In celebration of National Pumpkin Month, we’re taking the classroom outdoors to Enchanted Acres Pumpkin Patch in Sheffield. This month I’ll have an opportunity to host classes from six different school districts with students ranging in age from preschool to 6th grade.
Special thanks to Ag in the Classroom for helping provide educational learning tools that are age-appropriate. This morning I’m looking forward to helping a preschool class make a mobile that illustrates the pumpkin life cycle. This afternoon I’m looking forward to leading a math lesson for a group of 2nd and 3rd graders. We’re going to measure the circumference of different pumpkins, as well as weigh them. All age groups will get to walk into the patch and pick their perfect pumpkin.
Last week children were able to pick an ear of corn off the stalk in the field, shell it into their hands and then feed our four goats. (I just loved hearing their giggles as they feed the animals.) Another hit was petting our mini lop rabbits, Fluffy and Patches.
It’s my goal that students have as much fun as they can while learning where their food comes from. They’ll also learn that Iowa’s corn and soybean crops are used to provide feed for livestock and humans alike.
We’re helping teach students that seeds – in this case pumpkin seeds – grow into plants that then flower and bear fruit. Pumpkin can be used to make a number of delicious foods from roasted seeds to muffins. We even mix up Pumpkin Pie in a bag and talk about the nutritional value of pumpkins.
Did you know that, like carrots, pumpkin is a great source of beta-carotene? Beta-carotene, as it converts in our bodies to vitamin A, performs many important functions in overall health. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease.
So, mix up a batch of delicious Pumpkin Muffins. You won’t have to feel guilty about the indulgence because, after all, pumpkin is a good-for-you fruit! Let your kids join the fun by mixing up this easy-to-make Pumpkin Pie in a Bag. If we can mix it up in a pumpkin patch with a group of four-year-olds, you can certainly do it at home. Best of all, you can make this pie without making a mess – or having to do a sink full of dishes. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Pie in a Bag
2 2/3 cups milk
2 packages (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Graham cracker crumbs
1 can whipped topping
1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag
25 small cups
- Combine the milk and instant pudding in the bag.
- Remove the air from the bag and seal it.
- Squeeze and knead with hands until the mixture is blended—about one minute.
- Add the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger.
- Remove the air, and seal the bag.
- Squeeze and knead with hands until blended—about two minutes. It should form to the consistency of pudding.
- Place 1/2 tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs or a ginger snap in the bottom of 2 small cups.
- Cut the corner of the bag, and squeeze pie filling into the cups.
- Garnish the cups with whipped topping.
NOTE: Older students can work in groups of 4 or 5 to make this ”pumpkin pie.”