This week we talked all about pumpkins; growing pumpkins, foods we make from pumpkins, the origin of the jack o lantern, etc. You may think that some of this goes way over his head, but when my husband comes home from work and asks Aedan about his day and Aedan tells him a jumbled story of Jack the tricky farmer or the steps of growing a pumpkin I know he got some of it. I think having ‘natural’ conversations with kids also helps their own language skills and vocabulary; thoroughly explain things and check for comprehension, but don’t dumb it down.
Anyway… back to pumpkins. We had a lot of fun projects this week, I turned his playroom into a pumpkin patch so we had lots of pretend play, I made an interactive jack o lantern on the fridge where Aedan could change the faces (our extension was to talk about emotions), pumpkin guts for sensory play, roasting pumpkin seeds, pumpkin art projects, pumpkin play-doh, and to end our pumpkin theme: tomorrow we are going to a pumpkin patch to pick our Halloween pumpkins.
JACK O LANTERN PAPER PLATE
This first art project is pretty self explanatory: paint a paper plate orange, help mommy cut out shapes for the face, and glue. It’s these simple projects that Aedan really likes. Quick, messy and fun! We talked about the different shapes we could use and the different emotions the jack o lantern could have. Aedan knew he wanted a happy face pumpkin with square eyes. He helped me cut out the eyes and nose and then he practiced his cutting skills on scrap paper while I cut out the mouth. These projects are great for transitions : for instance, you finally get the playroom put back together and it’s not quite time for nap/lunch/dinner/little sister is sleeping etc. Keeps him quite, contained, but engaged, learning, and having fun.
REFRIGERATOR JACK O LANTERN
- I used orange construction paper and cut out a pumpkin shape then secured it to the front of the fridge using contact paper (LakeShore Learning).
- I bought a sheet of 3mm black foam (JoAnn Fabrics) and cut out different shapes for the mouth, eyes, and nose.
- I bought a role of magnet tape that I used to magnetize the foam shapes.
- We talk about the different emotions the Jack O Lantern is showing. I ask him to make me a sad/happy/mad pumpkin
A great book to use along with this is :
Mouse has 7 pumpkins and paints on a different face on each and describes the emotion.
PUMPKIN PATCH PLAYROOM!
I turned the playroom into a Pumpkin Patch/Apple Orchard. The pumpkins I purchased at Home Depot (15 mini pumpkins/bag/$8 – and totally worth it) and he loves them. Farmer Aedan helps me pick pumpkins for everyone in our family. (Not pictured: a cash register to collect money and an apron and straw hat). He lines the pumpkins up on the ground and tells me he’s ready for me to come pick my pumpkin, so cute! I plan on using some of the pumpkins later for Aedan to paint and give as Halloween gifts to his grandparents and one for daddy to bring to work 🙂
The apples are foam balls (6/$5.99 at JoAnn)I painted with red acrylic paint and then stuck a small stick in the top to look like the stem. So far they are holding up great and much less expensive than those fake apples they sell. He likes to pretend that he’s making apple donuts (the hit of our apple orchard goodies from last weekend) in his kitchen.
INTERPRETIVE PUMPKIN PAINTING
Sometimes it’s nice to just give the kid some paint and see what he comes up with. This is Aedan’s interpretation of a Jack O Lantern.
TIP: Always make sure to add a title and date to art work! I have all of Aedan’s saved and at the end of the year I am going to get them all laminated and made into a book!
Pumpkin Play-Doh! I have made homemade play-doh a few times and there are different recipes you can use. Some require cooking and some don’t. This recipe is a quick, no-cook recipe which I find works best for us because I like to make our play-doh to go along with our theme (colored and scented) so I don’t need it to last more than a couple weeks at most, I ALWAYS have the needed ingredients, and I don’t have to take the time to cook it.
You can google play-doh recipes or use this easy, no-cook recipe.
- 1/4 c salt
- 1 c flour
- 1/4 c water (you made need more, but only add 1T at a time)
- (for pumpkin play-doh) 1T cinnamon, 1/2 t allspice, 1/2 t nutmeg (OR pumpkin pie seasoning)
- food coloring (12 drops yellow, 4 drops red = orange)
Mix ingredients together and then kneed until it forms a moist (but not sticky) ball.
- use a packet of unsweetened kool-aid to add color and scent
- if you plan on using food coloring, add it to the water before you mix the ingredients together so you don’t have to kneed it into the dough
We bought a pumpkin when we were at the apple orchard last weekend to use for this our pumpkin theme this past week. I know it will probably have to be thrown out before Halloween is even here, but now he will be even more excited when we go to pick our Halloween pumpkins and talk about carving them.
So I did all the knife work (obviously) but he helped clean out the pumpkin, separate guts from seeds, wash seeds, roast seeds, and pick the jack 0 lantern face. For him, it was the most exciting thing we did all week and he was practically screaming at daddy about it when Steve walked in the door from work. Great great memories made.
For those of you who haven’t ever tried or think you don’t like roasted pumpkin seeds try adding cinnamon and sugar or Lowery’s seasoning salt!