Have they appeared at your grocery store yet? That’s right, we’re talking pumpkins. It’s also the season of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but we’ll ignore that considering espresso isn’t the best for children.
We love to carve pumpkins, but what about all of the seeds that go to waste? Pumpkin seeds are actually pretty versatile, and here are 5 ideas to put them to good use with your family:
1. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: You can buy these in the store, but why not make them with your child to enjoy at home! This recipe is originally found at Simply Recipes.
In a colander, separate the seeds from the strings and wash seeds well. To give the seeds flavor, boil them in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds, lay them out on a roasting pan with a little olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until brown! Watch carefully, as the small seeds will only take about 5 minutes, but the bigger ones up to 20.
2. Practical Life Glue Work: First, wash and dry the pumpkin seeds you have left over from carving. Next, use them to practice gluing by making a seed mosaic! Using non-toxic markers or paints, color the seeds randomly or with a subject in mind (i.e. Jack-o-lantern). Next, using a small paint brush, your child can apply a little glue to each seed, stick it on a piece of card stock to create a picture!
3. Homemade Counters: Because of the abundance of pumpkin seeds, they are great tools for counting practice. Wash then lay out the seeds until they are completely dry. Next, have numbers 1-10 written on post-its or scrap paper. Start with 1-3 for younger children, 1-10 for older. First, your child can lay the number cards in order. Then, ask your child to count the correct number of seeds and place them under the paper number! For even more practice, try simple addition with your seeds.
4. Spooning: Spooning, besides what you do at night while reading a book with your child, can also be called transferring, and is a Practical Life material from the Montessori classroom. Basically, a child practices fine motor control by using a spoon to transfer a objects from one dish to another. In this case, use dried pumpkin seeds! Prepare a tray with two small glass or ceramic dishes, and a small spoon. Fill one dish with seeds, and explain to your child the object is to use the spoon to get the seeds from one dish to another. “Carefully, so as to not drop even a single seed!”
5. Smell em’: Help your child learn to distinguish smells! This is also called refining your Olfactory sense. Using your washed and dried pumpkin seeds, split them into as many groups as you’d like. Place the groups in separate baggies or containers, and cover them with spices from your cabinet like cinnamon, clove, ginger, or even coffee grounds. Next, practice distinguishing smells by asking your child to close their eyes, smell the seeds, and try to figure out which spice it is!
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