Scooping out a Pumpkin: Sensory and Science Play

Ooey, gooey, it’s time to look, listen, smell, feel (and maybe taste?) when scooping out a pumpkin. This is sensory fun, science play, and learning all at once.

scooping out a pumpkin

First, prepare the table or counter with some newspaper. Find a container to save the seeds and strings from the inside. Before cutting, look at the pumpkin and the lines outside. Ask your child if s/he thinks there will be lines inside too. Tap on it and listen to the noise. Does it smell when you sniff the outside? It’s easy to feel the smoothness but there isn’t really anything to taste.

Adult hands will need to cut a slice off the top of the pumpkin but children’s hands can help with the rest. Scoop out the pumpkin with big, sturdy spoons. The strings are really slippery so it’s hard to pull on them with hands.

scooping out a pumpkin

While you and your child are working, talk about what’s inside. Notice the color. Is it the same inside as outside? Are there only a few seeds or lots of them? Not that there’s a lot to hear, but the spoons make a noise as they scrape and dig. How would you describe the smell? It’s okay to have a taste of the raw pumpkin but it doesn’t taste like much.

The sense of touch is the one the most used when scooping out a pumpkin. What does the stuff inside feel like? Some words might be slimy, gooey, and slippery. There may quite likely be complaining about how yucky it is. It’s not easy and it takes a bit of time. It’s okay to be glad when it’s done.

scooping out a pumpkin

Separating the seeds from the fibers is also pretty yucky. You can either empty the container of stuff onto a tray or cookie sheet and let them dry overnight or longer. Later, you can sort of comb thru it to get the seeds. Another way is to put it all in a bowl of warm water and sort of wash the seeds out. Wonder how they do it commercially to get the pumpkin seeds?

Halloween Nature Play – Puddles and Pumpkins Start with P

Where we live, October is sometimes called Rocktober because of the weather but with the right costume, it’s fun to go out for some Halloween nature play.

nature play rain

The nursery rhyme Rock-a-bye Baby goes, “When the wind blows the cradle will rock, when the bough breaks the cradle will drop.” That’s what our weather is often like in October. Rain doesn’t keep us inside or we’d all get cabin fever. The wet coast doesn’t get much sun in the fall and winter. Kids need rain costumes and boots. Forget the umbrellas, the wind breaks them like it does branches on the trees. If we are lucky, the power doesn’t go out. But with the rain suit, kids can splash, stomp, catch drops on their tongues, and feel the wind on their cheeks.

This may not look like fun to adults, but it sure is to kids. Dressed to keep at least most of the water outside, kids can splash to their heart’s content. All around the world, we need to partner with Nature. We can’t change what the weather does, we can only change what we do. We have to take it into account and deal with it as best we can. How can we expe

Finding ways for kids to connect with Nature when they are young, provides them with a sense of security and well-being that lasts their lives. Besides splashing in puddles, this might include gathering some nature treasures, growing plants indoors and out, going for walks, watching bugs and other critters, and playing in dirt, rocks, and grass. Look for pockets of nature in your neighborhood, even in urban areas.

nature play rain

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Humans are hardwired to need nature—because we are part of it.” Whatever the weather where you are and dressed for it, can your child enjoy some connecting to nature time and Halloween nature play?

Halloween Double Doodle Drawing Trick for Hands and Brains

For a play-of-the-day, try this Halloween double doodle drawing trick. It’s a trick on paper but a real treat for brains, fun and sweet.

What is double doodle drawing? This is the name given to drawing with both hands together by Jean at The Artful Parent. We tried it and it was both a trick and a treat.

2 hand drawing

For this drawing activity, kids pick up a crayon or marker in each hand. They decide what they might draw. Since it’s Halloween, some ideas are a pumpkin, ghost, or haunted house. Monsters are something else we see at Halloween. Now on the paper, kids draw and each hand doing the same thing. This takes a lot of concentration but it’s quite exciting.

This is a house Big Sister drew. When we first tried this art with two hands, Little Sister could hold a marker in each hand and really liked that part. She didn’t have the idea of each hand doing one side of the drawing. Her two hands scribbled all over the paper but they moved independently rather than being coordinated. About the age of 4 to 5 and older seems to be a reasonable expectation for getting the two hands going together. These are more recent ones for our Halloween double doodle drawing trick. Again, Little Sister moved her hands in different directions.

For an idea of the challenge, you try this too. Even as an adult, I noticed I needed to touch my tongue to my lip. Kids often do this when they are concentrating. This seems to be related to how the brain works during tasks that require coordination and deeper thinking.

The video included is from another double doodle drawing activity on HeartsAtPlay. The explanation made sense, that the brain quits focusing on making the visual image and instead pays attention to the movement of the hands. We no longer worry if we can or can’t draw and just enjoy the doing. Did you and your child find this fun?

Double Doodle Halloween Slideshow from Gail Dennison on Vimeo.

Halloween Play Dough Fun For Little Ones – What a Treat!

While witches stir their potions and brews, you can easily stir up some Halloween play dough fun for your little ones with some from the store or home. There are dozens and dozens of recipes for different play dough variations available on-line. This one uses boiling water but I have a couple of tricks for … Continue reading Halloween Play Dough Fun For Little Ones – What a Treat!

Halloween Carrots Hummus Snack – Nutritious, Colorful, and Fun

Carrots + Dip = Pumpkin Patch Halloween has wonderful treats, but they can still be nutritious like this Halloween carrots hummus snack. As a trick, the good kind, this one is also fun. Finger foods and dips are popular with kids. It’s like combining eating and playing with food. Kids also like to help in … Continue reading Halloween Carrots Hummus Snack – Nutritious, Colorful, and Fun

Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Kids have been enjoying dress up and costume play (cosplay) for generations but Halloween pretend play is certainly special. Everyone else plays too! While cosplay generally means putting on the costume as well as the words and actions of a specific character, kids add their own interpretations. A costume, or any dress-up play, invites explorations. … Continue reading Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Reading Books Halloween Treat for Kids – Quite A Trick

Treats, Tricks and Magic with Halloween Books for Kids Treats are for eating but this reading books Halloween treat is wonderful for sharing, snuggling, listening, singing, and enjoying, even the scary parts. There are so many wonderful Halloween books for kids it’s hard to decide. We mix some new ones with some old favorites. It’s … Continue reading Reading Books Halloween Treat for Kids – Quite A Trick