Thursday, October 30, 2014

Carving a Pumpkin…and so much more

It's that time of year again!! You know, the time of year when the leaves are changing and falling, when the temperature is finally football worthy, when apple cider is an afternoon staple, when comfy sweaters are a must and when you finally get to carve your pumpkin. It's the week before Halloween (so rotting is less likely to happen) and you arm yourself with jack-o-lantern stencils, hole punches, mini knives and scoopers (aka hands), all in the hopes of creating a masterpiece. But have you ever thought that pumpkin carving can be more than simply carving the perfect jack-o-lantern? This is how we took pumpkin carving to a new level…

It started with a pumpkin. 

The weather was amazing, so we set up our pumpkin carving station outside.
I cut the opening in the tops while we discussed our predictions about what the inside would look like this year. Would it be slimy or dry, squishy or hard? How many seeds would there be? Once I got off the tops, they got to work clearing the guts.

I had them put the guts in a bowl for later.

They picked out their stencils and I showed them how to tape it to the pumpkins. I helped the Beans poke holes, tracing his stencil and Busy was able to poke her own. 

After tracing, they helped me carve! Full disclosure: Beansie was more interested in sawing and cutting the pieces I cut out. Perfect for fine motor :) 
His pumpkin carving kit even came with
clever little tool to roll holes across
the pumpkin! 
Then he started cutting leaves :)

The bat and the ghosts turned out great! 

So now for the "other than carving" part. Along with the fine motor practice (hole punching/rolling, sawing and cutting, scooping and taping,) Busy counted how many holes she punched and Beansie counted the number of cuts he made (math). Beansie noticed that pumpkin and punch both started with the letter P "like in Preston!!" so we started brainstorming other p words (literacy). And instead of throwing out the pumpkin guts, we put them in a gallon zip lock baggie, creating a sensory bag!! I LOVE SENSORY BAGS!!!
The Beans also tried counting all of the
pumpkin seeds in the bag :)

And it turns out that there are an uncanny amount of activities you can do with a pumpkin. Here are a few: (click on highlights for links to the projects)
  • Toddlers can draw on pumpkins with markers or cover it in stickers -->
Happy Halloween!!

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