PATCH WORK: Seven Skills Kids Can Master While Picking Pumpkins
1. Body Awareness
Lift and move pumpkins on the pumpkin mountain to find the perfect pumpkin. You and your child will build endurance and receive lots of proprioceptive input for calming, grounding and developing body awareness.
2. Balance and Coordination
Going on a hayride and walking on the uneven ground at the farm can help strengthen core stability. Navigating amongst the pumpkins without tripping over roots, stems and leaves helps build body awareness, coordination, and balance.
3. Sensory Skills
Cut open your pumpkin and scoop out the guts with your child. What does it feel like to run your fingers through the insides? Does it feel smooth? Rough? Slimy? If your children are hypersensitive to touch start by having them wear gloves when they touch the innards. When they're ready encourage them to snip one finger off of the gloves at a time to help them acclimate to the feel and allow them to become progressively more comfortable touching the pumpkin flesh and separating out the seeds.
4. Pincer Grasp
Have them separate the seeds from the gooey fibers. Pulling apart with two fingers strengthens the hand muscles and utilizes fine motor skills to facilitate a pincer grasp.
5. Sorting and Counting
With so many like objects of varied sizes, colors, shapes and textures a pumpkin patch is the perfect place to sort on one, two or even three dimensions. Have your child find three big pumpkins and point them out, then three that have long stems, three with short stems, three that are very round, three that are very tall, etc.
6. Weight and Volume Measurements
Have your child handle two pumpkins and figure out which is heavier? Ask older children to guess how heavy their pumpkin is before it is weighed. How did their guess compare to the actual weight? How much do they think the insides weigh? Scoop out the inside to find out. Fill your pumpkin with water, what is the volume of water that it holds?
7. Asking Questions
Finding the perfect pumpkin can be a good time for your child to make decisions on likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to ask questions. Here are some prompts: why do you like the big pumpkin? Tell me something about the color of your pumpkin that you liked. Why do you think your pumpkin is flat on that one side?
Pumpkin seed recipe-quick and easy!
2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil or butter
Sea Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Gut fresh pumpkin separating the flesh from the seeds. Rinse seeds with water and lay them out on parchment paper or wax paper to dry (one hour to overnight)
Spread seeds in a single layer on a lipped baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, season with salt.
Roast in the oven 45 mins or until crisp.
Written by Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg, POTS Director