Friday, October 5, 2012
Pumpkin Science for Preschoolers/Kindergarten
Pumpkins are the perfect lab subject for preschoolers and other young children: they are festive, come in a variety of shapes and colors, look totally different on the inside and the outside, inspire curiosity, are easy to handle, vary in size, and are easy to obtain (at least in the Fall!). They also provide many, many opportunities to investigate and experiment!
Your child can measure pumpkins' length and weight. She can compare different colors and count the pumpkins you have available. She can predict what the inside will look like or how many seeds she will find. She can hypothesize about what materials will write, paint, or draw best on the pumpkin's surface. And she can do this floating lab:
** small pumpkins (an assortment is fun)
** a large bowl or bucket with water
** this free lab report form (optional...you can also use a science journal)
1- Ask your child to predict if his pumpkin will float or sink. Let him explain his reasons and, if he is old enough, record them on the report form.
2- Let your child experiment!
3- After he has noticed the results and talked about them with you, he will probably want to play with the pumpkin and the water. This is just fine! (You may want to move outside.)
4- Discuss the experiment and fill out the form.
5- What other questions does your child have? What could you test next? A few ideas: Will the pumpkin float if it is cut in half? Will the seeds float? Use the blank lab report form for any more experiments your child is interested in!
Younger children (including toddlers) love this experiment. Do not bother with a lab report form for children too young for it. They will still learn from the sensory experience and the science language exposure during the experiment. They may, however, enjoy drawing a picture of their pumpkins afterwards.
I may share at any of these parties!