While kids are excited by pumpkins, It can be hard to come up with engaging activities that will help kids learn about the pumpkin life cycle.
You don’t need to have any experience teaching science or gardening to teach your kids about the pumpkin life cycle.
First, let’s explore the different stages of the pumpkin life cycle from seed to pumpkin. Your kids will be excited to learn how their favorite fall vegetable grows from seedling to a fully mature plant.
What is a life cycle?
A life cycle is a series of changes an organism goes through in order to reproduce. The pumpkin goes through a series of stages, from seed to mature fruit.
Why Teach Preschoolers about Life Cycles?
When children learn why things grow and how new life comes from old, it helps them better understand the world around them.
Six Stages of the pumpkin Life Cycle
There are six different stages of the pumpkin life cycle.
The Pumpkin Seed
The first stage in the life cycle of a pumpkin is the seed. This is how all pumpkins start. Without seeds, there would be no pumpkin plants or pumpkins!
It’s easy to examine pumpkin seeds with your kids. Cut a pumpkin open and let your kids conduct a pumpkin investigation. Let your kids explore the pulp inside to find the seeds.
There are many different kinds of pumpkins. Let your kids investigate whether the seeds of one pumpkin look different from the seeds of another type of pumpkin.
You can also buy or prepare pumpkin seeds for kids to taste test.
The Pumpkin Sprout or Seedling
When a pumpkin seed germinates, the young plant or sprout is called a seedling.
You can grow pumpkin seedlings in cups of soil. Transplant them when they get bigger, but remember that pumpkins need warm weather to grow.
The next stage in the pumpkin life cycle is the time when it becomes a full-fledged plant. It grows leaves, vines, and eventually the flowers that are necessary to produce pumpkins!
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, you can let kids assist you with growing the pumpkin plant.
Another fun activity is to remove some of the leaves and let kids examine them.
Pumpkin Blossom Or Flower
The next step in the pumpkin life cycle is the flower. The pumpkin flower is big and yellow.
Some pumpkin flowers are male, and some pumpkin flowers are female. Male flowers usually bud first, and female flowers arrive about a week later. You can tell which is which by looking at them – the female flower has a little nub on it.
Bees typically pollinate the flowers. However, if there aren’t any bees in your garden, you can hand-pollinate them with a paintbrush. The trick is to take pollen from the male flower and brush it on the female flower.
After pollination, pumpkins grow from those female flowers.
When you examine a pumpkin, you can point out the blossom end to your kids. The blossom end is on the bottom. The little tan circle is where the pumpkin’s blossom was once attached.
The next stage is the green pumpkin stage. During this stage, a pumpkin begins growing. The fruit will start to resemble a pumpkin, but it is green.
If you have a garden, you can help your kids estimate how big the pumpkin will get by measuring it with a string and then comparing the length of the strings over time.
In the next stage of the pumpkin life cycle, the pumpkin changes colors. Although there are many varieties of pumpkins, generally, a pumpkin is ready to harvest when it is entirely orange.
Depending on the size of your pumpkin, it may take anywhere from 80 to 120 days for a pumpkin plant to fully mature into a ripe fruit ready for harvest!
Pumpkin Life Cycle Videos
In the perfect world, all kids would be able to observe pumpkins growing in a garden. Fortunately, there are other ways to help kids observe the pumpkin life cycle.
You can find videos online that demonstrate each stage of the pumpkin life cycle. Here are two of my favorites:
The flashing of day to night is a little distracting in this video, but it does a great job showing the stages of growth. The time-lapse video also shows kids how big the plants get as they grow.
This video is kind of like a narrated slide show. It is super kid-friendly and has great images that illustrate each step of the pumpkin life cycle.
Pumpkin Life Cycle Activities
Now that you have a better understanding of the pumpkin life cycle, here are some additional activities that will help you teach your kids about pumpkins:
Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Pulp
Kids can examine the inside of a pumpkin and separate the seeds from the pulp. Some kids may not want to put their hands into a pumpkin cavity. That’s fine! You can place a pile of pulp on a tray for them to check out.
Kids can pull seeds from the pulp and place them in a water container to wash them off.
Pumpkin Guts Craft
Mix a bit of glue with some pumpkin guts. Kids can place some of the pulp and seeds onto a construction pumpkin cutout.
Plant a Pumpkin Seed
Kids can get a first-hand look at the germination and growth of a pumpkin with this plant activity Help your kids plant seeds in plastic sandwich bags.
Take a paper towel and spray it with water until moist. Place a couple of seeds on top of the towel and put them inside a plastic bag. Hang the bags in a warm window or from a clothesline so that kids can easily observe the seeds as they sprout.
Pumpkin Life-Cycle Book & Interactive Chart
Use a printable pumpkin life-cycle book so that kids can see pictures of each stage of pumpkin development. If you like, you can laminate the pages so that they will be more durable.
In addition to books, you can also use an interactive chart. Kids can place the pictures in order as they learn the different stages of the life cycle.
Pumpkin Rotting Observations
When Halloween is over, don’t throw your jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins in the compost bin. Instead, let them sit outside for a few weeks in a place where your kids can observe them as they decay.
Kids are fascinated by the decomposition process, and this is a perfect chance to enhance their understanding of the life cycle.
Learn how to use the book, Pumpkin Jack, with decaying pumpkins with this pumpkin rotting experiment from Little Bins for Little Hands
Pumpkin Activities in the Store
I hope these activities will help your kids learn all about pumpkins and their fascinating development. Teaching young kids about pumpkins is a great way to teach them about the natural world.
Are you ready to get started with some pumpkin activities with your kids? Check out these hands-on pumpkin investigation activities in the store.