Part of the fun of Halloween is carving a pumpkin. There are soooo many things you can do with one pumpkin. Here are some ideas.
1) Regardless of weather or not you are going to carve a face or design in it, open it up. Let the kids scoop out the seeds and guts and feel all the textures. Messy is good. Ask them what different parts of the pumpkin feel like, gooey, sticky, slimy, smooth, soft, hard, bumpy. I highly recommend you put news paper down to help with cleanup. Doing it outside is even better. Have them separate the guts from the seeds so you can do idea #2.
2) Roast the seeds and have a snack. You just need to put a little olive oil on them and stick them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. You can season them with salt, pepper, cinnamon and sugar. Try different flavors and talk with your children about what they like and don’t like. Use words like “sweet, sour, salty” etc.
3) Depending on the child’s age and ability, either carve or decorate the pumpkin. Carving is pretty straight forward. Decorating could mean drawing on it with permanent markers, painting it with poster/tempera paint, or sticking fun stickers all over it. Have fun! You can work on identifying body parts by asking them where they would put the eyes, noes, mouth, ears, hair etc. It doesn’t matter if they are not in the correct spots, it is Halloween after all and if the parts are mixed up it will just look like a scary monster and fit right in.
4) If you want to do an art project you can do the life of a pumpkin. You will need orange paper, orange or yellow string/yarn, pumpkin seeds, glue and a marker. Take the orange paper and have the child or yourself cut out 2 pumpkin shapes. Set one aside. Next talk about what you did with the pumpkin. Focus on the order in which you did each step. When you get to the inside of the pumpkin talk about how it looked and felt like and use the pumpkin seeds, yarn and glue to recreate the inside of the pumpkin on your orange paper pumpkin. Next, have your child draw or create a face on the second paper pumpkin. Now you can staple or tape the pumpkin face over the pumpkin with the seeds and yarn so you can open it like a book. If you would like to label different parts that is great too. Your child can now share and remember the fun they had with their real pumpkin for days and months and years after the pumpkin has gone to pumpkin heaven.
Be as creative as you can. The sky is the limit. Have fun while at the same time making it a great learning experience. These activities can be made more complex or less complex depending on the age and ability of your child. Remember to have lots of fun!