10 things to do with a pumpkin - There's a lot to do with a pumpkin besides carving it. Here's some ideas to make that pumpkin into a two-week math and science project!
- Estimate the size, weight, number of seeds
- Count the seeds
- Check the estimates — weigh it — with and without the pulp, measure height, width, circumference
- Notice it and build vocabulary — stem, rind, flesh, seeds, pulp, vine, blossom
- Carve the pumpkin
- Taste the raw flesh
- Use the pieces left from carving it to make pumpkin prints — dip in tempra paint and press on construction paper
- Cook the seeds — Coat a baking pan with oil, wash seeds, pat dry, place in pan, salt lightly, bake in the oven at 400' F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Look at a can of pumpkin pie filling. Compare it with the pumpkin flesh and speculate how the pumpkin flesh becomes pumpkin filling.
- After you've enjoyed your carved pumpkin, let it ROT! If you let it rot outdoors, note how the pumpkin and the environment interact. If you let it rot indoors, note its changes over time. Document it with a journal and/or photos. Incorporate it into your garden bed by laying it on the soil or digging it in, and talk about why it will be good for the soil..
Botanical Prints in Clay
Materials: — Red or White Clay
- 8" circle template (A coffee can or can lid, plastic container or lid can be used.)
- Rolling pin or dowel at least one inch in diameter
- A variety of leaves
- A bamboo skewer or other thin object for making a hole
- Raffia or ribbon, cut in 10" lengths
- Polystyrene trays or other material to store finished pieces
Procedure: — Roll out clay into pieces about one quarter to one half inch thick and 9" by 9" square.
- Cut out a circle either by pressing down a can or container to cut a circle, or by using the lids as a template and cutting out around the circle.
- Arrange leaves on the clay circle.
- Roll over the leaves lightly with the rolling pin.
- Remove leaves gently from the clay.
- Poke a hole at the top of the circle with the bamboo skewer.
- Let the prints dry until the clay hardens (usually at least 48 hours, possibly more.)
- Tie a piece of raffia or ribbon through the hole.
Cloth Leaf and Flower Print Bandanna
(Prints can also be used for T-shirts, quilt squares or framed pictures.)
What you will need: White bandannas or squares of white cotton material, an assortment of fresh leaves and flowers, and a rubber mallet.
What to do:
- Place waxed paper on a sturdy table. On top of the waxed paper place some fresh leaves and flowers. Place your bandanna on top.
- Use a rubber mallet to pound (gently) on the bandanna over the top of the areas where there are leaves and flowers until the color from the leaves or flowers come through the material. Continue this way with other leaves and flowers until the entire bandanna is covered. The bandannas will be washable, but don't use Clorox or a strong detergent when washing them.
Snowfall Measuring Sticks
(NOTE: This project needs to be done before the ground freezes. For younger children, adult assistance will be needed.)
This is a great activity to keep children active and aware in the garden during the winter months. Sticks can be placed throughout the garden so that comparison can be made as to the depth of the snow. Children can keep journals about their findings, plot or graph the depth of the snow, or note differences on a map of the garden. This activity can provide a wealth of discussion about why and how depths would vary, and what this means for the garden.
- Plastic rulers or yardsticks.
- 24" to 36" lengths of 1" by 1" lumber.
- Screws that fit in the holes of the plastic ruler.
- Wood glue.
- A hammer or rubber mallet to pound the stakes into the ground.
- Drill with bit.
Procedure: Glue the ruler to the lumber, so that there is at least a six inch space at the top and bottom of the 1" by 1". When the glue is dry, drill holes through the holes in the ruler into the lumber. Then attach screws to the lumber. Pound the snow stick into the ground, making sure it is deep enough so that the ruler touches the ground. The deeper the stick goes into the ground, the more stable it will remain through the winter. Now the stick is ready to measure snowfall.
Pressed flowers — Not only are pressed flowers beautiful, they also give children a chance to closely examine the structure of a flower or leaf, and are good for a multitude of projects.
To press flowers:
- Collect a variety of flowers and leaves. lily of the valley, forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts, impatiens, pansies, ferns, blades of grass, nasturtiums, columbines, and most leaves from flowers are old, reliable favorites that are sure to work well. Or, you can experiment and make predictions about what plant materials will work or not.
- Lay flowers on white paper. Any printer paper will work fine so long as it's smooth and clean. Cover the flowers with another piece of paper.
- Place the sheets of paper between heavy books. A good alternative is to use old phone books and yellow pages. These are usually plenty heavy and are a good way to recycle. Be sure to put two pieces of white paper between the pages of the phone book if you are using this method.
- Let the flowers rest and press for several days to several weeks.
- Now the flowers are pressed and ready for projects.
- Materials: Sturdy pieces of paper cut into strips approximately 1" by 6"; flowers, glue sticks, clear contact paper, hole punch, thin ribbon or raffia.
- Procedure: Glue the flowers and leaves onto the strips of paper. Cover with contact paper. Punch a hole at the top. Thread the ribbon or raffia through the hole and tie a knot. The book mark is now ready to interact with a favorite book.
- Materials: Sturdy paper cut into circle approximately 1 to 2 inches across, glue sticks, contact paper, brooch pins (available at craft stores), glue gun.
- Procedure: Glue one or two flowers onto the circle, cover with contact paper. Glue the brooch pin onto the back of the circle.
- Materials: Blank books with a plain cover (available at craft stores), glue sticks, contact paper.
- Procedure: Glue flowers to the front of the book. Cut a square of contact paper large enough to cover the design and place over the flowers. Smooth with fingers to work out air bubbles around the flowers.
- wind socks
- rain gauges
Seed gathering and storing
Long term garden projects
- salsa garden
- pizza garden
- salad garden
- potpourri garden