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Learning From the Pumpkin Patch :: 3 Must Do Activities Before Carving

We’ve had temperatures in the 80s, flipped the calendars another month, and hopefully have consumed at least one pumpkin something or other. Fall is here, my friends {yes, it’s still blazing, I know}, and with it comes pumpkin patch season. You’ve seen our list of local pumpkin patches, right? If not, be sure to check it out to find something close by.

We know the drill…  Dress kids up in coordinating fall attire, grab fancy camera, sweat bullets {because honestly – 85 is still pretty dang hot!}, cross your fingers that the baby you propped up against a pumpkin doesn’t tumble over, promise your older ones they can pull the wheelbarrows and wagons around later, and hope for one, just one, frame-able for the year. And depending on which patch you hit, you just might find yourself on a “cow train,” hayride, chasing chickens, or petting goats too.

Hopefully, you go home with a pumpkin or two ready to carve for the 31st, but before you show off your pumpkin decorating skills, get your money’s worth out of that future jack-o-lantern with some easy activities for your little people.

{Can’t make it to the patch this year?  Guess what? HEB pumpkins work just fine. Grab one on your next grocery trip and have afternoon activities for your little ones!}

Using the Outside

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  • Talk about the sizes of the pumpkins you brought home {which pumpkin is heaviest, tallest, widest}.  Introduce or review the terms circumference {the distance around the pumpkin} and hypothesis.
  • Using leftover ribbon, yarn, or even strands of construction paper taped together, estimate together how much ribbon you might need to wrap around the entire pumpkin.
  • Cut ribbon and test your hypothesis.
  • To extend the activity, measure your ribbons with a ruler and make a simple bar graph representing the different sizes.

Exploring the Inside

  • Go on a 5 senses investigation to learn more about your Halloween decor.
  • With your little one, create a 5 senses book by drawing a simple pumpkin out of construction paper and then use it as a template to make five additional pages out of copy paper. Staple all of the pages together at “the stem” and designate a page for each sense by writing see, smell, taste, hear, and touch somewhere on each page. Then, have your little one help to illustrate.  {For instance, they could color an orange circle for see.}
  • Be sure to don your favorite lab coats {i.e. Dad’s old t-shirts} and take some time during your fancy carving to explore both the outside and inside with your hands, noses, eyes, ears, and yes, even your tongue. Write down the words your kids use to describe the pumpkin on the appropriate page and suggest ideas when needed.

pumpkinscience

And Don’t Forget the Seeds!

Learning From the Pumpkin Patch

  • Draw a large pumpkin and help your little ones cut it out. Glue seeds within the pumpkin in the shape of the letter “P.”
  • Sound out the word “pumpkin” and write the letters on the seeds and glue in order.
  • Roast pumpkin seeds. We tried the recipe here, and discussing the flavor was a nice addition to our 5 senses book.
  • Make pumpkin seed puzzles. These look easy, and older kids can do math problems instead of simple number matching.
  • Create a pumpkin seed mosaic or paint and glue on as leaves for a fall tree. I didn’t personally grab enough seeds to complete all of these activities, but there’s another pumpkin waiting to be opened! October just began, after all. We’ve got an entire month for pumpkin fun.

Lagniappe {A Little Something Extra}

I just wanted to pass on a few of our favorite pumpkin books and ones we plan on checking out this year:

Now if we can just get the 80s outside to drop a little lower, we might just have a bit more pumpkin time and less let’s-look-for-a-splashpad-still-open time. It’s not likely, but we can hope. And until then, I’ll be the mom in the shorts and flip flops chasing two, carrying one, and snapping away for that perfect pumpkin patch picture. 

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