Autumn finally takes hold. I get so excited with Halloween approaching, and I'm not the only one. Ian has a very good recollection of last year's festivities and has been talking about it for the last month. The last time we went to the library, he determinedly said, "I'm going to find a pumpkin book!"
He did, too. All by himself. He found a book with a small picture of a pumpkin on the spine. I'm so glad he did, for he found, The Witch Casts a Spell, by Suzanne Williams. By pure luck, my little guy introduced us to this delightful book that you sing to the tune, The Farmer in the Dell. Laurel loves it, we all love it, and find ourselves singing it throughout the day.
One thing led to another, and we started repeatedly reading a book we already owned: Five Little Pumpkins, by Iris Van Rynbach. That story triggered a memory of a craft I did with second graders. I knew it would be simple enough that even Laurel and Ian could do it, and I already had all the materials. Let's get crafting!
Paper Bag Pumpkin Craft, demonstrated by 3 year old Ian, and 20 month old Laurel.
- brown paper lunch bags
- newspaper, pages torn into fourths (done ahead of time by an adult or much older child)
- string or yarn, any color
- green pipe cleaners
- orange tempera paint (washable is nice)
- plastic cups to hold paint (I reused baby food containers)
- paint brushes
- old shirts or bibs or smocks to cover children while painting (or let them do it naked and then just hose them down afterwards)
- washcloths or paper towels or other wipe type product to clean up paint spills
- green and black construction paper
- tacky glue
- scissors (we used blunt ones designed for little people)
Step 1: Crumple newspaper into balls and stuff them into the paper bags, fill to desired pumpkin size.
Step 2: Adult ties bag closed with string or yarn.
Step 3: Prepare the area for painting! Anything you don't want covered in paint must leave the area. Be ready with baby wipes or paper towels to clean up spills, splashes, and all out explosions.
Step 4: Demonstrate how to use a paint brush and let the kids go for it! They paint everything except the stem (the part above the string) and the bottom. You know of course, they will paint those too, oh well, let them have fun.
For Ian, this is serious stuff. Look at the concentration!
I showed the kids how to hold onto the stem so they wouldn't get paint on their hands. As you can see, Laurel didn't quite understand.
Step 5: Let the painted pumpkins dry.
Step 6: If a stem is too long, just cut off the extra you don't want.
Step 7: An adult wraps the middle of the green pipe cleaner around each pumpkin's stem and twists it enough to stay put. Bend halves as desired for a vine-like affect.
Step 8: Cut out and glue on the faces and leaves. Laurel is too young to use scissors, so I cut out a couple different face parts and leaves that she could choose from and place on her pumpkin. I helped her squeeze the glue onto the pumpkin, and then she added the eyes, nose, mouth and leaves (the leaves were glued onto the pipe cleaners, a small piece of tape was needed to hold them on until they dried and then we took the tape off).I tried putting the glue onto the pieces and letting her place them on the pumpkin, but she kept putting the wrong side against the pumpkin, and of course they didn't stick. She also kept wiping the glue off the pieces onto her arm. That's why we ended up putting the glue directly onto the pumpkin and then adding the paper pieces.
Ian does know how to use scissors, so he cut out his own eyes, noses, mouths, and leaves for his two pumpkins. No drawing was involved, I gave him 6 inch squares of construction paper, and he just went for it.
Right after Ian cut out a piece, I had him glue it to the pumpkin so he wouldn't lose it among the scraps.
The finished product:
Here are our five little pumpkins. I made the one on the left, Laurel's are the next two, and Ian's are the two on the right. The pumpkins sit at our table, and when we eat, we have fun reciting The Five Little Pumpkins poem.