Thursday, 23 October 2008

Book of The Week- Pumpkin Pumpkin

Next week is Halloween, our book for the week is a lovely, gentle tale, 'Pumpkin Pumpkin' by Jeanne Titherington

My thoughts on celebrating Halloween as a Christian are perfectly put into words by Joanna Bogle in her book A Book of Feasts and Seasons

It is fun to celebrate Hallowe’en - but only because we are linking it with the Christian reality of All Saints which follow. The emphasis on ghosts & witches & eerie things-that-go-bump in the night is an attempt to return to old Pagan ways. Christians know that old Pagan superstitions & fear must give way to the joy of the resurrection & the reality of eternal life.
Celebration of Hallowe’en should be linked with the fact that on the next day, All Hallows November 1st we commemorate with joy the Saints who have gone to heaven & are now rejoicing with God forever.
Some people, indeed, say that the ghosts & souls theme of Hallowe’en is very appropriate for the eve of All Saints day - Satan is angry thinking about all those saints who slipped through his clutches.
A family commemoration of Hallowe’en can be a way of re-emphasising the Christian belief in life after death. Things should be kept on the level of family fun, avoiding witchy symbols & so-forth,with games & tasty food & a sense of drawing together in warmth on an autumnal evening.
Children should be taught to say a quick prayer if they are ever frightened of anything ‘ghosty’ at night or in a strange place & they should be reminded that they place their faith in God’s loving care & protection.

Our activities for the week:

Pumpkin carving

Make a booklet in the shape of a pumpkin to record the following experiments:

How much does our pumpkin weigh? my girls are too small to estimate weight, but we do comparing activities: which is heavier, E, R or the pumpkin? This is a great graphing activity.

Estimate the circumfrence of the pumpkin by cutting a piece of yarn that they think will fit around the pumpkin. Sort pieces by too short, too long and just right.

Does a pumpkin sink or float?

Guess the number of ridges on the pumpkin

Estimate the number of seeds in the pumpkin

Pass out cards with numbers on them, glue seeds to the given number.

Compare pumpkins to apples.

Make a book describing the inside and outside of a pumpkin using the five senses and observation skills.

Encourage children to talk about what they know about pumpkins: What do you think it would look like inside? Have you ever carved a pumpkin? etc.
Things to discuss:
Are the seeds scattered randomly within a pumpkin, or arranged in some sort of pattern?
Do big pumpkins have larger seeds than small pumpkins?
Is there anything in a pumpkin which lines up with the creases on the outside?
How thick is the skin of a pumpkin? How far in is the meat?

Encourage children to use their senses to describe the outside of the pumpkin & record their reponses on the chart. What does it feel like, smell like, look like, sound like, etc.?
Then, remove the pumpkin's lid and have the children observe & describe the inside of the pumpkin.
Give them the materials to make a pumpkin book. It only needs to have a cover and 1 page.
Have the children record the descriptions of the outside of the pumpkin on the cover.
Have them record descriptions for the inside of the pumpkin on the inside cover.
On the white inside page, they may paste pumpkin seeds and yarn, and illustrate the inside of the pumpkin using crayons, construction paper, markers, etc.

Make a pumpkin glyph
Explain that a glyph is a way to represent data pictorially.
Start with the outline of a pumpkin.
Q 1 Which kind of sweets do you like best? If it is chocolate, make circle eyes on your pumpkin. If it is jellies, make triangles for eyes. If it is licorice, make rectangles for eyes.

Q 2 Have you ever eaten pumpkin before? Yes, give your pumpkin a square nose, no, give your pumpkin a triangle nose.

Q 3 How old are you ? Make a mouth with one tooth for each year of your age.

When the glyph pumpkins are completed look at each others pumpkins, to try to work out the answers. & dont forget to colour them!

Predict and find out what two colors make orange

Make a jack o lantern out of your children's thumb prints

Use pumpkin seeds to make a picture.

Create a mosaic with dyed pumpkin seeds
A mosaic is an art form made with small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. Individual pieces are called tesserae. They fit together to form a design, which is set in mortar. Mosaics can decorate ceilings, floors, walls, sidewalks, and furniture.People of many cultures have used mosaic art. Mosaics appeared as early as 3000 BC and became widespread during 300 BC in cities ruled by Greece. In the 6th century, mosaics were a popular art form in the Byzantine Empire. Islamic people of India and Persia, the Aztec and Mayan Indians, and Mexicans in modern times have all created mosaic art.

Drawing the pumpkin in our nature journals

drying seeds for planting next year

Putting our pumpkin nomenclature cards in the correct order & discussing the lifecycle of a pumpkin. Try this set (thanks,Michelle!)

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pumpkin canned, or mashed, cooked
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 each egg beaten,
1 Package yeast, active dry
1 cup flour, all-purpose
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1 x cinnamon ground
2 tablespoons butter melted

In small saucepan, heat milk and 2 Tbs. butter just until warm (120F to 130F) and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly.
In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt.
Add milk mixture and beat with electric mixer until well mixed.
Beat in egg and yeast.
In separate mixing bowl, combine flours.
Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture.
Beat mixture on low speed for 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently.
Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft).
Turn into lightly greased bowl then grease surface of dough lightly.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down.
Turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle.
On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12- by 10-inch rectangle.
In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Brush surface of dough with melted butter.
Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.
Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly-roll style.
Pinch seam to seal.
With sharp knife, cut roll into twelve 1-inch slices.
Place rolls, cut side up, in greased 9-inch square baking pan.
Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes, Bake rolls at 350F for about 20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from pan to waxed paper-lined wire rack.
Cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Drizzle with Caramel Frosting

Caramel Frosting
30 g butter
45 ml milk or cream
110 g packed brown sugar
120 g confectioners' sugar
3 ml vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, and mix in 3 tablespoons milk and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and beat in 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.

More pumpkin activities can be found here & here.

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