Under the current climate Halloween is going to be a slightly different this year. Due to event cancelations and trick or treating being called off, it would be easy to feel disheartened! But there are many things that can be done from the comfort of your own home to celebrate Halloween and get things a little bit spooky.
This post is all about how you can maximise the pumpkin fun all from the comfort of your own home and give you a little jack o’lantern inspiration!
Here are ten ways you can make pumpkin play accessible, sensory and most importantly fun!
1. Pumpkin Guts Exploration!
Whether you love or hate the texture of the inside of a pumpkin they are great to get your hands on and dig really deep- from the strong smell, the cold temperature, the seeds and the gooey texture they are definitely exciting to touch. The texture is quite unique and its always good to try new things. If your child is tactile defensive another way you can explore them is by adding them to a zip lock bag so that your child can squeeze them through the plastic.
2. Scoop and dig!
Getting the inners out of the pumpkin is a good chance for your child to practice some fine motor skills and can be helpful with every aspect of life- in particular I think about how feeding can be improved through mastering scoop and dig! If you add transferal to this too, even just to a plastic bin ,bag or a paper plate or even to a mixing bowl. If like me, you like a massive pumpkin then they could be scooping for a good long time.
3. Cutting and carving!
Depending on the age of your child and how comfortable you feel with letting them use a knife this could be a good time to let them have a go and cutting the top off! If you are feeling particularly adventurous then you could even let them have a go at carving- rather than drawing a pencil line to guide you could use bumpy paint to draw the design of your choice and see if they are able to carve correctly across the line.
4. Why carve when you can decorate!
Traditionally we have carved out pumpkins into the jack o’lantern face with a view to scare away demons- originally the faces were carved into turnips. But you don’t have to put a scary face onto your pumpkin- there are lots of great ideas online with alternative ways you can decorate them. Puffy paint would be a great idea as you are adding texture to your striking designs.
5. Pin the pumpkin!
Drawing board pins can be used and pressed into the pumpkin to create some great pumpkin based art. If you are feeling really crafty you could weave around the pins and really bring your design to life. You could draw a design in black pen on the pumpkin and get your child to push the pins in following the lines as a form of tracing.
6. Grow your own!
Once you have scooped out your pumpkin inners you could fill it with soil and make a pumpkin planter! If you plant one of your surplus seeds, then hey presto you have a pumpkin planter, made of pumpkin, to grow a new pumpkin! If your sprouts are still thriving you could replant the pumpkin outdoors and grow your very own for next Halloween.
7. Pumpkin Pie!
It seems such a shame to throw away all that lovely pumpkin flesh which could be used to bake and amazing pumpkin pie to have once you have eaten enough sweets. It really is as easy as filling a shortcrust pastry base with squished pumpkin flesh and baking- and hey presto you have a traditional American treat. If you would like a recipe please click here!
8. Pumpkin Play for littles!
With so many pumpkins around of a variety of shapes and sizes bow could be a good time to work with younger children on the concept of sizes! It could even make for a great size selecting game and help them gain greater understanding of big, little, large, huge, tiny! You could challenge your child to put the pumpkins into size order- this would encourage them to use problem solving skills and help with language and understanding.
9. Hide and seek using light up pumpkins!
Once you have created so many fab pumpkin designs you could fill them with bright lights of a variety of different colours- and depending on your child’s sight you could place them around your garden during the night or even inside the house to make a fun find the pumpkin game. Be careful to not use too many spooky faces though as the game could get quite scary!
10. Noisy pumpkins!
If your child does not have the sight to play the ‘Find the light up Pumpkin’ game then make it an auditory based game- this concept is used frequently on Easter egg hunts and I expect many parent have already invested in some bleeping Easter eggs for spring time! You could place the bleeping eggs inside the pumpkins and the child can use their hearing in order to go on the pumpkin hunt!