Exploring Pumpkin Guts

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Pumpkin carving is an obvious Halloween activity, but don’t neglect what a fantastic sensory experience the whole process is, even before you get to that spooky carved face. And that goes not just for toddlers, but for big kids, too!

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First, I set out our biggest pumpkins, along with newspaper underneath, a tray to catch all those insides, and a few zip-top bags. The kids had eagerly awaited this moment, as we’ve decorated smaller pumpkins here and there in anticipation. I invited them to explore the giant pumpkin first: the texture, the color, the smell, etc.

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Then we cut off the top (grown-up step!). Now, the lid is like a puzzle piece that kids could take off and fit on over and over again.

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Time to scoop! Pumpkins are fascinating inside, starting with those stringy guts and slippery seeds, and then scraping down to the firmer flesh. I spooned some of the insides onto a tray for Veronika to explore with bare hands.

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She also wanted to smell it!

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I also sealed some in a zip-top bag in case the goop made her squeamish, but she actually preferred the stuff on the tray!

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She also loved stirring through the mixture with our pumpkin scoop, which we could also tap against the pumpkin to play it like a drum!

Exploring Pumpkin Guts (9)At last it was time to carve. We shifted a bit from sensory mode to learning mode, because as I popped out the first eye, Veronika said, “A triangle! I want a square.”

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So now I was on the spot to carve a square nose!

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The final sense to explore in a pumpkin is taste of course. We rinsed the seeds (which easily separate from the stringy stuff). Pat dry, then toss with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Note: We had one cup seeds, so use more or less oil and salt depending how many seeds your pumpkin yields).

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Roast at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, then enjoy!

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