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Make Pumpkin Boats

Age: 3 to 8 Time: Under 1 hour
Materials: pumpkin, bucket/pot/bin of water
Skills: Curiosity, Problem Solving, Sensory, Science

Explore floating and sinking using pumpkins—a super way to get your kiddo hooked on STEM this fall!

The Guide

  1. Make Predictions—Before you do anything, look at your pumpkin. Challenge kids to pick it up. Do you think this pumpkin will float in water?
  2. Float Test #1—Place your pumpkin in a bucket, pot or bathtub full of water. What do you notice?
  3. Scoop it out—Cut open and scoop out all of the seeds in the pumpkin. Click here to make this its own math and science activity.
  4. Float Test #2—Then, put the empty pumpkin in a bucket, pot or bathtub full of water. What do you notice?
  5. Set Sail—See how many action figures or small objects can take a sail in your pumpkin "boat."
  6. Marvel! Watch footage of the Great Pumpkin Race in Oregon—it may blow your minds!
  7. Make a regatta of your own—Try this out with other squash too!

Why is this activity great for kids?

In addition to being fun and joyful, this lesson has many benefits:

  • Making and testing predictions are core STEM skills and great ways to develop curiosity. Floating and sinking different objects also introduces the concept of density in a most age appropriate way.
  • Playing with water and removing the insides of a pumpkin stimulate multiple senses and engage kids attention for long periods of time.
  • Pretend play with boats and various passengers they choose can help kids develop imagination and flexible thinking—plus, that kind of independent play gives time back to us adults, too!

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