It’s that time of year again when pumpkins reign. If you want to get past the usual jack-o-lantern carving and tackle some other pumpkin activities, you’ve come to the right place. Just read on for art, cooking, and learning activities your kids will enjoy.
If you want your pumpkins to last longer than carved jack-o-lanterns, draw the faces on them with permanent markers.
Use mini pumpkins to create a centerpiece or other decorations for the season.
Carve out mini pumpkins and fill the center with a votive candle or tea light. Line the walkway or porch rail with them for Halloween or another evening occasion.
Having guests? Carve out a very large pumpkin and use it as a punch bowl.
Process your own pumpkin meat for pies, cakes, or muffins. This is enough fun the kids will want to help you.
• Bake the pumpkin
• When you can insert a fork through the skin, remove from oven and let cool.
• When cool enough to handle, cut the pumpkin, remove all seeds, and peel.
• Save the seeds for other activities, compost the peelings.
• Cut the meat into chunks and place in a thick-bottomed pot with a little water.
• Simmer until all water is cooked out and the volume is about half. Stir frequently.
• Freeze in quantities for your favorite recipes.
Make your favorite pumpkin recipes together and package them to give as gifts.
Enjoy a game of pumpkin bowling. Cut the stem off a medium-sized pumpkin. Carve out three holes to resemble a bowling ball. Set up rolls of paper towels or empty pop bottles as pins and have at it.
Look up the formula for volume of an ellipsoid. Take the proper measurements of your pumpkin to estimate how much liquid your pumpkin will hold. Then carve it out and see if you got it right.
Hide miniature pumpkins around your yard and have the kids hunt for them like an Easter egg hunt.
Remember the seeds you saved? Wash, dry, and roast. Sprinkle on your favorite popcorn seasoning and enjoy.
If you don’t enjoy eating pumpkin seeds, put them in a quart jar. Have each family member guess how many seeds are in the jar and record everyone’s predictions.
Count the seeds. Count by two’s and place them in piles of tens on the table. Arrange the piles in straight rows of ten piles in each row to make 100 seeds per row. Set up ten rows to make 1,000 seeds. Count them out by ten’s and by hundred’s. Since they are arranged in straight rows, point out that 10×4=40 or that 10×8=80.
Finish counting out the seeds in the same fashion until done. How did your predictions measure up?
If you laid all the seeds end to end in a train, how long would the train stretch? Again, record everyone’s predictions. But do you have enough room to lay out all those seeds? If not, assume that every seed is the same size and shape and lay out one pile of ten seeds in a train and measure that. Multiply that number by how many piles of ten you have. Divide that answer by 12 to find out how long, in feet, your seed train would be. How did those predictions measure up?
One last thing. Color your seeds different colors with permanent markers. Then use them to create a mosaic. If you know what you want to create before you start, it will help you to decide what colors to color the seeds. You can use this technique to make a picture for the refrigerator or to make holiday cards to send to friends and family.
Carol Alexander is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in over 30 regional parenting publications and several national magazines.