Exploring pumpkin seeds in the preschool classroom

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on October 22, 2011

in Exploring pumpkin seeds, Pumpkin seed exploration bottles, Science and Nature

Pumpkin seeds are a wonderful resource for sensory, math, art, and play. We cut open two pumpkins last week and I saved the pumpkin seeds from both of them…

The children discovered that the inside of a pumpkin is very slimy and the seeds are slippery and wet…

I separated all the pumpkin seeds out from the slimy pumpkin guts and then I colored the seeds (later in the day) with a tiny bit of vinegar and food color.  I am not so sure I would have needed to add the vinegar but it worked fine for me. I was given the idea of coloring the pumpkin seeds by Erica on my Teach Preschool on Facebook page. You can see Erica’s pictures here.

I spread the seeds out on some paper and let them sit over night. The next day, they were still a little wet so I baked them at a very low temperature (200 degrees) for a few minutes (about 15) until they were nice and dry. Then I brought them back to school…

The children explored the seeds with their hands…

They used cups to scoop and pour pumpkin seeds…

Then we set out cut-up brown paper bags from the grocery store to use as our canvas for seed mosaics…

The children squeezed out glue on their paper and then added pumpkin seeds on top of the glue…

Every child made their own unique design with the pumpkin seeds…

For this activity, I told the children they would need to make puddles with the glue instead of just lines so that the pumpkin seeds would have plenty of glue to stick too…

The next time I share this activity with the children, I will set out heavier paper like cardboard because I discovered if you bend the paper after the seeds dry on the glue – the seeds tended to pop off the paper…

After making their mosaics, the children used the remaining seeds to make pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

Some of the children filled the bottles all the way to the top and others added orange construction paper to their bottle too…

And yes, we had pumpkins seeds all over the table and floor by the time we finished. Here are our finished pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

And here are some of our completed pumpkin seed mosaics…

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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Mrs. Myra October 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

Aww, they came out so pretty! I wish I would have kept mine. The one student who was most enthusiastic about taking the seeds out of the pumpkin asked could he take them home.

2 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi Mrs. Myra – So happy to see you here and LOL on sending the seeds home.

3 Brooke@Let Kids Create October 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

Fun! I’ve been saving some seeds for an art project. I love how you dyed them. They have so many great possibilities.

4 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I am sure you will think of even more to do with them Brooke:)

5 Heidi Butkus October 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

I LOVE this! I have to try it!!! Thank you so much! I hope you are going to toast and eat them, too?
We have been exploring our pumpkin and leaf center this week and last. I will be adding pine cones next week, plus as many other seed pods as I can find this weekend. I was thinking that I should get some pine nuts for them to taste, too- (except for my nut allergy kids, that is!) I have been working on creating science centers for my kinder classroom and trying to blog on it each week for a year- that’s my goal- yikes! We have just added a TARANTULA to our science center. They love it! Check it out here:
http://heidisongs.blogspot.com
Heidi Butkus

6 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I will stop by today Heidi – you have been one busy gal!! Oh my!

7 MondoMOM October 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Great project idea! Can’t wait to do this with my baby one day!

8 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I can’t wait either:)

9 KM October 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

So much fun!!! I love the colors and creativity!

10 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

So do I!

11 Andrea October 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I’ve never thought to colour the seeds – I love that! I brought some home to roast so my kiddos can try some next week. If they survive in my house that long. ;)

12 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Haha – well perhaps you will have a few left over:)

13 Amanda October 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

A friend of mine suggested gluing 10 on a craft stick and using them to count by 10′s to 100. All of mine have been roasted and eaten!

14 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm

That’s a good idea Amanda:) LOL on the eating part!

15 Erica October 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

A co-teacher of mine also glued seeds to craft sticks to work on 1:1 counting. I loved it so much I borrowed the idea.

16 Aly Kantor October 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm

This looks like so much fun! Coloring the seeds makes them seem that much more inviting!

Just out of curiosity, do you know if pumpkin seeds trigger any sort of food allergies? I’d love to try it, but I’d always rather be safe than sorry, of course!

17 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I don’t know for sure Aly. Best to ask parents if you have any doubts:)

18 Lori October 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Hello Deborah,
This idea looks like so much fun! Great way to extend the activity after taking the seeds out of the pumpkin to keep it going for a while. Also, I wanted to ask you about something. I am interested in joining Triberr. I have looked on the website and got an idea of what it is. I wondered if you could send me an invite for one of the early childhood blogger tribes? Let me know how it works and what I would need to do. Thanks!
Lori

19 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 23, 2011 at 1:42 am

Hi Lori,
I will need your twitter address.

20 Erica October 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

After we played with ours in teh sensory table, my higher functioning kiddos worked on sorting by color. Then they decided to see how many seeds would fit in diffierent containers without spilling out (uh-oh mess as one of my little guys loves to say). I even got to through in a little Montessori type teaching when we had to clean the seeds up from ALL OVER the floor. We also put ours into bottles and we used them to practice 1:1 counting on pumpkins. I made up a few sheets of pumpkin pictures with different numbers of dots on each pumpkin and the kids put a seed on each dot. For us it’s not only the 1:1 but also fine motor control and being able to not only pinch an item to pick it up but also to be able to release that object. My kids are pretty severely and multiply impaired and I’m constantly looking for things that will catch their attention and help me squeeze a little leraning into their lives. :)

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