During the October 2011 Discovery Days!
program, Pumpkin Heads and Tales, youth explored pumpkins in stories, songs and hands-on activities to learn about varieties of pumpkins, how to grow them and their nutritional value.
Youth learned the difference between pumpkins and other of vegetables by comparing and contrasting them. A preschool class grouped pumpkins on one side of a table and other vegetables on the other side.
The preschoolers also examined different types of pumpkins. They observed the colors and shapes, then felt the different pumpkin textures. "This one is lumpy," exclaimed a child. "This one reminds me of Cinderella's carriage," remarked another.
After the children guessed what color the inside of a green pumpkin would look like ("Green!"), the pumpkin was cut open. They were amazed that it was not
green after all. It was as orange as any other pumpkin they'd ever explored. They got to feel the inside of the green pumpkin and found it slippery and full of seeds.
Next, they were shown a jar of peeled pumpkin seeds and a jar of almonds and were asked to guess which jar held the pumpkin seeds. Because the size of the un-hulled pumpkin seeds are almond-shaped, the children thought the almonds came from pumpkins. The presenter cut open pumpkin seeds from the green pumpkin so they could see that pumpkin seeds are actually very small.
Children were given little cups with almonds and with pumpkin seeds to taste. They were asked which one they liked the best. Most liked the taste of both and were surprised that seeds and nuts are healthy snacks.
A reading of the book "Pumpkin Time" in big book format explained how pumpkins are grown from seeds. The children were surprised to learn that one seed can grow into a vine with many big pumpkins.
Discovery Days programs are offered monthly for groups of youth ages 3-8. New themes are offered each month so groups can enjoy visiting the Louisiana 4-H Museum many times!
For scheduling information and a list of upcoming themes, please visit Discovery Days