One of the things I find really tricky about Halloween is buying a pumpkin but essentially wasting a lot of it in the name of decoration. I do really enjoy the decorative pumpkins so what I try to do is make the most with sensory play!
Essentially, this is a really simple activity to try with your little ones. When hollowing out a pumpkin for decoration, let them help scoop the ‘innards’ out. Age depending, you might need to do most of the legwork in terms of loosening the flesh, but after that, it’s a lot of fun for the children to play pretend: making pumpkin pies of soup, for instance.
For an extra bit of fine motor work, you can even invite them to find all of the pumpkin seeds with their fingers or a fine motor tool so that they can be re-harvested for the following year. Now, I am no gardening expert, but I did find a useful article from Gardening Know How, which you can read here!
I first tried this with Z when she was around 20 months old under close supervision. If your little one doesn’t like the feel of the pumpkin or is too young to try this, check out our Pumpkin Squish Bag instead.
This sensory activity has a few key benefits:
- Fine motor skills: using kitchen utensils to work on pincer grip and hand strength as well as removing the seeds
- Hand-eye coordination: to scoop and pour
- Crossing the mid-line: using the tools to move the pumpkin flesh across the body
- Early Math: estimating / counting how many scoops it will take to fill the pumpkin – basic understanding of capacity
- Role play: pretending to be in the kitchen and make a soup or pie
- Connections to the world around us: understanding about seeds and how we can use them to grow more pumpkins in the future
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Fancy trying this idea at a later date? I’ve created this handy Pinterest graphic for you. I upload and share ideas on Pinterest daily, so why not follow me too?