by Carol J. Alexander
It’s that time of year when pumpkins reign. If you want to get past the usual jack-o-lantern carving and tackle some other pumpkin activities, read on for art, cooking, and learning activities your kids will enjoy:
- If you want your pumpkins to last longer than carved jack-o-lanterns, draw the faces on them with permanent markers.
- Use pipe cleaners, paint or markers, and felt eyes to create insects out of your miniature pumpkins.
- Create a funny Mr. Pumpkin Head using Mr. Potato Head pieces.
- Use miniature pumpkins to create a centerpiece or other decorations for the season. Paint guests names on them and use as place cards for a dinner party.
- Carve out miniature pumpkins and fill the center with a votive candle or tea light. Line the walkway or porch rail with them for Halloween or another evening occasion.
- Having guests? Carve out a very large pumpkin and use it as a punch bowl.
- Carve out the inside of a pumpkin. Use a drill to create a pattern of holes in the sides. Different sized bits will create smaller or larger holes. Insert a candle or battery operated light inside. Put the top back on and use to decorate your porch for the season.
- To create a pumpkin topiary, gather three pumpkins—small, medium, and large. Paint them different colors or decorate in some way. Stack them in a planter filled with dried greenery. Place the largest on the bottom, medium-sized one in the middle, and the smallest on the top. Insert more greenery between them and top with a bow.
- Monogram your largest pumpkin using thumb tacks. Set next to your front door.
- Process your own pumpkin meat for pies, cakes, or muffins. This is enough fun that the kids will want to help you. Save the seeds.
- Make your favorite pumpkin recipes together and package them to give as gifts.
- Wash, dry, and roast your pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle on your favorite popcorn seasoning and enjoy. If you don’t enjoy eating pumpkin seeds, put them in a quart jar and have each family member guess how many seeds are in the jar. If you are having a fall harvest party, have this as a game for the kids.
- Enjoy a game of pumpkin bowling. Cut the stem off a medium-sized pumpkin. Carve out three holes to resemble a bowling ball. Set up rolls of paper towels or empty pop bottles as pins and have at it.
- Look up the formula for volume of an ellipsoid. Take the proper measurements for your pumpkin to estimate how much liquid your pumpkin will hold. Then carve it out and see if you got it right.
- Hide miniature pumpkins around your yard and have the kids hunt for them like an Easter egg hunt.
- Color your seeds different colors with permanent markers. Then use them to create a mosaic. If you know what you want to create before you start, it will help you to decide what colors to color the seeds. You can use this technique to make a picture for the refrigerator or to make holiday cards to send to friends and family.
Carol J. Alexander is a freelance writer.