‘Grow a Pumpkin’ Guest post by Amber Bobnar, WonderBaby.org
Fall is a great time for sensory activities and to explore the traditions of the holidays – like pumpkins!
We go to the café and smell pumpkin spice lattes, we eat pumpkin pie and we even carve pumpkins for Halloween… but does your child really understand what a pumpkin is and where it comes from? Without vision, it can be difficult to fill in the gaps with the incidental learning sighted kids receive every day.
Pumpkins are a vegetable (a type of squash) that grow on vine-like plants that creep along the ground. When you visit the store to pick out your pumpkin you can touch the different sizes and feel all the bumps and ridges, but you are still missing that vital piece of information about how pumpkins grow.
One great way to help your blind child understand where our pumpkins come from is to visit a pumpkin patch, but another fun activity is to grow your own pumpkin!
If you want to use your pumpkin for Halloween, you’ll want to start this activity in mid-summer, but of course it’s also a fun fall project as well!
What You’ll Need:
- A small pumpkin
- A knife
- A bowl
- A drill (optional)
- A small shovel or trowel
How to Grow Your Own Pumpkin
Begin by letting your child explore the pumpkin. If you can, have your child also help you pick out the pumpkin at the store. The more involved they are, the better!
Being sure to protect little hands, use the knife to cut the top off the pumpkin. Let your child remove the top and feel the inside of the pumpkin. What does it feel like? Is it icky? It’s OK if you think it feels gross!
Use your hands to scoop all the seeds from inside the pumpkin and place them in your bowl. This can be a messy activity, but also lots of fun! When you are done with this project, you will have lots of seeds left over. Why not make roasted pumpkin seeds? (Here’s a great recipe from Flour On My Face!)
If you have a drill, this is a good time to drill a few holes in the bottom of your pumpkin to allow water to drain. If you don’t have a drill, you can use your knife to make the holes. (Remember: Safety first!)
Scoop soil into the hallowed out pumpkin using your shovel and then place a few pumpkin seeds back in the soil (we planted 5 seeds). Water your pumpkin and place it in a nice sunny spot to grow!
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Your pumpkin will grow fast (really, they grow like weeds) and as long as you water regularly and it gets lots of sun… you’ll have your own pumpkin patch before you know it!
Visit www.WonderBaby.org for more great sensory activity ideas for kids with visual impairments, along with lots of informative resources for parents!