Fun with Pumpkins
So there are two more days left to Halloween and if you're like me, you still haven't purchased a pumpkin. Sure I've had the costumes at my home for two months, since my kids instantly picked them out from the catalog when it arrived at my front door in August, but the pumpkins are a whole different story. So imagine my surprise when yours truly did something she never does. I volunteered to be a class parent for Pumpkin Math day at my son's school.
Now I bet you're wondering...what is Pumpkin Math? Well, get ready to start taking notes because this project is so much fun, it's going to make carving a pumpkin with your kids a total blast. I arrived with a smallish pumpkin in tow while the other moms had lugged in massive ones. In fact, they probably could have used a wheelbarrow for some of the gargantuan-sized pumpkins they hauled into class. One by one we lined up our five pumpkins and then the kids sat down in front of them.
The first question raised by their teacher was which pumpkin was the smallest. Um, that would by my puny pumpkin. Next, she asked the kids to put the pumpkins in order of smallest to largest. Once that task was complete, we were ready for the fun stuff! I grabbed my supplies: an apron (which I swiped from my daughter - it reads "Easy Bake Oven" on the front), a carving knife, newspaper, a scale, and, of course, Pete the Pumpkin (that's what we named him).
After laying down the newspaper on the kids' desks (at home, you can do this on your kitchen table), they were asked to guess the weight of the pumpkin and then write it down. The kids' guesstimates ranged from 10-30 pounds. I lifted up Pete and put him on the digital scale - he weighed 8.5 pounds. Next, it was time to guess the number of lines on the pumpkin. The kids made their guesses and then we took a magic marker to count the lines ourselves. From there, it was decorating time. We took our marker and each student was assigned a body part. The girls tackled the eyes, nose and ears (does a pumpkin have ears?) and the boys tried their hand at the mouth and even created fangs for our little guy. And then came the moment of truth - carving time.
Now let me just preface this by saying I have never carved a pumpkin. Never. Not when I was a child, not when I was a new mom, absolutely never. I guess I've always had a fear of carving, since I don't carve turkeys either. But I digress. I grabbed my miniature carving knife (all the high powered pumpkin carving kits were sold out) and I got to work. Miraculously, I managed to carve a circle at the top of the pumpkin and it came off instantly! And then, as I looked around the room at all the moms using spoons to scoop out the pumpkin seeds, I realized I had forgotten one of the most important supplies for the project. No worries, I borrowed a small gardening shovel from one of the moms and attempted to scoop out the seeds, but it was useless. I had to dive in with my bare hands. And so, there I was with five kids smiling from ear to ear, shoving my hands into the pumpkin so they could count the seeds. Let me give you a word of advice - the next time you buy a pumpkin, aim for a big one because the small ones have tons of seeds! In fact, after the kids started making piles of 10, we managed to count over 500 of them! We then weighed Pete again and he had lost a pound! I guess the same thing happens to people if you throw a little fiber into their diet.
Once I had cleaned out Pete the Pumpkin's innards and my hands had turned a deep shade of burnt orange, it was time to carve the eyes, ears and mouth. And that is when I officially relinquished my carving duties and handed the knife to one of the other volunteer moms at the table who gladly took over the artistry portion of the exercise.
Finally, while the kids cleaned up, their lovely teacher handed out homemade pumpkin bread to the entire class and as I savored my portion, I confided to her that this exercise was way more fun than volunteering for a class trip! And so, there you have it. Fun with Pumpkins. Of course, you could also draw funny faces on your pumpkin ... but honestly, there is nothing that compares to getting messy with seven year olds. In fact, I received the ultimate compliment from one of my son's classmates. The very next day, he came home with a little book of letters from the kids who participated in the exercise. While I got a little misty reading my son's letter to me about how happy he was that I had volunteered for the pumpkin assignment, I nearly fell off my chair when his friend said he loved the part when we took out all the pumpkin seeds and then remarked: "You are fun." And now I know why I am the expert on fun for Lifetime Moms. I've been officially approved by the most discerning critics!