With the passage of Halloween, you may be wondering what to do with your classroom's leftover pumpkins. It turns out pumpkin seeds can be useful in a number of preschool activities. You can incorporate them into exercises in which children practice their math, sensory and art skills.
First, before taking part in these activities, you need to separate the pumpkin seeds from the rest of the pumpkin. You can also dye the seeds with a small amount of vinegar and food coloring. Then, spread the seeds out on wax paper, letting them sit overnight. If you find they have not dried by the next day, you can bake them at a low temperature of 200 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. After taking these steps, your pumpkin seeds are ready to go!
Cardboard mosaics: Have students put the pumpkin seeds into small, individual cups. Lay out separate pieces of cardboard for each student, along with glue containers. Instruct the students in applying glue to the board first, and then adding their pumpkin seeds to create the designs they want.
Pumpkin seed exploration bottles: Another activity involves having children fill clear plastic bottles (just be sure to remove the outside labels beforehand) with pumpkin seeds. You can also give them the option of filling the containers with construction paper. Through this exercise, children build their measurement and math skills.
These two exercises are easy to incorporate into your classroom and require minimal supplies. In addition, children learn more about this seasonal vegetable while building their art, math and measurement skills. Always remember to supervise children carefully when using small objects like pumpkin seeds since they can pose a choking hazard.
ProSolutions Training offers a range of online child care courses, as well as online CDA classes for early childhood educators. For more information about curriculum development, refer to our class, "Lesson Planning for Young Children."