Thursday, November 4, 2010


This was a great activity that I wanted to share. I did it for Halloween, but you could also do it for Thanksgiving.

I got a large carving pumpkin and placed it in my sensory bin (outside - this gets messy). First, I asked the children what was inside the pumpkin (teasing them that it was full of kitty cats or bunnies, etc.). Next, I cut open the pumpkin and we all removed the insides and placed it in the sensory table for them to explore. We talked about how the pumpkin insides felt - wet, slimy, slippery etc. and worked together to separate the seeds from the stringy goop. (I reserved a few seeds for us to plant in the garden.) I explained to the children that we were going to cook the pumpkin seeds, and filled up a pot to boil water on the stove. We boiled our seeds for 10 minutes on high heat. Afterward, the children helped me stir butter into the seeds, spread them on the pan, and sprinkle salt over them. We placed the seeds into the oven (275 degrees) and cooked them until browned.

Later we took the reserved seeds and insides, and planted them in the garden in the backyard. We'll see if they grow. :)

The great thing about this activity is that it was like a million lessons in one:

  • We predicted what was inside the pumpkin
  • Used our vocabulary to describe how the pumpkins insides felt
  • Worked our fine motor skills removing the seeds from the stringy insides
  • Discussed how water boils (I asked them questions like: "how do we boil water? and "What does water look like when it's boiling?" I also showed them what the water looked like when it was boiling)
  • We talked about stove and oven safety
  • Learned about how butter melts when heated up
  • Counted the number of minutes to boil the water and cook the seeds
  • Saw how the seeds changed when cooked
  • Planted the seeds in the garden.

***And when we were done with the pumpkin, I got a bunch of tees and we beat them into the pumpkin using plastic hammers - a good gross motor activity. ***

Overall, this was an awesome activity. My only complaint is that the seeds took too long to cook, and they weren't finished before the children went home. My oven is a little strange (gas) and sometimes recipes take longer than they should to cook in it. Next time, I will have to cook them at a higher heat.


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