We are back for another week with the Virtual Book Club for Kids! This week it is all about pumpkins. The first thing that came to mind was roasting pumpkin seeds. I roast pumpkin seeds every year, always using the seeds from our jack-o-lantern pumpkin. It’s always something I’ve looked forward to as roasted pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite snacks. It’s even more fun now since my preschooler loves them just as much as I do. He knows that after we carve our pumpkin, it’s time to cook the seeds! This is a great activity for kids because it allows us to explore all five senses.
Featured Book: Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino.
Another favorite: Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean. My boys boys love anything Pete the Cat, so this is a current favorite around here!
Be sure to check out some more of our favorite pumpkin books towards the end of this post, as well as many more pumpkin activities from the VBC hosts and co-hosts!
Exploring the Five Senses by Roasting Pumpkin Seeds:
You can choose any roasted pumpkin seeds recipe you’d like depending on the ingredients you have and the seasonings you like. I like this recipe from The Food Network. You’ll see that this recipe is very customizable based on your tastes.
A pumpkin (I used a medium pumpkin, the kind often used to carve jack-o-lanterns)
A colander (to wash the seeds)
A baking sheet or pan (I used a glass baking pan)
Cooking Oil or Butter (I used coconut oil)
Seasonings of your choice (I just used sea salt!)
Pumpkin carving tools (or a knife and a spoon for scooping)
The Five Senses:
During each step in the process of getting the seeds out of the pumpkin and cooking them, we talked about the things we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. For Big Bro (4) we went into more detail as we talked, but for Little Bro (going on 2) we talked about his eyes, ears, fingers, nose, and tongue and how he uses them.
What does the pumpkin look like on the outside? (bumpy, orange, shiny, round)
Next, Big Bro shook the pumpkin to see if he could hear anything. We didn’t hear anything, so he laid his head on it. While his ear was on it, he knocked on the pumpkin. It sounds really neat since pumpkins are hollow and I’m not sure he has heard anything quite like it before.
We also played a sound repetition game. With his ear on the pumpkin, I did a knocking pattern, and then he would try to repeat the pattern. Pretty fun! This didn’t last long though, because he was ready to dig in!
This week it's all about pumpkins! We are loving it. For the #vbcforkids we explored our five senses while harvesting and roasting pumpkin seeds. #linkinprofile 🎃🍂🎃🍃🎃 Here's some of what we did for hearing! Have you ever used a pumpkin as a drum or laid your head on it to see what it sounds like? Since its hollow inside, it makes a pretty unique sound and there's a lot of ways to experiment with this. We also did a sound repetition game! 🎃🍂🎃🍃🎃 Check out the link in profile for more pumpkin fun!
I cut the top off of the pumpkin and then put the knife away since we did’t need it anymore. And then I let the kids dig in! A spoon is helpful to scrape and scoop the seeds out.
We talked about what the inside feels like (my 4 year old described it as slimy and gooey), and how it feels differently than the outside.
Scoop the seeds out and put them in the colander as you go.
Just rinse the seeds under good water and the pulp separates. Most recipes say it isn’t necessary to get every bit off, so we weren’t too particular.
After separating the seeds, we put the stringy pulp into a zip-lock bag. My toddler liked to squish and poke it.
Bake the seeds according to your recipe. Take note of the aroma while they bake. We thought it smelled a little bit like popcorn!
We made note about how the smell differently than they did when we first got them out of the pumpkin.
After they cool, it’s time to taste your seeds! Big Bro and I like to eat them as they are. For Little Bro, I crack them out of the outer shell to make it easier for him to chew.
Note: Some young children may not be quite ready to eat pumpkin seeds, so use your discretion and consult your pediatrician before trying these if you have any concerns.
If you’re not a fan of pumpkin seeds, you can always keep the seeds to use for learning activities like this counting activity from PriKinders. Or even use them for art like these Pumpkin Seed Mosaics from Kiwi Crate. There’s so much you can do with them!
Wondering what to do with your pumpkin afterwards?
I didn’t want to throw it away! I usually like to make pumpkin butter, but wanted to try something different this time. So we turned ours into a pumpkin shape sorter and jack-o-lantern!
Here are more of our favorite pumpkin books: