Pumpkin Palooza | Anything and Everything Pumpkin for Middle Schoolers

Pumpkin Palooza | Anything and Everything Pumpkin for Middle Schoolers

When the weather cools and fall rolls in, the whole world seems to go crazy for anything and everything remotely pumpkin. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Pinterest, in particular, is overflowing with that ubiquitous pumpkin spice.

When it comes to homeschooling, however, it can be tough to find things for a middle schooler. Ideas abound for preschool pumpkin activities, but not for tweens. It takes some serious digging to find some fun, fall, pumpkin-centric ideas for the older crowd, but I dug. Deep.

OVERVIEW

1. History of Pumpkins: Where did pumpkins originate? How many pounds are produced in the United States each year? How big was the largest pumpkin? Don’t know? Watch this video from the History channel and find out.

2. Another Pumpkin Video: Still looking to ‘harvest’ more information on pumpkins? America’s Heartland can help with this YouTube link.

3. Mastadon Poop: Yup. I went there. Read this.

4. World Record Tips: Wondering how to grow a record-breaker? Give this article from the Smithsonian a read and you just may be the one tipping the scales with a gargantuan pumpkin from your garden.

5. Libby’s Pumpkin Fields: Did you know that Morton, Illinois is the pumpkin capital of the world? They grow the bulk of the pumpkins used by Libby’s. This video tells you more.

6. Canning Factory: Ever wonder how they process big pumpkins into small cans? This is a fascinating peek inside, from field to can in 24 hours or less!

BEVERAGES

7. Lattes: Because … lattes!! If I teach my kid how to make me a perfect pumpkin latte, I can record it as career training, right?! #FutureBaristasUnite  There are 1,001 latte recipes on Pinterest, but this is our favorite Starbux knock-off.

8. Smoothie: We’ve been making this smoothie from Budget Bytes for years. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we stock up on cans of pumpkin and never run out in June!

9. Harry Potter: We’ve all seen the Butter Beer recipes on Pinterest, but have you discovered Pumpkin Juice?

SWEETS & TREATS

10. Crustless Pumpkin Pie: We eat pumpkin pie here about twice a month. Seriously. My weird kids, however, do not like crust. I don’t even bother any more. Why go to all that extra effort?! I can whip up a crustless version in minutes! Bonus: it’s gluten-free!

11. Pie History: Channel your inner food historian and find out the story of the infamous Thanksgiving dessert here. Someone had to come up with the idea of adding sugar and cinnamon to what is essentially a squash. And, boy, are we glad they did!

12. Pancakes: While I would wholeheartedly embrace the idea of pie for breakfast, you may prefer a more traditional approach. These pancakes are a great way to indulge in some lovely orange pumpkin-i-ness.

13. Muffins: I love muffins. I like to eat them, of course, but I also love to hand the recipe over to my kids. It’s one of those things that requires little intervention on my part. They can make muffins solo. Sure, the kitchen may get trashed, but we get yummy  pumpkin muffins out of the deal!

14. Blondies: I have a confession to make. *gulp* When I make these blondies, I have to cut them into squares and immediately put them in the freezer. I. Will. Eat. The. Whole. Pan. Freezing them slows me down… a little.

15. Pumpkin Pecan Bars: My friend, Missy, is an amazing food blogger. Most of her recipes are Paleo or gluten-free (bonus!) and and they all taste fabulous, including these pumpkin pecan bars.

16. For the Dogs: Don’t forget our furry friends! They love pumpkin, too! We make from scratch doggie biscuits for all our furry friends for the holidays every year. Try it and watch them get ‘woofed’ down!

EXPLODING PUMPKINS

17. Punkin Chukin: From the Science Channel, this team aims to chuck a pumpkin a distance of one mile. They need to break the sound barrier to do it. Yes. That sound barrier!

18. Trebuchet: A little less fierce than the pumpkin cannon above, but equally impressive, flinging a pumpkin with a trebuchet is a sight to behold. Watch the experts here.

19. Jimmy Kimmel Live: For a totally gratuitous pumpkin explosion, Jimmy does it best! Experiments are always better when you need a blast shield! LOL

20. Spangler Science: For a little more scientific explanation of your explosion, check out Steve’s version.

21. Guava Juice: This popular YouTuber took the rubber band/watermelon experiment and twisted it on its stem — pumpkin style!!

22. Even More Explosions: Three chemists duke it out to see who has the gnarliest explosion. Who did it best?

23. University of Texas: This is my absolute favorite pumpkin explosion! Make sure you watch it with the sound on! May all our children have amazing, passionate chemistry professors like this! “Take that, pumpkin!”

LANGUAGE ARTS

24. Writing Prompts: I could wax poetic for hours about the glorious pumpkin, but if you need a starting point, these writing prompts are just the ticket!

25. Pumpkin Puns: “What is the ratio of a pumpkin’s diameter to its circumference? PUMPKIN PI – LOL!! For this joke and more, check out this post on AllWording (still laughing here).

26. Pumpkin Poetry: The Poetry Foundation has a great poem dedicated to pumpkins on their site. Break it down; what does it mean to you?

27. Pumpkin Books: Have your child read one of these great selections to a younger sibling or use it as a starting point and  have your child spin a story off the existing one, another chapter, adventure, etc.

28. Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt: If being outdoors in this crisp fall air is more your style, head out on a scavenger hunt with this printable in hand. You’re never too young for a good scavenger hunt!

29. Online Scavenger Hunt: Need a break? Some silence? Assign an online scavenger hunt. See how many items on this list your child can Google, and how fast!

SCIENCE

30. Osmosis: Check out this Prezi on osmosis and a pumpkin. Side note: if you have never heard of Prezi, it is awesome. Think: Power Point on steroids!

31. Liquid Nitrogen: The University of Tennessee’s Physics Department thought it would be a good idea to fill pumpkins with liquid nitrogen and then drop them to see what would happen. Sounds like a perfectly safe plan …

32. Baking Soda Fizzies: We’ve all done multiple versions of baking soda and vinegar experiments — because they rock! This one is a fun twist with pumpkins.

33. Dissolving Candy: Grab some candy pumpkins and let your middle schooler run a few experiments. If nothing else, it saves you a few calories!

34. STEM Challenge: Wait! Before you eat — er, experiment on — that entire bag of candy pumpkins, save some for this cool engineering challenge.

35. Squishy Circuits: We love squishy circuits here at EduHacking. Who am I kidding?! We love anything with circuits! This pumpkin version is great!

36. Pumpkin Slime: Hands down our favorite thing on this list of pumpkin activities for middle school kids!! Genius! There is something equally gross and intriguing about squeezing pumpkin guts between your fingers. Turning the whole thing into slime is seriously awesome!

SAVORY FOOD

37. Pumpkin Ravioli: When we think of eating pumpkin, our minds generally go straight to pie or lattes.  This pumpkin ravioli is super yummy, and a great way for tweens to experiment with new flavors.

38. Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheese: More from my friend, Missy, food blogger extraordinaire. She makes this dish for her kids all the time. They gobble it up, none the wiser that what they think is plain, ole mac and cheese is actually chock full of nutritious stuff! Yum!

39. More Dishes to Try: HuffPost collected these 39 savory pumpkin dishes. Try one. Try them all. {It was just serendipitous that this list of 39 recipes is number 39 on my list – LOL}

40. International Pumpkin Dishes: If you want to try an international twist on pumpkin, check this list out. From Japanese pumpkin salad to South African pumpkin fritters, see how other countries eat the orange stuff.

ART 

41. Still Life: I studied architecture, art history, and non-profit management in college so I have a particular passion for teaching kids about art. My hands-down favorite art education blog is Deep Space Sparkle. Seriously – I recommend her site to everyone! This is a great tutorial on how to paint still lifes. She uses fruit, but — of course – you can use a pumpkin!

42. Learn to Paint a Pumpkin: This is a full-on, use-a-canvas painting tutorial. Fun! I also love the massive switch in perspective on this pumpkin painting. There aren’t any instructions, but maybe you can take what you learned in the first tutorial and apply it here 🙂

43. How to Paint a Mini Pumpkin to Look Like a Donut: What the what?!

44. Galaxy Paint: Really … I don’t need to say much more. Do I? We just love galaxy paint projects here and I am pretty sure the entire world of Pinterest loves galaxy paint, too. This pumpkin is out of this world. Sorry – couldn’t resist.

45. Britto-inspired Pumpkins: Britto is a Brazilian-born artist whose fun, pop culture art is popular all over the world. I had to piece this project together so bear with me. This is a free tutorial from Deep Space Sparkle on painting hearts in his style. Take what you learn there and apply it to this idea of a pumpkin that, sadly, has no instructions.

ART HISTORY

pumpkins

46. Van Gogh: Most of us know Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” with the crazy, swirling blue and gold night sky. My decidedly, non-art history loving husband likes to say that if it looks like a finger painting, then it’s a Van Gogh. He’s right, but he’s also very wrong. The above painting, “Still Life With Two Jars and Two Pumpkins” was painted by Van Gogh several years before his shockingly different “Starry Night”. If you want to learn more about Van Gogh, visit his museum’s site here.

47. Van Gogh Wanna-Be: Check out this fantastic take on Van Gogh’s “Olive Trees” made out of … you guessed it – pumpkins!

48. Photo Realism: Photo realism is exactly what it sounds like — an artist re-creates the image in a photograph as realistically as possible. Chuck Close is a well-known name in the movement. This pumpkin painting is another great example. If you want to try your hand at it, follow this free tutorial.

49. Yayoi Kusama: This larger-than-life Pop Art pumpkin is a landmark on the Japanese island of Naoshima. In fact, the artist, Yayoi Kusama, influenced the work of later, Pop Art legend, Andy Warhol!

CARVED CREATIONS

While this post wasn’t meant to focus on Halloween or jack-o-lanterns, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a few. Besides, it’s highly … educational!

50. BB-8: Ok, so this isn’t exactly ‘carved’, but — hello?! — it’s BB-8, people! #StarWarsFanatic

51. The Field Museum: Tired of the same old jack-o-lantern face every year? The Field Museum has downloadable pumpkin stencils, featuring the infamous Sue and other museum residents. How cool is that?!

52. The Periodic Table: Yes. The ENTIRE periodic table of elements carved into pumpkins!

53. Glow-in-the-Dark: We are all weirdly attracted to glow-in-the-dark stuff, like this pumpkin, right?! Or, is that just me … it’s ok. I’ll own my dorkiness!

54. NASA Pumpkins: ’nuff said. I’m not even going to describe this link. Go. Now.

fall homeschool ideas for tweens

 

 

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55. LAST ONE … Teddy has over 14 million views! We can’t resist him ….