Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Pumpkin carving is a popular Halloween tradition...but all aspects of carving aren't exactly kid safe. So, as you know, there is usually quite a bit of parent involvement in pretty much all aspects of the cutting. But that doesn't mean you may as well skip the carving for toddlers, preschoolers, and young elementary kids - especially since scooping out the "guts" is a childhood favorite. What you can do to get the kids more involved in pumpkin decorating is to use multiple mediums. Incorporating painting, sculpting, and architecture in addition to carving makes the pumpkin decorating experience more hands on for children. Its sensory, its memorable, its fun and results in an impressive piece of art for the spooky season.
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Here are some pumpkins that I have done with my kids in the past using multiple mediums.
For this pumpkin, the kids got to paint the pumpkin and the cardboard pieces we used.
They also used playdough to sculpt the pumpkins. Finally, the architecture component was building the structure on top and placing the other components. The kids actually used this set up to play for a few weeks. Then, we washed off the paint and reused the pumpkin as Thanksgiving décor.
Who lives in a pineapple, under the sea? For this pumpkin you can see we first painted the pumpkin, then the kids cleaned out the pumpkin.
The boys also helped with the placement of the door and window. Next, came the architecture, putting the top of the pineapple and the toys in place. They also played with this pumpkin for a while after Halloween too!
This final pumpkin, my son made in Kindergarten. He painted the "egg" and cleaned out the pumpkin, and placed the dinosaur.
These are just a few examples that my boys have done, but hopefully it inspired you to include some paint or playdough in your pumpkins this year. Other things you can use are feathers, glitter, googly eyes, toothpicks, stickers, yarn and more! If you have a child with sensory issues who does not like sticky mess inside of a pumpkin you can also buy decorations you can insert in the pumpkin kind of like a Mr. Potato head.
Happy Pumpkin Decorating!