‘Tis the season of the Great Pumpkin!
I was putting together an activity to accompany the book The Garden That We Grew by Joan Holub when my memory flashed to a Pinterest pin I had seen which used a technique similar to this activity to blow up a balloon with a ghost face. Spooky! (Unfortunately I saw the pin, but didn’t actually pin it — so if you know the blog post I’m talking about, please let me know so I can link it here!)
I decided it would be fun to do something similar to create another Surprise Pumpkin! I blew up the balloon part way and drew on the face with a Sharpie and let it dry overnight. (Go easy on the ink! When it contracts to its deflated size, the ink is so concentrated that it smudges off easily.)
I read the story and we talked about what a pumpkin seed needs in order to grow into a big pumpkin. Great life science discussion! Then I told them I had a different way to make a different kind of pumpkin grow. Following the steps in this post, we used soda and vinegar instead of soil, water, and sunshine, and watched our balloon pumpkin grow! We had some great scientific inquiry going on as we talked about what produced the gas that filled the balloon and experimented with ways to make the balloon bigger. Loads of scientific fun! (That’s right. Scientific fun. Nerds like myself use those words together!)
As we were doing it and discussing how real pumpkins take much longer to grow, it occurred to me that this activity would also go great with the book Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman (a Halloween favorite around here!). In that book, the pumpkin grows from seed to ginormous pumpkin with Halloween “just hours away”. How fun to use your own witch magic to make a pumpkin grow before your very eyes! We had already read that book a few days before, so we simply made the connection.
Halloween is prime time for pumpkin play, but the fun can carry on all through the fall (thank goodness!). Here are more ideas for pumpkin fun:
Large Group/Circle Time
Pumpkin Seeds in the Sensory Bin
Use a mallet to hammer golf tees into a pumpkin! (Bonus if you hollow it out later and use it as a pumpkin lantern!)
Are you passionate about pumpkins? Find even more activities at Hands on as We Grow, 40 Activities Using Pumpkins for Kids!
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