear the sounds of a large spoon scraping the sides.
- Easy pumpkin dip! Try this easy pumpkin dip with your child. It goes yummy with graham crackers, ginger snaps, or vanilla wafers.
- 1 8-oz package light cream cheese
- 3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin
- 2 Tbsp. fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Truvia sweetener
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Blend together until combined and creamy. Pour into a bowl and serve.
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