It's officially Fall and that means pumpkins are rolling out left and right. Not just a fun symbol of the season, they can be used in a number of ways to entertain and educate your children. Here are some activities we thought you may want to try with your family:
1. Pumpking Carving
Probably the most traditional way of using a fresh pumpkin, carving can be done freehand or with a pumpkin carving kit. Young children will get a kick out of scooping out the "guts" with their bare hands and counting pumpkin seats. Older children can even do some carving themselves, with appropriate adult supervision, of course!
2. Pumpkin Painting & Decorating
If you aren't crazy about introducing carving knives and sharp objects to your children, pumpkins can still be a lot of fun to decorate with paint and other objects. Children can work on their fine motor skills using paint and a paintbrush or markers to decorate. You can make eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair, arms, and accessories for them to place on the pumpkin, maybe even learning these words in a new language! Don't forget to put out a teal-painted Pumpkin if you plan to hand out allergy-free treats on Halloween.
3. Stack Your Pumpkins
Lacking space for an extravagant pumpkin display? How about stacking them! Your kids will have fun competing to see who can make the tallest stack of mini pumpkins (practicing their counting, sorting, and balancing skills), or you can connect them all with rods for a sturdier long-term display.
4. Eat Your Pumpkin
When carving, don't waste the glorious inner pumpkin! There are a number of ways to consume it, and they're all super kid-friendly!! We're talking roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup or purée (great for babies!), pumpkin pie, bread, muffins... the list goes on!!
5. Sing About Pumpkins
Teach your kids the "5 Little Pumpkins" song and act it out with your own 5 little pumpkins!
6. Smashing Pumpkins
When your pumpkins start to pass their peak, don't simply toss them in the garbage, have a smashing good time, first! Head to your backyard (or put some plastic tarp down if attempting inside) and let your kids have fun tossing the pumpkins around. If you trust them enough, let them play pumpkin piñata with a bat or hammer! You can even search for a local Pumpkin Smashing event like this one in Brooklyn last year.
7. Compost Your Pumpkin
When you've exhausted all uses for your pumpkin, consider using it to discuss with your child a few final things:
1. The Life cycle of plants. There are some great books specifically about the life cycle of pumpkins!
2. "Reduce, reuse, recycle" and composting. If here in NYC, check out DSNY's Zero Waste & Compost Project, you can even locate a nearby place to drop off and compost your pumpkins!
Do you have any creative uses for pumpkins we didn't mention? What fun Fall and Halloween traditions do you have with your family? Leave a comment below!!
Looking for a great preschool or UPK program in Brooklyn? We are Worldtots, a dual-language English & Mandarin program located in the intersection of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Sunset Park!