Dyed pumpkin seeds make great manipulatives for learning and can also be used for fall art projects. I have tried 2 different ways of dyeing pumpkin seeds. Both methods require dried pumpkin seeds. Place seeds in the oven or microwave to dry them out prior to dyeing.
Method 1: Dye Pumpkin Seeds in a Ziploc Bag
The first method I’m going to share is the one I prefer to do with students as it is a great sensory experience for them and is also hands-on and fun. It only requires a few materials:
dried pumpkin seeds
Place some pumpkin seeds along with some food coloring in a ziploc bag.
Close the bag and allow students to manipulate the bag and coat the seeds with the food coloring. They can gently shake it or squeeze the bag and move the seeds around in the food coloring to coat them.
Once the seeds are colored, dump them out on a paper plate or cookie sheet to dry. If you need them to dry quicker, place them in the microwave or oven.
I liked this method because the seeds came out darker colors and it was a fun sensory experience for the students. It requires more food coloring than the second method, however.
Method 2: Dye Pumpkin Seeds in Cups
I use this method when I need to dye a large number of pumpkin seeds. I usually do this at home and not with the students, however it could be done in the classroom with students if you wish. The materials needed are:
dried pumpkin seeds
In each cup, mix 1/2 cup cold water and 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar. Add a few drops of food coloring until you get the desired color.
Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. You will have to stir them around a bit to get them coated because they float.
Leave them sit in the cups for around 30 minutes or shorter for lighter colors, a bit longer for darker colors.
Scoop them out onto paper towels or cookie sheets to dry. Dry overnight or speed up the process by putting them in the microwave or oven.
Be sure the dyed pumpkin seeds are completely dry before using.
Both methods resulted in bright, colorful dyed pumpkin seeds for us to use.
Fall Tree Art Project Using Dyed Pumpkin Seeds
To make the tree, trace each student’s forearm and hand on brown construction paper and cut out.
Glue the tree onto a piece of construction paper. Glue fall colored dyed pumpkin seeds on to represent fall leaves.
Learning Activities Using Dyed Pumpkin Seeds
Use a permanent marker to write letters on the dyed pumpkin seeds. Use them to practice word families, CVC words, matching uppercase and lowercase letters, etc.
Use the dyed pumpkin seeds as math manipulatives. I like to use them with my fall counting mats and pumpkin math center.
Dyed pumpkin seeds are the perfect maniplatives for graphing and sorting. Give students a group of seeds and have them sort them by color or graph and count them.
Dyed pumpkin seeds can also be used as bingo markers or game pieces. We love using them with our Thanksgiving Lotto Games.
What are some activities that you do with your dyed pumpkin seeds?
Thank you for explaining the scientific aspect🎃
You’re welcome, Patricia! I’m glad you found it helpful!
Thanks, this is a great idea! How long do you cook them in the microwave to dry them out?
Hi Jamesia! I’m glad it was helpful! Rinse the seeds to remove the pulp. Place about 1 1/2 cups of seeds in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 6-8 minutes, stirring them every 2 minutes. Start checking them at the 6 minute mark.