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What to do With Pumpkin Waste This Halloween

During the Halloween season in Canada, over 82,000 tonnes of pumpkins are grown and produced each fall. The majority of these pumpkins end up in landfills or going to waste by early November. However, using some imagination and creativity, Deena Billings, Head of Quality, at Busy Bees, has several ways we can reduce this number.

Deena said: “Children love Halloween and pumpkins are always part of the fun, but it’s such a shame that so many go to waste each year. There are lots of ways to reduce how many we throw away and it doesn’t just have to be cooking with them – although they are delicious. Showing children different ways to use their pumpkins after Halloween teaches them a really valuable lesson about reducing waste and how they can do their bit to help the environment.”

Cook Up A Halloween Treat

Pumpkins are often seen as just a Halloween decoration, but they are incredibly healthy and rich in vitamins and minerals that can support children’s development. First things first, make sure you buy a pumpkin suitable for cooking so you can make some delicious meals that the whole family will love.

Pumpkins are often seen as just a Halloween decoration, but they are incredibly healthy and rich in vitamins and minerals that can support children’s development. First things first, make sure you buy a pumpkin suitable for cooking so you can make some delicious meals that the whole family will love.

Pumpkins are versatile and can be used in lots of ways from a nutritious savoury soup to a deliciously sweet pumpkin pie. See below for a quick and easy soup to make with your child to feed a family of six hungry tummies:

Ingredients

1 onion, diced
1.2kg diced pumpkin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tinned, cooked chickpeas
1 medium potato, diced
1.5lt water
Pinch black pepper
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1tsp cumin
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (leaves only)
125ml double cream
Sunflower oil

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-based, medium saucepan on a medium heat.  Add the onion, potato and pumpkin, cook until the onion is soft but not coloured
  2. Add the spices, chickpeas and garlic and stir well
  3. Add the water and simmer until the pumpkin and potato are fully cooked
  4. Take off the heat, leave for a few minutes, then blend
  5. Stir through the cream (optional), black pepper and parsley

Carving Up A Sensory Game

The fun doesn’t have to stop once you’ve finished carving as pumpkins offer a great sensory experience. Sensory play supports children’s language development, enhances their ability to problem solve as well as building their fine and gross motor skills.

To make a sensory bag for children under three, scoop out the insides of a pumpkin and place them into a gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag. Children can feel and squish the bag with their hands and even feet. To develop this further for over three’s, why not add some small world figures of spiders, frogs, cats and even laminated images of apples, cauldrons or other Halloween-themed objects?

Important: Children must be supervised throughout as these items can pose a risk if they are left unattended.

Perfect Pumpkin Crafts

Why not give back to the environment once Halloween is over by making a pumpkin bird feeder? Simply add holes in the pumpkin for the string and place some bird feed into the bottom before hanging it in the garden. This activity isn’t suitable for children under three and should be hung somewhere they don’t have access to.

Alternatively, help your child to make a necklace out of the seeds. Dry them out before letting them paint the seeds in their favourite colours. Help them with the tricky part and use a needle to make holes in the centre of the seeds so they can thread them onto the string.

Top Tip: Use the coloured seeds to do some learn through play activities like practising colour recognition or even counting with them.

Budding artists can use the firm part of the pumpkin to make stamps to dip into paint and make creative masterpieces. This is great for learning about different shapes and an ideal fine motor exercise for little hands.

Important; Pumpkin seeds should only be used under adult supervision. 

Brighten Up Your Garden This October

Once Halloween is over, leftover pumpkins make ideal planters for an autumnal garden feature. Just cut a drainage hole in the bottom and place plants or flowers inside before surrounding them with soil.

This is a great activity to teach children about the environment and gives them a sense of responsibility. Talk to them about the things plants need to grow well and what happens if they don’t get the right nutrients.

Top tip: If you aren’t keen on the idea of pumpkin planters, why not make compost out of them to keep the garden thriving? It’s easy to do and will keep them out of landfill and can be used to grow next year’s pumpkin.

Halloween is a source of good fun and anticipation for young children, fuelling their imaginations and enabling them to experience many learning opportunities. There is lots of potential to extend children’s learning further, beyond the commercialisation by teaching them about where they live, the natural environment and the important role they can play in looking after it.

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Our award-winning curriculum was formed through in-depth research into early childhood learning and development. A blend of play-based (Frog Street) and child-led (Emergent) curriculums, all activities are hands-on, child-guided and exceed provincial early learning frameworks.

Our dedicated and passionate early childhood educators deliver an innovative, engaging and proven curriculum that ignites a love of learning and inspires and encourages individuality in every BrightPath child. Their nurturing and attentive approach offers each child a home-away-from-home experience.

Two-way communication is important. Monthly newsletters, curriculum nights, parent interviews, open houses and our proprietary app (BrightPath Connect™) are designed to increase the interaction between our centres and families.

Children need nutrition to grow in both mind and body. Believing that food choices throughout childhood fuel life long eating habits, our menu is crafted by a Registered Nutritionist and prepared in-house daily and reflects those beliefs.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Our award-winning curriculum was formed through in-depth research into early childhood learning and development. A blend of play-based (Frog Street) and child-led (Emergent) curriculums, all activities are hands-on, child-guided and exceed provincial early learning frameworks.

  • Our dedicated and passionate early childhood educators deliver an innovative, engaging and proven curriculum that ignites a love of learning and inspires and encourages individuality in every BrightPath child. Their nurturing and attentive approach offers each child a home-away-from-home experience.

  • Two-way communication is important. Monthly newsletters, curriculum nights, parent interviews, open houses and our proprietary app (BrightPath Connect™) are designed to increase the interaction between our centres and families.

  • Children need nutrition to grow in both mind and body. Believing that food choices throughout childhood fuel life long eating habits, our menu is crafted by a Registered Nutritionist and prepared in-house daily and reflects those beliefs.