|Here's for your close-up gourd-geous!: Pumpkin and Gourd Science Center Ideas|
|What's Inside Pumpkin Craft/Diagram|
|Take a Peek Inside!|
|Plump and Juicy Non-Fiction Picks: Pick a Perfect Pumpkin: Learning about Pumpkin Harvests by Robin Koontz|
|Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson|
|Put a Lid on It: Create a Viewing Station With a Plastic Take-out Container.|
Make sure to tell the children that some gourds can be eaten, such as squash, and others are just purely for looking cute as buttons in an autumn display when announcing the center to the class. The mini pumpkin varieties can not be eaten.
Here are some fun facts I found as I searched the Internet. Most of the information was gotten from the specialty foods magazine website, The Nibble. Check out the site at http://www.thenibble.com/.
- Many years ago people used gourds as instruments and dish-ware.
- People in South America drink a special drink from their gourds called Yerba Mate.
- Residents of the Caribbean and other parts of the world still use gourds for instruments such as drums.
Other uses for gourds include decorative arts such as painting and carving.
Make sure to place plastic tweezers, a scale and magnifying glasses on the table to entice the children to examine the gourds/pumpkins texture, shape, size and weight.
Simple ways to give children a better understanding of gourds and pumpkins are by:
- Making a Parts of a Pumpkin Chart using blue construction paper, a green pipe cleaner that has been twisted around a pencil to create the pumpkin’s tendrils, a leaf shape and flower which can be hand-drawn or traced from a coloring page, and a simple stem shape. Make sure to label all the parts with a black marker after you have glued them onto the page.
- Buy bagged varieties of gourds from your grocery store. If you would like to be able to use the gourds and pumpkins year after year consider buying some faux ones. These can be found at craft stores.
- Create a What’s Inside a Pumpkin Craft by using the instructions found at the allkidsnetwork.com site: http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/fall/inside-pumpkin-craft.asp. I used a pumpkin template I had found from one of my Mailbox Magazine Yearbooks. I cut out 2 pumpkin shapes. Dyed yellow yarn orange using craft paint and let the yarn dry. As I was waiting for the yarn to dry, I cut out and glued small white card-stock seed shapes onto one half of the pumpkin. After the dyed yarn was dry, I randomly glued the yarn around the seeds to mimic the stringy material found inside pumpkins. I then laminated this half from the destructiveness of chubby little fingers. Finally, I punched holes with a hole punch and used decorative brads to hold the two pumpkin halves together. Using pinking shears, I created the label What’s Inside? on the outside of the pumpkin.
- I created the pumpkin sequencing activity using a Mailbox Magazine Yearbook worksheet. I cut out and colored the sequencing cards and then placed them in sequential order (1, 2, 3, ).
- For a viewing station, I used an old take out container.
So go ahead and get gourd-geous with these gourd and pumpkin center ideas!