Pumpkins abound this time of year with Jack-o-lanters, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins and even pumpkin coffee! Before carving up your pumpkin, take a few moments to just observe it with all your senses. This exploration reinforces the five senses and premath skills such as estimating and counting.
Science words: Observe, Describe, Color, Senses, Touch, Taste, Smell, Hear, See, Texture, Temperature
What can you figure out about a pumpkin before carving it up? Before diving in, take a moment to make some predictions. What can you observe about the outside of the pumpkin. How does it feel? How does it look? Can we listen to the pumpkin? Does it smell?
What does the inside of a pumpkin look like? Is it mostly full of seeds or empty? How many seeds do you think are in there? What are our predictions about color, texture, temperature etc.? How can we describe the inside? Cut open the pumpkins. What did you find?
Paper plate pumpkins: Paint one side of a paper plates to match your observations of the outside. Add stems or leaves as needed. While they are drying, dive into the inside of the pumpkin. When the plate is dry, flip your pumpkin plates over and create the inside. You can use paint, yarn, and the actual seeds to show you observations.
How things change. Make Pumpkin pie or pumpkin cookies together. Try the pumpkin from the can before adding anything. What does it taste like? How does cooking change the pumpkin?
Try Pumpkin explorations with apples. You can record your observations on a paper plate as well. Explore the outside and paint or draw what you see. Then cut open the apple and paint or draw what you observe. You can use the actual seeds from the apple or raisins on your creation.
Estimation – You will need a pumpkin and some string or measuring tape.
Ask your child how big they think they are around the middle (their waist) than the pumpkin. Take a string or measuring tape and measure. You can write it down for number recognition if you want. Then ask them if they think they are bigger or smaller around than their pumpkin. What else could they measure around? Are you bigger or smaller than the pumpkin?
Counting – Dry some pumpkin seeds. Write the numbers 1-20 (or 1-10 for younger kids) on small pieces of paper. Pick a number and ask your child to put that number of seeds into a small plastic pumpkin or other container.
Books to explore:
From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White