Pumpkins, as either pies or jack-o-lanterns, are symbols of fall. For a play-of-the-day, here are a few jack-o-lantern activities with kids.
The most exciting way to get a pumpkin in the fall is to go to a pumpkin patch and pick one out. Being outdoors is a treat for the senses, feeling the sun or rain on the skin, smelling the dirt and odors of fall, seeing the bright spots of orange in the fading gold, and hearing the rustle of the plants. Kids get to experience the hefty weight of a pumpkin as they carry it around and have a chance to practice making a choice.
Since it will be some time before carving, kids can see what kind of face they would like by using some play dough. They can roll or pat some chunks to make the eyes, ears, and mouth. With a few treasures from a scrap bag or craft box they can also dress up the pumpkin.
As they are working, kids can sing about what they are doing:
Sing to put on the nose, mouth, teeth, and any other features kids want to smoosh onto the pumpkin. The play dough can be peeled off and used again as many times as kids choose.
There are many books about jack-o-lanterns for parents and caregivers to read to kids. Or, make up a story of your own. “Once upon a time, there was a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. One day, the pumpkin…” Kids may have their own ideas about how to finish the story, who should be in it, and what kinds of adventures the pumpkin will have.
While waiting for carving time, kids can draw and paint their own pictures of jack-o-lanterns. You can draw a circle on the calendar around the date for transforming the pumpkin and kids can count the number of sleeps.
Do jack-o-lanterns smile because they know how fun they are for kids?