Pumpkins are fun! Their size, color, smell and taste make them perfect for children's observations and explorations. Pumpkins are a type of squash that symbolize both the bright orange color and lead us into the spirit of the fall season. This is the best time to experience the numerous possibilities of using pumpkins during your "together time" activities. Your kids may consider pumpkins only with Halloween and jack-o-lanterns; however, you can de-emphasize the holiday connection and use this variety of pumpkin-related activities for fall and harvest.
Pumpkin Sun Catcher-
Place a piece of adhesive paper down on the table sticky side up. You may need to tape this in place. Encourage your child to tear and place pieces of red tissue paper on one side and pieces of yellow tissue paper on the opposite side. When finished, fold the paper in half and see what happens when the red and yellow paper overlap. Cut a pumpkin shape from this now "orange" paper and hang in a sunny window. Buy adhesive paper here.
Here's a new experience in painting! Place a cup of unpopped popcorn into a knee high stocking and tie the nylon stocking in a knot. Holding the top end of the stocking, dip the bottom (corn) into poster paint and then "bounce" it onto paper. This makes a neat design and so complimentary to the season. Cut the paper into a pumpkin shape and you now have a unique painting.
Pumpkin Mosaic -
Give your child a paper plate and orange construction paper. Let him tear pieces of the orange paper (little ones really like to tear paper) and glue them onto the plate. Help him brush on the glue and after he is finished you make want to brush on a final layer to keep the pieces flat. Make a leaf shape from green or brown paper and glue this on top to complete the pumpkin.
Pumpkin Prints -
Buy pumpkin cookie cutters and let your child dip these into tempera (poster paint) and then press them onto paper. This makes really cool prints and good for eye/hand coordination. As a variation, buy a small fresh pumpkin and cut this in half. Invite your youngster to dip the pumpkin half into orange paint and make a print. Buy cutters here.
So, whether you use pumpkin projects for harvest or Halloween -- just have fun and do these activities with your children. It's the bonding time that really counts!