Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

For this classic autumn recipe, you can use the seeds from Halloween jack-o-lanterns or Thanksgiving pie pumpkins. They’ll make a yummy snack to keep your little revelers fed, as you model eco-friendly, low-waste living. 

Plus, you can use the recipe to help your child practice reading double vowel sounds. To start, enter your email to get the recipe PDF. Then print the recipe, and explain to your child that EE can make a long E sound, as in seeds, and OO can make an ooh sound, as in scoop.

Next, help your child find and circle all the words with double E or O in the recipe, and then practice reading the words together. 

After that, let your child take the lead on reading the instructions, if they’re ready, as you prepare your snack together. Just be sure to help your child with the hot oven. 

Note that you can also use the recipe with kids who aren’t ready for reading yet. Just point to each word as you read the instructions aloud. Pause to point out specific letters they may know, or introduce them to a letter such as their first initial or a distinct common letter like O.

If they have some familiarity with the ABCs, you can ask them to find or circle all the instances of a certain letter in the recipe. (For letter-teaching tips, see How to Teach Your Child the Alphabet: The Ultimate Parent’s Guide.)

Happy Fall!

Tips for teaching kids to read with recipes:

  • Introduce your child to how recipes work. If you’re not sure they know them already, be sure to explain vocabulary like “ingredients” and other cooking terms. (Even though we won’t be reading such complicated words in this recipe, they’re important words to learn.) One of the biggest challenges for beginning readers—and most important oral language underpinnings of literacy—is just knowing and understanding all the words they’ll encounter in print.
  • Watch out for specific words in the recipe they may not be familiar with, such as “pulp” and “paprika” in this recipe, and give a simple definition.
  • For little ones who aren’t reading much yet, just pointing out what you’re reading and emphasizing a few key words or letters is enough. If you make the recipe again, you can help them find the words you pointed out before.
  • Use this as an opportunity to show them punctuation, as well as words and letters. Point to the commas, periods, or other punctuation marks, and explain what they mean. 
  • If they can’t read the recipe on their own, give them chances for success by asking them about what they do know, gently underscoring key knowledge. E.g., ask, Can you find a letter T? or What letter does this word start with?
  • For kids who are reading already, encourage them to read the recipe themselves. If they have trouble, just calmly help them with any words they can’t quite get.
  • Bring your patience. Give your child space to read a word (or identify a letter) before you jump in, but be prepared to help if they’re showing signs of frustration.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Note: This recipe involves using a hot oven. It’s not appropriate for children to complete on their own. Adults should supervise and help with opening the oven and stirring the hot seeds.

  • 1 pumpkin
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
Pumpkin, oil, paprika, garlic, and salt to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Step 1: Heat the oven to 350 F.

Step: 2 Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin. Pick the seeds out of the pulp.

Pumpkin seeds in a bowl

Step 3: Dry the seeds. Put them in a bowl.

Pumpkin seeds drying on a paper towel

Step 4: Add a little oil and some salt, garlic, and paprika. Stir well with a spoon.

Pumpkin seeds mixed with oil, paprika, garlic, and salt

Step 5: Lay the seeds flat on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven. 

Roasted pumpkin seeds on baking sheet

Step 6: Check them after 10 minutes. Seeds are done when they are crisp and brown. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds