Tag Archives: pumpkins

From Beginning to End

The project began last fall when we saved some of the seeds from the pie pumpkin that came in our Wild Earth Farms CSA bin.  I think it is important to not only know where your food comes from but also where your seeds come from.  Most of the plants we grow in our garden start as seeds we collect from plants we have grown or food we have eaten.

In the early spring we started some of our seeds indoors – the seedlings really liked the box window location.  The preschool table is located in front of this window so the children got to see the progress of seedlings every day.

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Once it got warm enough outside we moved all the seedling to our outdoor gardening space.  The various squash plants got planted a block away in my daughter’s back yard – she doesn’t use her outdoor space and we don’t have enough room for those sprawling plants.

Throughout the summer we often stopped by her yard when we were out for a walk.  We are supposed to do some weeding and yard work when we go but mostly all the plants are ‘wild’ and just grow however and wherever they want.  Between the squash plants and the weeds there are so many prickly things but the children are still excited to explore every time we visit.

By the end of September her yard looked more like a jungle than a garden.  The children enjoyed searching for things to harvest.

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We found quite a few on this trip over – had trouble carrying them all back.  All the drivers were smiling as they watched our little parade cross the street.

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When we got back we examined the various produce and discussed what we would do with them.

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The flowers were added to our spaghetti at lunch that day.  The zucchini was used in a stir fry the following week.The rest were displayed as decorations until the end of October when all the pumpkins had turned orange.  Then we cut open the pumpkins and scooped out the innards.

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Then I roasted the pumpkin halves to prepare them for the next phase.

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The following day the children took turns mashing the cooked pumpkin.

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We added the other ingredients – everyone got to smell and even taste some of them before we mixed them in.

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Almost done;

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We poured them in to pie shells and baked them in the oven. Afternoon snack on Friday – perfect end to a busy week;

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There were comments like “This is better than birthday cake”.  Some of the children recognized the taste or smell of the various spices – savoring every bit to pick out the individual flavours.

A year long project from beginning to end – but, its not really the end, is it;

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Painted Pumpkin

Halloween 2012 is now history.  It was a very quiet Halloween night – we only had about on third of the trick or treaters that we normally get around here.

I will admit that Halloween is my least favourite of all the holidays but that doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate it.  I did have most of my decorations up early this year – three weeks ago.  I also bought the pumpkins early but we didn’t do anything with them until yesterday. Part of the problem may have been that, of the 11 full or part time children that attend, the ones that are most interested in Halloween activities are not the ones who are here much.

I like to use pumpkins as a sensory activity for the children and we like to bake with them too.  We usually choose a pumpkin decorating activity that doesn’t involve carving it so we can still use the innards for food.  I found some really amazing pumpkin decorating ideas here.

However, with mostly just infants and toddlers here for the day any elaborate decorating techniques would not be developmentally appropriate.  So, instead we simply painted a pumpkin.

I found it amusing that the biggest problem I had with this activity was getting the little ones to stand up to paint.  Usually the messier the art activity the more likely they are to want to run around.  This time however  just sat, holding their paint brush, and stared at the pumkin on the table.  When I stood them up so they could reach they promptly sat down again.

Eventually they caught on and started painting the pumpkin.  The red paint did not show up well;

The blue was vibrant against the orange of the pumpkin;

We even managed to do some color mixing;

Of course by the end of the activity the pumpkin was mostly greyish brown but we were most interested in the process not the product.

Making Faces

Some of you may know that I am not a fan of big celebrations and Halloween is near the top of my list of annoying holidays.  However, if you like that sort of thing, great — go wild and have fun 🙂

So here, for Halloween celebrations I follow the lead of the children.  They are welcome to wear their costume to show their friends if they want to but I find they rarely leave them on for long.  This year I was a cow girl — YeeHaw!

As the children were playing they began dancing in front of the mirror and making silly faces.  They tried out many facial expressions and really seemed to enjoy this activity.

So, keeping with the ‘faces’ theme I printed some ‘face parts’ and let the preschoolers make faces on paper pumpkins;

Then they played with the potato heads;

At quiet time, the older preschoolers used face parts cut from magazines to make some faces too.  Theirs were not as ‘silly’ since they are ‘big kids’ now — in school part days you know. They were very focused on making their faces ‘correct’.

Really, all they were really interested in was talking about the candy they were going to get.  Sigh, I’m glad Halloween is over for another year.  I’m looking forward to something more interesting.  Like maybe….snow 🙂