Monday, October 19, 2009

Imposter Pumpkins!

To kick off our week I am going to post a two-in-one for your Monday morning. The following two projects are perfect if you would rather stay inside and drink cocoa rather than brave the cold, if you have to stay inside because you have sick ones at home or perhaps both!

Imposter Pumpkin Project 1: Pumpkin Patching
After cutting out a few pumpkin-like shapes from some orange felt, along with a few stems, leaves and face shapes, your little ones can sit for hours (or at least a good 10 minutes) patching together silly and scary pumpkin characters.

For ours I actually used scraps of orange felt for little pumpkins. From the black felt I cut out all the standard shapes as well as some more defined shapes for expression. The learning bonus to this activity is shape recognition, understanding emotions, self expression and imagination.

Avi (18 months) liked to stack the shapes on the pumpkin base whereas Hendrix (3 years) and I made a game by taking turns spinning for our facial features. On a blank spinner that I got in a 4-pack from the $1 store I filled in all the required parts; eyes, nose, stem, accessories, etc. Below are the results from our first game.

Imposter Pumpkin Project 2: Just-Try-to-Smash-Our Pumpkin Pumpkins
This activity was inspired by one of Hendrix favorite books (Halloween or not), called The Pumpkin Smasher by Anita Benarde. If you can find a copy of this 1972 'weekly reader', you could combine the project with the literary reference.

In the book a small town’s pumpkins are being attacked by an unknown pumpkin smasher. The problem gets so bad that the adults consider canceling Halloween until a brother and sister duo paint a giant rock to look like a pumpkin as a trick for the smasher. The pumpkin smasher (aka witch) is fooled and can not smash the rock pumpkin. In result she vows to never return to the town again.

We used acrylic paint on our rocks because we knew they were going as part of our outdoor d├ęcor. Hendrix painted the faces on using a black paint pen, but I think a sharpie would work great too.

You don’t have to stop at pumpkins of course, maybe your more lengthy rocks could be a Frankenstein or a skull with cross bones!

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