Pumpkin picking, pumpkin rolling, and pumpkin carving! We’ve had an eventful week all to do with pumpkins.
The children brought their pumpkins home from the pumpkin patch but couldn’t bear to have them carved. Here I was waiting to make the scariest Jack-O-Lantern but nothing doing. They wanted their pumpkins intact.
I ended up running to the store for a couple more pumpkins just to entice them. I had a feeling that once I carved the first one, they would want theirs carved as well.I needn’t have worried. Just the sight of the giant pumpkins got the little one interested and he offered up his pumpkin as the guinea pig.
Then tragedy struck! “My pumpkin’s handle broke, ma!” came a wail. I tried to glue the stalk back (Yes!). Hey, it was a learning experience. We learned about the stalk that attaches the pumpkin to the plant.
Let me tell you, I love reading books to my kids because I know that after a little while all those delicious new words come flowing into our conversations. My five-year-old daughter D just waits to insert a new word at the right time and then looks to see if we noticed it. All of last week we had been reading and rereading “When the Goblins Came Knocking” by Anna Grossnickle Hines. Click link for a review of the book.
D simply loved the book because she is actually looking forward to trick or treating this year. The minute my son started drawing ‘faces’ on the pumpkin she began giving him directions.
“Let’s draw goblins like in the book. This pumpkin will also come creeping and sneaking. Will our Jack-O-Lantern be screeching and swooping if we drew a witch on it?”
My drawing and carving skills don’t extend that far I’m afraid. So I let them draw and color on the pumpkin to their heart’s content.
Working on prediction skills:
Before I started carving the pumpkin, we did a prediction activity. I asked questions to get them thinking about what was inside the pumpkin. I wrote down their predictions on a chart. If you notice, there are always two of the same answer. The little one hero worships D and has to echo her!
Making predictions gave us the opportunity to learn more vocabulary words. We talked about the special names for the skin and the fleshy insides of the pumpkin, the rind and the pulp.
I cut out the top of the pumpkin and D helped pull the lid off. Be prepared for loud “Ewww, it is smelly! Eeew, it is sticky,” when you do it with your kids.
It is a good activity for sensory play as long as you have old clothes on and don’t mind getting the sticky mass on you. Jay was thrilled when he first started pulling the lid off. That quickly changed as the ‘insides’ emerged!
How’s this for tactile defensiveness?
Now it was time to check the chart to see if their predictions were right.
As you can see, the kids did find pulp inside the pumpkin, only it was orange! The pulp was both fleshy and in strings. Along with the pulp, they saw lots and lots of seeds with pointy tips. The pumpkin was not filled with pulp. Instead, there was lots of empty space in the middle. So there were hollow spaces inside the pumpkin.
D enjoyed scooping out the stringy pulp even though it took a while. They were just thrilled to see soooo many seeds. I carved the eyes and the mouth, and the kids help pull the pieces out.
As there was only one Jack-O-Lantern, we had to put two tealights in.
Using new vocabulary words through the day:
The key to teaching new vocabulary is to use the words in many contexts. Isn’t it amazing the number of words that can be found in the kitchen? Making fresh fruit juices and smoothies have us peeling the rind and adding pulp. Macaroni pasta and paper towel rolls let us explore hollow spaces. We throw away the stalk as we wash the coriander and curry leaves.
Now all I have to do is think up a fun activity with the seeds. It shouldn’t be too difficult.