i've known today's guest writer Trisha for awhile now. her site is called Inspiration Laboratories and suits it so well. here are a few posts that inspire learning, play and creativity: Cocoa Cloud Dough, Freight Train Color Matching and Letter Practice, What Can You Learn From a Cardboard Tube?.
Does your child love pumpkins as much as my son does? Every time he sees a pumpkin, he points it out. I decided to use his love for pumpkins in a fine motor activity. Pumpkin lacing was born.
- orange, green, and black felt (I purchased one piece of each color for 23 cents each. Other fabric would work - I chose felt because it doesn't fray.)
- hole punch
- yarn (or string or shoe laces)
- cotton balls
How to Create the Pumpkins
- Cut the orange felt into four equal pieces. (Fold in half. Cut. Fold in half again and cut.)
- Draw a pumpkin shape onto the felt. (I stacked two pieces together to make sure they would match up.)
- Cut out your pumpkin shape.
- Punch holes around the outside of your pumpkin. Be careful not to punch holes too closely to the edge. If you pull too hard on the yarn, you can easily tear the felt. I punched two layers of felt at a time to make sure the holes would match up. My hole punch didn't do a great job of punching the entire circle out, so I had to use scissors remove the rest of the circle.
- Cut a small strip of black felt. Then, cut out different shapes for the eyes, nose, and mouth of your pumpkin. (triangles, squares, rectangles, etc.)
- Cut out the stem of the pumpkin in green (or brown) felt.
- Cut a length of yarn long enough to go around the pumpkin plus some.
- You may want to add tape to the end of the yarn to make it easier to pass through the holes.
How to Assemble the Pumpkins
Now you are ready to give the pumpkin pieces and yarn to your child. A lesson in how to lace may be in order. For my son (he's almost 3), I had to hold the pumpkin at first. I showed him how to push the yarn through one hole. We flipped over the pumpkin and passed it through the next hole. After a while, he could do this by himself. Sometimes he would miss a hole or pull the string all the way through. That's okay. I fixed it, or we just started over. If you child is enjoying this activity, let him keep at it as long as he is interested. If your child seems frustrated or upset because it's not going well, give support and encouragement. Help her see it's okay to work on this another day if she chooses.
Leave a few holes open at the top, and you can stuff the pumpkin with cotton balls. Hole punch the bottom of your stem. Add it to the top of your pumpkin, and finish lacing. Aiden didn't want to lace the top. He was done with the activity by that time, so I finished the last few holes. Tie off the yarn, and now you have a stuffed pumpkin!
Play with the Pumpkins
Place your black pieces of felt on your stuffed pumpkins to create a jack o'lantern. Felt sticks to felt, so you can rearrange the faces as much as you like. Try different shapes for parts of the face to see how it changes the expression and feel of the pumpkin.
While I was cutting out and hole punching, I gave Aiden the other pumpkin-shaped felt pieces, black shapes, and green stems. He enjoyed making faces for his non-stuffed pumpkins, too!
Thanks for letting me share our pumpkin fun with you!
Would you like to see more ideas for toddlers/preschoolers from me? Here are a few of my favorites. What Can you Learn from a Cardboard Tube? A to Z Science Series: A is for Apple Tree Investigation Are You My Mother? Storytelling Using Props Trisha is a stay at home mom to her almost 3-year old son, Aiden. She writes about their adventures at Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play. Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy. It is never too early to start encouraging science learning (or any kind of learning for that matter). Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.