One of the parents brought pumpkin to class one day and the children loved it! They became fascinated with the seeds and what else is inside a pumpkin. To feed off this fascination and encourage their curiosity, we cut the pumpkin open and found many seeds and some gooey “orange stuff.” One of the children informed her friend that this was called the “guts.”
After observing and feeling the mush, we collected all of the seeds and saved them in a bowl. The pumpkin we cut open was rather small, so the children wanted to count how many seeds were in the pumpkin. While counting the seeds, the children discussed what we could make with pumpkin seeds. This sparked a discussion on pumpkin pie and the ingredients used to make it!
We plan on comparing the pumpkin seeds with pineapple seeds next week to further the children’s investigation!
One of the things we value here at Little Wonders is playing with open-ended materials. Most of the time, that means access to an unlimited amount of paints, colors, crayons, fabric, papers, and art materials, but it also applies to this project. The pumpkin is not just a pumpkin in the children’s eyes… it’s a fruit that produces seeds and gooey guts that can be used as inspiration for drawings, paintings, and can literally be used for baking and eating! By encouraging the children to extend and deepen their understandings through multiple, hands-on experiences with diverse materials (and foods), a rich learning experience is organically created. According to researchers, rich, stimulating experiences provided in a safe and responsive environment create the best conditions for optimal brain development and the years from birth to age five give us a window of opportunity to help children develop the complex wiring of the brain. Moreover, by encouraging the children to discuss their thoughts, ideas and knowledge, they are able to grow with their peers and a wonderful collaborative sense of learning is established!