Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pumpkin Theme Ideas for Pre-school and Kindergarten

Pumpkin puzzle for pumpkin theme ideas

You may have read about the visitors to our farm a few weeks ago.  You may not have the opportunity to ride on a combine during harvest, but almost anyone can visit and farm this time of year!  Pumpkin patches abound with great opportunities for everyone to see bits and pieces of farm life.  And since we just did a homeschool unit about fall for my preschooler and kindergartener, here are some pumpkin theme ideas for you to use– and hopefully you can visit a pumpkin patch as well!

Of course, cutting open a pumpkin and playing with the seeds are a must.  But instead of carving a face, try these math and science ideas instead.

Clean the seeds, layer them on a baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt, and roast at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Eat and enjoy!

Pumpkin seeds, idea for pumpkin theme unit

OR put the seeds in a plastic tub and let the kiddos squeeze and squish the squash 😉

Make a pumpkin puzzle!  We tried a few different designs and the best puzzles were pumpkins cut in horizontal “slices.”  For older kids talk about how puzzle pieces lock together and have them help design the puzzle.  For little ones just cut simple waves around the pumpkin to be used like stacking rings.

Pumpkin puzzle, pumpkin theme ideas

Design a pumpkin patch of your own.  We made fall leaves with my cricut, added a variety of pretty pumpkins, painted pumpkin leaves and vines, added a plastic rake from our summer sand toys, and talked about the pumpkin life cycle.

Pumpkin patch, pumpkin theme ideas

And speaking of pumpkin life cycles, we designed our own pumpkin life cycle chart with a paper plate, a seed, and tissue paper flowers.

Throw bean bags into a pumpkin.

Make a pumpkin smoothie.

And then when you are done with the pumpkins, place pieces in a plastic tub (you’ll want a lid for this one!) and watch the pumpkin decompose.  We journaled about our observations in our science journal.

Observe pumpkin decay, pumpkin theme idea

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Election 2012

2012 is a big election year!  We will vote for President of the United States, as well as many Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and local and state offices.

Some people believe politicians in Washington do not affect their lives, but on our farm our daily life has a lot to do with the laws and regulations others put into place.  Let me give you an example.

Last year the Missouri River flooded.  Check out this map of the US.

You can see that the Missouri River goes through many states, not just Missouri.  So when the river flooded, lots of people had trouble!  The Army Corps of Engineers decided the best thing to do would be to dynamite a levy– a dam built up with dirt to keep the river where it belongs.  When they blew the levy up thousands of Missouri homes, businesses, and farms were destroyed in the horrible flooding that followed.  The Corps said destroying the levy was the best way to control the flood.  Many Missourians disagree.

This year we will vote for leaders who will write new laws.  We can choose leaders who promise to pass laws that will change how the Army Corps of Engineers does its job, or we can choose leaders who plan to keep things the way they are.

The farms that were underwater last year are dry now, but they are still unusable.  The sand and debris from the flooding cover the good, rich dirt, keeping plants from growing.  Scientists say it could be 20 years before the land is usable again.

So tell me, do you think politicians in Washington can affect your life?  Who will you choose in Election 2012?

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Visit to the Farm

Last Saturday we enjoyed friends coming for a visit to the farm.  Like most families, these friends don’t have a combine in their backyard, so we had a grand time climbing up the ladders to look in the hopper, checking out the engine, riding around the field, “steering” the tractor and cart, and honking the semi’s horn.

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the Farm

Visit to the farm

Visit to the Farm

Now that you’ve seen the photos, what would you most like to do on a visit to the farm?  Use your journal and your imagination!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Farmers want you to know about Safety During Harvest

Harvest season is in full swing throughout the midwest.  As those tractors, carts, wagons, combines, head wagons, semis, augers, and pick-ups move from field to field, here are a few things farmers want you to know about safety during harvest!

Safety During Harvest

We don’t like it any better than you do, but sometimes farm equipment must drive on the highway.  Dealing with the slow-moving machinery that produces our food is just part of eating!  First, stay back for the sake of your vehicle– you don’t want beans smacking your window and the farmer can’t see you very well anyhow.

Be patient.  Most farm equipment won’t be driving on the highway for a long way.  As soon as a back road is available, the tractor or combine is probably going to turn off.

When you are traveling on a back road, keep a close eye out.  If you see a pick-up or car with flashing lights at the top of a hill watch out!  This is the signal to warn you that a large or slow-moving machine is coming towards you on the road.   Slow down or even stop and get as far over on the shoulder as you can.  Don’t ignore flashing lights!

Some neighborhoods are built where a field used to be and are still surrounded by farm ground.  Many farmers are happy to talk to families and kids about the equipment they drive or what they are doing, but never approach a farmer while he is driving.  Wait until he has fully stopped before you approach your neighbor to ask a question!

And never play on parked equipment!  Farmers sometimes need to leave combines and carts in the field over night and come back to finish later, but these are not giant toys!  But if you ask nicely you just might get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat with the help of the farmer!

So from our farm family to yours, be safe!

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