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Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!
I love this “pumpkin” time of year. Not only for the pumpkin lattes but also for the fabulous sensory experiences that pumpkins give our kids. You know, that ooey, gooey mess that either makes use smile or cringe? Not to worry, if you or your children don’t like to touch the “pumpkin guts,” you don’t have to for this activity.
It is so important for us to “read” the faces of our friends and family in different situations. After all, body language makes up 93% of human communication. Teaching our kids how to identify their friends’ feelings by understanding their facial expressions is one of the most important aspects to early social development (and that includes how our friends feel about touching pumpkin guts!)
This super fun pumpkin activity teaches motor planning, sensory, fine motor, and feeling identification all in one! Ready to get started?
Materials for Pumpkin Shadow Faces
- 1 Pumpkin (Large)
- 3 Pieces of white paper
- 1 Marker (Washable)
- 1 Orange Crayon
- 1 Glue Bottle (Liquid Glue works best)
- 1 Knife (for adult use only)
- 1 spoon (optional)
- 1 set of child tweezers (optional)
Pumpkin Shadow Face Activity Steps:
1.Place one piece of white paper outside on the ground.
2. Place the pumpkin in front of the piece of paper, so that the shadow of the pumpkin lands on the paper.
3. Have your child trace the pumpkin shadow (on the white piece of paper) using a washable marker or crayon.
4. Move the pumpkin away and see your pumpkin picture!
5. Color each pumpkin orange.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 two more times so you have several pictures.
7. Next we’ll explore the inside of a pumpkin! The adult should use a knife to cut the top of the pumpkin off and place it next to the pumpkin.
8. Allow your child to “dig in” to the pumpkin guts to find as many pumpkin seeds as they can!
Your child may or may not want to put their hands inside the pumpkin and that is okay! You can either have them use a spoon or the child-sized tweezers to find the pumpkin seeds.
9. Once your child has separated the pumpkin seeds out, help them count how many they found.
10. Ask your child to use the crayon or marker to draw a happy face on one of the pumpkin pictures they drew.
11. Next, draw a sad face on another pumpkin picture they drew.
12. Then, draw a mad/angry face on the last pumpkin picture they drew.
13. Help your child place glue on the eyes, nose, and mouth of each pumpkin with liquid glue.
14. Tell your child to place pumpkin seeds on the glued areas.
Now you have three pumpkin faces! Let’s practice feeling identification.
15. Ask your child to point to the happy pumpkin and tell you why that pumpkin is happy.
16. Then, have them point to the sad pumpkin and tell you why that pumpkin is sad.
17. Lastly, have them point to the mad/angry pumpkin and tell you why that pumpkin is mad/angry.
- Take it to the next level by having your child look into a mirror and making a sad, happy, and angry face!
- The adult should make a sad, happy, and angry face at the child and see if your child can guess which face you are making!
- Talk to your child about what to do if they see a child who is sad or mad. How can they make them feel better?
What did your child learn?
- Feeling Identification
- One to One Correspondence (counting)
- Fine motor development
- Following simple directions
- Using words to describe objects
- Sensory experiences
- Social Skills
If you are looking for a way to teach children how to calm down when they feel upset or overwhelmed, check out “Soothing Sammy,” an emotional skills program for preschoolers.