One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving pumpkins. I have many fond memories of creating jack-o-lanterns with my parents every October. Naturally, when my girls came along, I was excited to do this activity with them too; however, my excitement quickly turned to dismay. Carving jack-o-lanterns really isn’t a toddler-friendly activity. They mostly just sit and watch Daddy do it. This year, I was determined to find a way to have pumpkin projects my 4-year old and 2-year old can really take part in. Here are some ideas that worked well for us.
Foam Sticker Decorations
While on www.orientaltrading.com, I saw some really cute pumpkin projects that were created with foam stickers instead of carving. The company had funny faces and silly monster sticker kits to choose from. Since the girls are fans of Monsters Inc., I got them the silly monster pack. It was a complete hit! There is a picture guide for making the faces that my 4-year old could follow. You don’t have to follow the directions exactly either to create a great pumpkin monster. My 2-year old went her own way, and after we added some eyes, her pumpkin monster looked great too! In the monster packs, all of the pieces are included, and you have enough to do several pumpkins. (We did four big pumpkins, and then we gave the rest of the monster sticker packs to our neighbor’s granddaughters.)
I saw many glittery pumpkins online, so I decided to give them a try too. I got a big container of Mod Podge, cut up some sponges, and bought some glitter. When we got our big pumpkins at the nearby pumpkin patch, we decided to get some mini-pumpkins to decorate as well. The girls used the sponges to put Mod Podge on the baby pumpkins. (Yes, it is a sticky mess, but they really loved this part.) Then, I helped them pour the glitter all over the pumpkins. Each girl only did one pumpkin at a time so the glue wouldn’t dry out before adding the glitter. Some of the pumpkins are completely covered in rust-colored glitter, and some of the pumpkins look as though glitter is dripping down the sides like melted ice cream. (The baby did those.) They look really great! I even put some inside to decorate my kitchen!
With a few of our extra mini-pumpkins, I let the girls decorate them with washable paint. Honestly, these don’t look as amazing as our monster and glitter pumpkins, but it was a pumpkin activity they could do themselves. My girls love painting too, so that was an added bonus for them.
Sticker and Paint Now, Carve Later
One of the nice things about all three of these projects is that you can still carve jack-o-lanterns out of the pumpkins closer to Halloween. Take the stickers off, rub off the paint, or leave the paint on and carve away.
Q: What toddler-friendly pumpkin projects do you do for Halloween?