Cultivate Wonder

Exploring Science with Children

Let the Pumpkins Roll!

I began with one of my favorite pumpkin books, Wendell Minor’s Pumpkin Heads. The kids were especially giggly tonight, laughing throughout this one.pumpkin-heads
Action Rhyme: I’m a Little Pumpkin

I’m a little pumpkin
Short and stout
Packed full of seeds that you can scrape out.
When you’re all finished, then I’ll be
The cutest jack o’lantern you ever did see.

Next I read Ken Robbins Pumpkins, a nonfiction picture book illustrated with photographs showing the growth of a pumpkin from seed to sprout to vine to flower to fruit.


Counting Rhyme: Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins by the barn door
An owl took one,
And then there were four.
Four little pumpkins, as you can plainly see,
One became pumpkin pie,
And then there were three.
Three little pumpkins feeling very blue,
One rolled far away
And then there were two.
Two little pumpkins alone in the sun,
One said, “so long”
And then there was one.
One little pumpkin left all alone,
A little boy chose him
And then there were none.

Pumpkin Song
(tune: Clementine)

I saw a pumpkin, a big fat pumpkin
It was growing on vine,
______ came along and picked one
Took it home and said “It’s Mine!”

For this song, have each child come and pick a pumpkin off the “vine” (green yarn strung like a clothesline).


Song with Shakers: Pumpkin Patch Polka

Additional Books:

Esbaum, Jill. Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie.
Hall, Zoe. It’s Pumpkin Time.
Levenson, George. Pumpkin Circle. (a great video as well!)
McNamara, Margaret. How many seeds in a pumpkin?

Activities included:

Sink and float (Do pumpkins float?)


What does a pumpkin look like inside? I provided spoons and a dish to scoop out insides to get a closer look.


Pumpkin & gourd weighing and balancing


How fast do pumpkins roll?
Children tried out new ramps and chutes with small pumpkins.They extended the chutes in ways I didn’t expect and even tried to make the pumpkins roll up . . . and were pretty successful!


These materials were funded by a recent Target Community Grant and I anticipate they will get much use!

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Trees in the Library!

Have you noticed the new trees in the library?


A recent STEM Storytime celebrated trees.

We read A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry — beginning by discussing the physical book itself, asking children, “What do you notice about this book? What shape is it?”treeisnice


Then I showed the children different kinds of seeds (an acorn, a walnut) and we talked about trees providing food and shelter (for who? squirrels, birds, people). We talked about how even our book came from trees! I had enough maple seeds to give them each one,  which they threw in the air and watched spin like a helicopter. I also had several different pine cones to show them and introduced the word “conifer.”

Next we watched and listened to the They Might Be Giants song, “C is for Conifers” from Here Come the ABCs.

Then we read Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller.

This accessible informational picture book compares each tree part to body parts: “roots anchor a tree, like your feet help you stand.”  So the trunk is compared to legs; branches to arms; bark to skin, veins in your hand to veins in a leaf;  sap to blood, and more!

Next we learned “the tree version” of  Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes:

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots.

(waving fingers for leaves, arms for branches, touch tummy for trunk and touch toes for roots)

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots.

Trees are important to you and to me…                     

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots!

We ended by dancing to Laurie Berkner’s “Under a Shady Tree” with shakers.

The scientific skill we emphasized in this program was Observation and vocabulary for today included “conifer” and the parts of a tree: bark, trunk, roots, crown, sap.

At the end we went outside to do bark rubbings from real trees!

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